When did title reigns become storyline material?

hi scott,

everyone's favourite_loser here, and i've got a question i personally can't remember ever being addressed anywhere

wwe.com has an article about when bruno lost the wwwf title to ivan koloff, and it made me think back to something i'd actually been thinking about recently. back in the day, did promoters just give titles to people and then run with it for as long as they figured it would work?  more to the point, when exactly did it become common practice to book title reigns as finite things, in the sense of "your reign will start on this date and end on/around this date"? obviously vince sr didn't say "bruno, you're gonna start in '63 and end in '72" contrast that with the closest modern day equivalent: punk's reign.  it was a long reign, but from the moment punk got the title, he knew when he was going to lose it (and to who)

i know you had reigns that were never meant to last long and were instead done to pop a territory (tommy rich, kerry von erich) or to proverbially transition to someone else in the long term (koloff to make way for pedro, stasiak to make way for bruno part 2), but is it safe to say that it didn't really become a practice until all eyes were on the product on a national level (so, sometime during the 80's, mid to late)?

Vince Sr. was in fact very well known for plotting out title reigns well in advance and sticking to them.  In fact, Billy Graham's run was set in stone from the beginning, even though he was selling out as champion all over the place.  Not to mention the NWA, where the title changes had to be voted well in advance and agreed by multiple promoters.   Really, it was only into the Russo era where hotshotted title reigns and flying by the seat of their pants began.