With WWE possibly planning the unification of the United States and Intercontinental championships for sometime, whilst potentially merging the WWE and World titles as one since the supershow collision, should the company unite championships in order to revitalise the product? Would it distinguish rivals on equal standing and further competitive edge?
Brand identity forgotten?
Since the birth of the supershow format since Triple H attained power as the Chief Operating Officer, WWE broadcasts of brands Raw and Smackdown would go on to feature talent from both rosters on the shows. Assuming Raw stars would appear on Smackdown and vice versa, WWE’s plan fell short when it was another devisory method to place stars like John Cena onto Smackdown in order to bump ratings as it could never move him to Smackdown as feeling the Raw brand would suffer as a result. It wouldn’t, but WWE won’t jeopardise any potential earner at the live event.
Since this, when stars should swap horizons for one week, for example, The Miz a Raw star spends one week of TV time on Smackdown, whereas a Smackdown star joins Raw for one week in a switch, thus equalling the balance. Instead, WWE place those selected on Raw AND Smackdown in that one week, where talent who could have their chance on TV are also scrutinised in favour of company favourites in a struggling change-through period.
If booking stars accordingly, which some have an interest in as the ‘lesser men’ the product would gain a significant advantage as well as having the sticking notion of one show a week appearance by all stars either on Smackdown or Raw, not both.
WWE have either forgotten or chosen to ignore its levels of brand separation that harm the title’s lineage and stability. Titles may be defending on opposing shows, but cannot be fought for, nor defended by stars that are not of the original show the title belongs to. The supershow format does not allow titles to be exclusive to all brands, otherwise there would be no need for any of them at all.
Smackdown’s titles are the Intercontinental and World Heavyweight championships. Raw holds the WWE championship along with the United States title. The Unified Tag Team Championships are accessible to both shows. As for the females…
The Unified Women’s championship saga…
Michelle McCool defeated Melina to unify both titles (Women’s and Divas) in a Lumberjill match on September 19th 2010 at the Night of Champions Pay Per View. Melina held the Divas title as McCool had the Women’s. McCool was exclusive to the Smackdown brand, Melina to Raw. The inter show collision eliminated the Divas title as a result. The Women’s championship became the unified championship to exist in WWE’s walls, as it should have, due to historical feats and the essence to fight for title strongholds.
Upon winning this match, the championship was permitted to both shows, though returned in the guise of the Diva’s championship, negating said heritage. McCool and Layla of Team Laycool, both joint champions, suffered detrimental effect and lowered aspirations of all females everywhere due to the new title faceprint. Psychology suggests women are born as weak, cannot achieve greatness a man can, and burst into tears easily for no reason other than to be unstable when dealing with such minor problems not causing a potential upset.
Casting away the Women’s title, which was unified and was, and still is, the correct title in history’s place no matter how you wish to eradicate it lowers expectation and excellence among the locker room. WWE realised it could not put the glorious Women’s championship onto a bit rate model sized, size zero, Kelly Kelly. No one would accept it. So WWE altered the centreplate to the Divas butterfly belt, in bright pink, to symbolise a female order, which, in hindsight, devalued all the momentum once Bimbo Bimbo wore the belt. That’s what it has become, not a championship, but a belt. VKM understands this notion more than anyone.
‘Fans’ of the WWE Universe did not take to it, though the ‘E had hoped putting it on popular Kelly would erase all thoughts of the title and is lineage, further highlighting WWE’s feeling of women’s wrestling as defunct and demoralised in status. Men are the greater sex, it would seem.
So what now for the unified women’s championship? WWE cannot retain it to place onto Barbie models like Eve and Kelly Kelly, (Eve is the next scheduled champion to win) meaning the title needs to be replaced by the Women’s title and placed onto the Wrestling females. The Barbie’s can either play in challenging matches (which maintain no credibility whatsoever) and participate as WWE feel T and A is necessary. Or, they can place all the models on Smackdown to fight one another, and allow the Women to defend on the natural homefront of Raw. Resurfacing the Divas championship for the models won’t help. It will have the same nullifying effect, being meaningless and inconsistent.
The point is, wrestling women must hold the title at all costs. These range from Natalya, Beth Phoenix and Tamina. No wonder the Divas take over. WWE have no talented females. Therefore it is essential to give them lengthy esteemed reigns as champ besting one another and other challengers in potential matches of particular interest, storyline and stipulations. Women’s wrestling is highly lucrative, giving a different contrast, able to stand strong among a level of male dominance. It adds the contrast against that. For example, sitting through a PPV or TV show of Man v Man for high title twice and secondary title once or twice, and then tag titles with four men and occasional jobbers sandwiched in between, bores audience tenfold. Having model eye candy champs enter a two minute match cannot be credible nor supportive to the era of transition.
Layla and Kaitlyn are support characters that can mildly ‘wrestle’ as well as the bumbling botch job Alicia Fox. They shouldn’t be booked in matches unless the other three need a break in between or gap to level out the feel of contention. They can also support when injuries occur. WWE need to hire more capable females who are job ready, as in, now.
By the way, Layla was the Women’s champion, not McCool, though favoured due to being the better worker of the pair. What a way to ruin Layla’s first title run, demonstrated by even cutting up the title in two halves.
Currently The Miz and Antonio Cesaro hold the opposing brand titles. Miz (Raw) and Cesaro (Smackdown) own the IC (Smackdown) and US (Raw) titles, respectively. This needs to be undone as quickly as possible to restore order and protect them both. The only feasible way to do this is to instigate a draft, which brings with it high interest and ratings, and re-evaluates the levels of power in WWE superstars. Removing the titles from them must be done BEFORE the draft and see them stripped. This will also garner more heat on the heels. Then, WWE can draft the superstars to the opposing brands to recapture their gold’s. Cesaro should recapture on draft night after being drafted and develop new esteem as a powerful force to take the WWE in its newest direction for 2013. The Miz, over on Smackdown can regain at a PPV, which will give further meaning to his recognition. The supershow will still allow them on both shows, which also means superstud John Cena could move to Smackdown if WWE have the balls to do so and give Raw a chance to create new stars for the future. Cena can still be on Raw, but allow a time for others to grow on it, creating the new batch and develop further challengers to the lacking roster of Randy Orton, CM Punk, Cena and Sheamus.
At World’s End
Unifying the World and WWE titles would be a cataclysmic disaster. Neither would have any meaning. Though the roster is sparsely thin, brand identity and striving to win the greatest prize is essential and with only John Cena holding the WWE championship, with his superhuman strength, and no one being able to suppress him, as one solid title, would ruin the WWE viewership completely. Even as challenger, Cena would cause the ratings to critically decline with the necessary age groups (over 16s, obviously.)
P.s, Alberto Del Rio may have ‘moved’ to Smackdown, however still remains a Raw superstar as he never had any story to explain his switch. Revealing Del Rio’s contract was ‘examined’ by Booker T and becoming a ‘fluke’ on Smackdown to secure the World title, Rio would be flung back to Raw. He could stay there and gain the breath of fresh air in the wake of Sheamus, or be drafted to Smackdown. Ricardo Rodriguez may be his workforce, however is still contracted to Raw, technically.
The young and the hopeful
Making new challengers on Raw, and with CM Punk at the helm, would be a great accomplishment to endorse. Daniel Bryan and Kane should team, as Big Show and Mark Henry should be shifted out somewhere from all young-uns. Needed are the fresh newbies, not Dolph Ziggler. It is their time to rise. Think Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, The Rock and less Ryback.
New talent needs to surface in WWE, not rehiring the old favourites and keeping the company in its old levels of stalemate. They simply won’t be the future. They may have booking pull; fine, add a few, but not all. Concentrate on the young and the hopeful, or else never materialise a new era and eventually continue to dip in reputation.
© Max Waltham 16th September 2012