This past Sunday in our Sunday Sermon the team shared some of the things they’d do if the reset button on WWE programming was pushed after Wrestlemania. In this follow up Craig looks at several ways better use the secondary titles, and the belt holders, in the company.
I originally put the idea for this post in the drafts folder back in October and have revisited it a couple of times since. The most remarkable thing is that really not that much has changed when it comes to how the WWE utilise their secondary champions in that time. Sure, the belts have changed a few times but the same problems, in my eyes, still remain. Which is particularly staggering when you consider how little time the main WWE Champion appears on our screens.
So, here are four ways that the WWE could make the IC, US and Tag Titles appear more important.
1. Stop Champions Losing Non-Title matches
This is something I just can’t fathom. Why would you want your champion losing regularly on TV? I guess the secondary champions are another victim of the WWE having so much programming to fill. But even still, if you want, and it’s maybe the best example, Bad News Barrett to get over as the Intercontinental Champion why have him lose regularly on TV?
The argument in its defence – and it’s a very weak one – is that the WWE want the challenger to look strong and look like they can defeat the champion. In the end though, it leaves both superstars looking weak. The champion losing another match and the challenger overcoming someone we saw him beat a few weeks before anyway.
You can still have the challenger go over the champion without weakening the title holder as much. Use tag teams, have the challenger being the victor in the match, even having the fall won’t be as damaging.
2. Create Number One Contenders
Being number one contender to a title used to mean something. Go back and watch anything from the WWE in the late 80s/early 90s and you’ll hear Gorilla Monsoon talk about the guys in the ring eyeing various titles. Not a tag match takes place without Monsoon wondering what a win would do for one of the teams in getting a title chance. Not only did it make the match in question feel more important but it made the titles sound like something that was actually worth fighting for and, more importantly, that there was a structure to proceedings.
If the team won they were in the mix for a title match but a loss meant that they dropped back down the ladder. Simple? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.
NXT do this so well in building up guys and making them obvious contenders for a match. On WWE programming at the moment, if number one contenders was really a thing, it would look like John Cena was it for the US title. However, it ignores the fact that he’s had his title shot and lost. Nothing to stop them feuding but it would be good to have another superstar in the mix as the number 1 contender for the US title.
Tournaments would also be great in getting the fans behind a particular superstar or tag team. Watch them overcome obstacles on the way to winning the tournament and see the fans line up more and more behind them wanting them to succeed. It’s not blue sky thinking, I’m not claiming it is, but it’s something that’s being used to effectively in NXT and with 3 hours a week of TV to fill I’d not be against seeing various matches taking place with the aim of crowning the man to face, say the US Champion, at Extreme Rules.
4. Have the champions talk up the titles
Another bit of a throwback idea. Look at Honkytonk Man during his IC title reign, or any time after, and he constantly banged on about being the greatest IC champion ever. He wasn’t. He wasn’t even close to being that but he talked himself up and talked the belt up. Add to the mix the heat it generated and it was all win. Am not suggesting BNB claiming he’s the greatest IC Champion, even highlighting the number of wins he’s had would be stupid as it would also show how many times he’s lost it, but take Rusev.
He’s about two weeks away from holding the title longer than Dusty Rhodes did and in just over a month will have overtaken Harley Race. He’s already held it longer than performers like Lance Storm, Goldberg and Scott Hall. Why not big him up by comparing his record to some of the superstars I’ve listed? No one is claiming he’s better tan Rhodes or Race, merely that he’s had a longer title reign. It would certainly make his reign feel more important.