I am beyond shocked.

I can’t believe it is actually happening. Who would have thought in this day and age in the WWE that it would be possible? At Payback 2014, we will actually have the Intercontinental and United States title defended in actual feuds. We have feuds that have been built over the course of a couple of weeks. It is a shocking development.

We, fans of the mid-card, certainly have gotten our hopes up before. It seems patently absurd in the WWE with a roster over 100 (including NXT) that they cannot build a successful mid-card title or two. It seems like it would be a good pre-requisite to success; use the mid-card titles to build for the future. Since we no longer have two world titles, that seems more important than ever. So I would like to offer free advice to the WWE writers. It is a few simple steps to booking your Intercontinental and US titles successfully:

 

Stop Losing Non-Title Matches

I know I am not alone in this concept as John brings this up on a lot of his Raw Deals but this practice has to end now. One of the only ways the WWE seems to be able to produce a new challenger for the secondary titles is to have the champion lose to non-title matches to a new opponent. Who else but the WWE does that with its titles? You don’t have a UFC or boxing fighter who is champion constantly lose to build up a proper challenger. It would diminish the championship and make the payoff of winning a title meaningless.

In 2013, Wade Barrett went on a massive losing streak all while holding the Intercontinental Championship. If a Champion isn’t a legit threat, then why should we care who is actually champion? You could certainly build a true challenger through tag matches, solid promo work or….

 

More Tournaments

 

I know I love a good tournament in the WWE. One of the things I have enjoyed in the last few weeks is the contests that have been occurring to pick a new number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Before Extreme Rules, we had an eight-man tournament to determine a contender for Big E’s title. It made it seem important again. They even repeated the formula with a “Beat the Clock” challenge for Payback.  If you have wrestlers going through these tough series of matches just to get the chance to fight for a secondary title then it makes it seem important again. Keep it up WWE.

 

Make Them Defend It

Remember the glorious Dean Ambrose US Title reign? Me neither. Dean was the United States Champion for 351 days making him the longest reigning US champion in WWE history. But it really was a tremendous waste.

I think the most amazing stat was Ambrose did not defend the US title for nearly five months. He defended in the night after Hell in the Cell 2013 and didn’t bother to defend it again until February 10, 2014. It became a joke between the Shield members along with the WWE announcers. Having a title shouldn’t be some joke or a prop that isn’t properly used. The WWE used to have a 30-day title requirement; I think it should be enforced again. After all it can give a feud a true purpose one that is currently missing from storylines for the mid-card today. Dean Ambrose certainly had other things to do and it was a waste of a perfectly good title to have it carried by a superstar who didn’t really seem to care about his title.

 

Have People Talking About How Important It Is

 

In sports, titles really matter. Ask any athlete and they will recall fondly the championships they won. Some athletes are even defined by the lack of championships they won.  Winning a title or championship should be an important milestone in one’s career.

I would like to remind the WWE that they actually have an excellent promo department. In fact, they are among the best in the business. You are telling me they couldn’t throw together a solid promo looking at the long lineage of either title, hyping its importance and promoting its value as a true stepping stone to greater things?

But when I mean talking about it I am also referring to the wrestlers themselves. One of the only ways a wrestler is really going to “get over” in the WWE landscape is how they can talk on a mic.  The problem is the league gives little time for the mid-card talent to truly talk thus allowing them to move up the proverbial ladder. A title seems a very easy fix for that. 

Explain why the title matters. Tell me why it would benefit your career. Explain these titles importance as a stepping-stone for future WWE champions.  That is why I am confused the WWE doesn’t give time to its champions and challengers to debate the importance of mid-card titles. It seems a no-brainer that benefits the goal of star building by giving them a meaningful purpose.

 

No Vanishing Champions

 

I really like Big E Langston.  A follow of his twitter account should be highly recommended for any social media fan.  So the question is why can’t they translate his great personality to his recent forgetful Intercontinental Championship reign? Besides a few of the problems listed above in this column, we have another problem; vanishing champions.

How many times in the last few years have the two mid-card Champions not appeared on Monday Night Raw? Big E had a two-month period where he only appeared on WWE Superstars and/or WWE Main Event.  While I am sure some people think constantly beating Drew McIntyre constantly to be good for career advancement, I am not among those fans. I noticed as Big E started to appear less on the main shows, his reactions from fans started to decrease as well. If the WWE can’t bother to book meaningful things for its Intercontinental Champion to do then why should we care who the champion is?

 

Conclusion:

I don’t think that my ideas are really revolutionary or ones that haven’t been thought of before. But that is really the point. There is no real reason that the WWE writers shouldn’t already been doing them on a consistent basis. They are too simple to not already being done.

Older WWE fans will wax nostalgically about great Intercontinental Championship matches of the past. Matches like Savage-Steamboat or Ramon-Michaels rank among the most famous in WWE lore. In an age when the league is supposedly desperate for new stars, why do they continue to ignore this simple situation of career advancement right in front of them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feel free to contact me at lasher@pacificu.edu.  Additionally, I added a Twitter account, WWELasher as well. I would love to hear your thoughts. I am a teacher getting ready for his summer vacation.