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.

What RAW Has Become

Hey Scott, wanted your thoughts on this and perhaps some fodder for blog discussion: One of the reasons that RAW has become so less interesting to me is the fact that the shows have become so stale and follows the same formula every single week(not a groundbreaking statement I know).  I remember when RAW’s use to be unique and different.  Now they are basically all the same and as you put it, ‘3 hour infomercials for their upcoming PPV.’  It’s Opening Segment which usually sets up the main event(by of course the general manager), you do have your random matches thrown in just to kill time, a ton of backstage segments that lead to nothing, an angle at the end of the first hour to set up the 2nd hour main event, countless recaps and WWE app plugs and the main event usually resulting in Cena standing tall(and I’m not a Cena hater).  Even the matches follow a formula.  I DVR the show and anytime someone gets thrown outside the ring I immediately get ready to fast forward cause I know they are about to go to a commercial.  I mean RAW’s the night after PPV’s should be the most unpredictable yet they have been the most predictable over the last few years:  Winner of the PPV main event/champion opens the show, a wrestler interrupts saying he is the #1 contender, followed by another wrestler saying the same thing and so forth.  Finally the GM comes out and makes a Triple Threat/Four Corners/singles match to determine the #1 contender for that RAW’s main event and that gets us our main event for the next PPV.  I guess my question(s) is, do you think they will ever change this formula?  Are you tired of it?  Are your bloggers tired of it?  Do the writers/Vince see how stale RAW has become because of it?  Or are they just lazy and only care about getting people to buy their PPV’s?

Being a three hour infomercial for the PPVs isn’t the problem, it’s the point.  If they WERE constantly pushing towards their PPV, I’d be happier with the show because at least it would have a point.  Instead they’ve been become focused on TV revenue and monetizing the brand through apps and rights fees and burger sponsorships, so now it’s not even a show about accomplishing.  That’s why we’re getting crap like As The McMahons Turn when the ratings drop and two months of Ryback-Cena matches that no one cares about.  The problem was really shown leading up to Extreme Rules, when they had six weeks of build and two weeks’ worth of build material.  The rest is a bunch of stuff to fill three hours.  That’s why they’re killing their own PPV business and trying to launch the network.