Thursday, July 30, 2015

WWE's Handling of the Secondary Titles

One of the most often mentioned issue with WWE programming is how they treat their secondary title holders.  It's gotten to the point that many joke that winning the Intercontinental or US Title is punishment.  What's sad is that while it is a joke, it is actually fairly accurate.  Over the years there have been several claims that "WWE is getting serious about bringing respect back to the secondary titles."  Foolishly, we read these things and then against all logic hope and believe they will actually happen.  WrestleMania 31 was allegedly yet another turning point, but Daniel Bryan's injury derailed that to a degree.

What has happened is John Cena has been a strongly booked US Champion.  This makes sense because while Cena has been taken away from the WWE Title scene for a bit (thankfully imho) he's not "just another guy."  So while I'm tired of John Cena, I have actually enjoyed his run as US Champion and the US Open Challenge.  There is a frustrating aspect to this though.  John Cena's run has looked exactly like what we've clamored for with other secondary champions. 

Imagine guys like Cesaro, Bad News Barrett, Sheamus, The Miz, Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, whoever else you see at that level getting a similarly booked US or IC Title run.  It would be awesome.  I mean it doesn't even have to be a situation where they use that to jump to the main event scene.  All those guys who are trapped down at that level would have something important to do and an extended title run would make a huge difference in how they are perceived.  When the title changed hands, it would also be a big event.  The main thing it would do is relieve some of the nonsensical parity booking or even stevens booking you see at that level.  Might as well let a couple of guys shine brightly at that level than just let them all form a huge rat king I figure. 

While I said they don't have to use these runs as a springboard to the next level, it would certainly help those guys be more ready for it.  Basically, they would have some flexibility on what to do with these guys.  Either they get promoted which is great or maybe they linger at that level and gain credibility in an exciting US or IC Title division.  Either scenario is better than using the tired method of building challengers by having them pin the champ in a non-title match.  It's not an invalid way to build challengers, but it is an overused one in WWE.

Ultimately, I'd like to see both titles gain more relevance no matter who holds them.  Whether it's John Cena or Wade Barrett, I think WWE needs to allow their secondary title holders to get some real traction.  I'm not holding my breath though.

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