Restoring prestige to secondary titles

Scott,


This is not complicated.
To make the IC and US titles mean something (by that I mean people care about who holds them and get excited to see them defended or change hands) ​ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS PUT SOME KIND OF MEASURABLE, TANGIBLE BENEFIT TO THEM. 
The MITB briefcase is important because it leads to a title shot.  Winning the Royal Rumble is important because it leads to a Mania title shot.  If they want people to give five fucks about the IC and US title, I repeat, ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS PUT SOME KIND OF MEASURABLE, TANGIBLE BENEFIT TO THEM.
For example, a late entry into the rumble; a guaranteed title shot at one of the secondary ppvs; guaranteed spot in MITB or elimination chamber; a PPV where the two champions face-off and winner gets a title shot the next night on Raw; etc..  There are a million things they could do to make people care about the titles and use the titles to propel midcarders into the main event, which used to be how they used the IC title (Warrior, Savage, Bret, Shawn, HHH, Rock, Austin, to name a few).  This would also dissuade them from putting it on losers like the Godfather, Jeff Jarrett, Goldust, and all the other losers who have held it.
This is not complicated.
Sorry, I was watching the new Star Wars trailer and got distracted.  Can you say it again?  

Two World Titles

Hey Scott

I know there has been a long held general consensus that there should only be one world title…..however, do you think that December was the worst possible time to unify the belts? Besides from the mistakes they made if it anyway (just 3 weeks build, disregarding Jericho's previous win, burying it on a forgettable December PPV), I can't help but think that if they wanted an Orton v Batista title match (for say the WWE title), they could have had the match and not had the negativity surrounding it simply by putting Bryan in a World title feud leading up to Mania (take your pick of opponents – Christian, Ziggler, Cena, Reigns, Sheamus).

Even at EC, they could have run a storyline of Orton safeguarding one belt by only putting the World title on the line in the chamber (and of course losing it).

I would say it is too late to split the belts now in time for Mania…..or is it?! Vince returns Monday and splits the titles, tournament for one culminating at Mania (with D-Bry winning)?

Keep up the great work

Yeah, it's too late now, what's done is done, but god they could not have possibly picked a worse time for the unification.  As you note, if they had both titles they could give Bryan the WWE title in a meaningful match and let Batista rot on Smackdown with the World title and everyone would be happy.  In fact the original plan was apparently Cena v. Wyatt for the World title before they decided to switch to a unified title at the last minute.  
But hey, the stock is at like $30 today, so what the fuck do we know, right?

Two titles

>

> Now that the titles are unified up top, was curious about a few things.

>

> 1. When and why did Vince decide after years of relatively equal footing to no longer treat the Big Gold Belt like a legit main event symbol? The closer to plenty of ppvs was for years until about 2010 and then no more?

>

> 2. Were there ever any big disputes over which championship match ought to close Wrestlemania tied to the titles prestige?

1. Really, the only qualifier for which title was the most prestigious at a given time was which one was on RAW and/or on Cena. Ever since they swapped the World title back to Smackdown it's pretty clearly been the equivalent of the IC title.

2. No, because the prestige isn't a real thing.

10 rare titles and great match of the day idea

Here's a pretty interesting historic article from the wwe.com crew about rare titles from the '70s/'80s:

http://www.wwe.com/classics/classic-lists/10-titles-you-never-knew-existed

A good read for those of us who didn't get into wrestling until the '90s.

And, there's a clip of this Jumping Bomb Angels/Glamor Girls tag title match included in the article:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x54slb_royal-rumble-1988_sport#.UUt4fVfRP-s

I was fairly surprised at how good (great?) it was considering it's a WWF women's match. Might be a good match of the day candidate for the blog.

As a belt mark, that was some good stuff.  And I kinda love that there's an actual backstory to the mysterious Rio De Janeiro tournament that created the IC title.  
And yeah, that tag match was YEARS ahead of its time.  Blew my mind back in 1988. 

Titles and Steiners

Dear Scott,

  Longtime reader of your reviews and rants. I just have two(2) quick questions:
 
  1. With Vince putting so much of the product on TV now and him squeezing every penny he can out of merchandising, how come he never created a TV title. I would think you could get more mileage out a TV champion on television than say the US title (especially when u already have the Intercontinental title). Always wondered why he never did that.
 
They have WAY too many titles already.  A TV title is just another name for another secondary belt that no one gives a crap about, to be honest.  Plus once Jim Duggan pulled it out of the trash to become champion, the concept was gonna be dead for a LONG time.  Frankly I'm shocked he resurrected the US title concept instead of reusing something of his own creation like the European or North American titles.   

   2. I was watching an old Impact episode and Scott Steiner was on. As I was explaining to my wife the complete change in character and skillset he did she didn't believe me until I showed her a Steiners match from '92. She still didn't believe they were the same person!!! I told her that Steiner from 91-94 is what Kurt Angle is today. Do you think that's a fair statement?? and how do think his career would've gone if: A) he broke from his brother when Flair wanted to put the title on him and 2) if Steiner from 91-94 debuted today??

I often have trouble reconciling the two people as well.  His reintroduction on Nitro in 98 took some getting used to, believe me.  Anyway, by "Steiner from 91-94" are you meaning that he was the often-injured former can't miss megastar like Kurt Angle is today, or an entertaining wrestler frequently having to carry the promotion on his back?  Because I don't think he was ever NEAR the star that Angle is even today as a shell of his former self.  Really, Scott Steiner 89-91, before the initial biceps tear that started him down the road to roidville, was the most awesome worker you'd ever see.  I think that if he debuted today WWE would probably tone him down to the point where he wouldn't get over, because he worked a very different style than most North American heavyweights, understandable given their time in Japan.  You'll note today that there's not a lot of suplex-heavy and hard-hitting intense guys, outside of Angle as noted.  Given the wrestling background, I think he'd have a shot as a Brock Lesnar-type once they molded him into the more homogenized style they prefer, but without trying to be too facetious about it I'd say that he wouldn't last two months without getting fired for multiple Wellness violations. 
As for the first part of the question…I dunno.  Older Scott Steiner as champion would have been a throwback to the classic NWA champions, but the business was changing and I really think that Big Poppa Pump was the key needed to make it as a long-term main eventer.  It's kind of the classic case of the Eddie Guerrero issue, where a guy doesn't develop a World champion level personality until long after his body has broken down from being a World champion level athlete.  Wrestling is weird that way, in that guys don't typically hit their peak until well after they're no longer able to capitalize on it.  So I'm gonna say he would have flopped as champion and been a victim of politics to play it safe.

Cena Most Titles?

Scott,
I am curious as to your thoughts about John Cena eclipsing Ric Flair for most World Title reigns.  With Triple H calling most of the shots, in addition to H's history with the Nature Bo, not to mention all of the heat the WWE would get for booking it to happen, but I wanted your insight into the matter.

Thank you.

As I've noted before, guys basically get titles out of a vending machine these days.  "Winning" 13 or 15 or 20 titles today means nothing, literally.  Considering one of HHH's World titles was literally handed to him on TV, that shows you the kind of prestige involved now.  

Let’s talk about titles

Hey Scott.
Which titles would you have in WWE? Bringing back a title or titles is fair game. Personally I would have 1 world title, keep both the intercontinental and US title, and bring back the cruiserweight. Yah, I know they are all
pretty meaningless at the moment, especially the U.S. Sheamus and Punk are off to good starts at the top at least, even though I hate the idea of 2 world titles. Oh, and I guess keep the tag titles:  hire back Team Angle, bring in the Outlaws for a little nostalgia, and get some current teams over! How would you book the stagnant tag division?

This e-mail is just all over the place, man.  Pick a topic and focus!  Anyway, the first question is more interesting to me.
I really liked the setup in 2002.  You had ONE World title with a champion who was multi-brand, and then the idea was going to be that the Intercontinental title was exclusive to RAW as the #1 belt when the World champ wasn't around, and the US title was going to be the #2 belt on Smackdown.  So that way you'd have the World champion wrestling only on PPV to keep it special, but you could do big TV matches based around the secondary belts.  Then from there you have the #3 singles belts to distinguish the brands — RAW would get the Hardcore title (or a TV title for the PG Era) and Smackdown would get the Cruiserweight title.  The tag champs could also work both shows, but frankly at this point I'd just kill the belts anyway.  Any belt that Titus & Young are the #1 contenders for isn't worth saving.  

Titles


Scott,
One of the many reasons I haven't followed wrestling on a consistent basis and haven't considered myself a fan for some time is my belief that in WWE, the titles don't really mean much and haven't since the whole brand extension mess. While there have been glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout the last 10 years or so, ever since they began flooding the company with titles and establishing two heavyweight WWE championships (not to mention a US and Intercontinental title), the company still hasn't quite figured out how to make these stupid things seem even remotely important. Having two top titles is like having a Best Picture and Best Movie award at the Oscars.
To the best of your knowledge, which of these is true: A) Vince and company know full well these belts don't mean what they used to and simply don't care, or B) They aren't aware a lot of people feel the same way I do and truly feel fans care about these ill-defined and diluted championships. And now that I think of it, if the former is true, why do they not care? Why do they still feel such a need to keep around two world/WWE titles when they isn't even a brand split anymore — not that they did a bang up job with them when they did have a split in the first place?

They don't care.  Titles are still around basically because titles have always been around and it's considered a necessary part of the show, but the company doesn't care and neither do the fans at this point.  You'll get house shows with 4 or 5 titles being defended and it makes no difference to the attendance whatsoever.  I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but it's mostly because of what Vince Russo did to them during his run, as they became literal props on a TV show.  They keep them now because they've always been around and you never know when they might need a quick title change to pop a rating.  That's really all there is to it now.  

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

Titles and Injuries

Two questions for you Scott.

1. In a time when the company’s main title rarely changed hands, why is it that twice in the early/mid 90s, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at house shows (Bret Hart and Diesel respectively)? I’m not merely asking why those people, more why not on a Raw or PPV?

2. Curious as to what you thought were the most significant injuries in wrestling history in regard to their impact on the company or another wrestling? Austin being out for much of 2000 allowed The Rock to elevate even higher, HHH missing 2001 was odd for the Invasion, but perhaps allowed Angle to get more respect.

 

1.  Generally when they suddenly do World title changes (or title changes in general) at a house show, it’s because they want to boost house show business by making it seem like ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at a show.

2.  The biggest by far was Steve Austin’s neck injury in 1997.  Not even just because it forced him to reinvent his style, but it forced them to reinvent the entire style of the PROMOTION.  Austin was the one who started the garbagy main event brawling style that defined them for years afterwards.  Further, because he couldn’t work and they wanted him on TV anyway, he had to go out and do 20 minute interviews and crazy backstage stuff to disguise his health problems.  Yeah, Bret and Shawn did monologuing with each other to further their fake/real feud before then, but Austin was the pioneer of the time-filling promo segment where he had no specific feud but just went out and talked trash to get himself over even more.  Again, that’s now part of the accepted template for WWE, and it was something that didn’t even exist until Austin was forced to create it.

 

World Titles

Scott,

Quick question regarding the ‘World Titles’:

If WWE intended on doing the brand extension and carrying a pair of ‘World Titles’, should they have just passed on the Undisputed/Unified title in late 2001?  They would not have needed to call it the WCW Championship, just take it back to World Heavyweight Championship (since the lineage predated ‘WCW’ anyway).  Unifying the titles at a throwaway PPV in December 2001, only to invent a new one for HHH by late summer 2002 seemed a bit pointless, if the intention was to have separate brands with separate titles anyway.

 

I know this will probably come as a huge shock, but WWE is not exactly known historically as a company that thinks particularly far in advance.  I can tell you that there was zero indication of this coming in the Observers around 2001, and it was basically a thing that they decided one week would happen, and stuck around for a decade afterwards.  The original intention was not to have a RAW World title, but to use HHH to elevate the IC title (which he held in mid-2001, you’ll recall) and then unify it with all the secondary titles to create a SUPER TITLE which would act as the RAW belt.  Didn’t work out that way, of course, although part of the plan was enacted in 2002 when RVD unified the Hardcore and Euro titles into the IC title, and then ended up losing to HHH anyway.

 

 

World Titles

Scott,

Quick question regarding the ‘World Titles’:

If WWE intended on doing the brand extension and carrying a pair of ‘World Titles’, should they have just passed on the Undisputed/Unified title in late 2001?  They would not have needed to call it the WCW Championship, just take it back to World Heavyweight Championship (since the lineage predated ‘WCW’ anyway).  Unifying the titles at a throwaway PPV in December 2001, only to invent a new one for HHH by late summer 2002 seemed a bit pointless, if the intention was to have separate brands with separate titles anyway.

 

I know this will probably come as a huge shock, but WWE is not exactly known historically as a company that thinks particularly far in advance.  I can tell you that there was zero indication of this coming in the Observers around 2001, and it was basically a thing that they decided one week would happen, and stuck around for a decade afterwards.  The original intention was not to have a RAW World title, but to use HHH to elevate the IC title (which he held in mid-2001, you’ll recall) and then unify it with all the secondary titles to create a SUPER TITLE which would act as the RAW belt.  Didn’t work out that way, of course, although part of the plan was enacted in 2002 when RVD unified the Hardcore and Euro titles into the IC title, and then ended up losing to HHH anyway.

 

 

World Titles

Scott,

Quick question regarding the ‘World Titles’:

If WWE intended on doing the brand extension and carrying a pair of ‘World Titles’, should they have just passed on the Undisputed/Unified title in late 2001?  They would not have needed to call it the WCW Championship, just take it back to World Heavyweight Championship (since the lineage predated ‘WCW’ anyway).  Unifying the titles at a throwaway PPV in December 2001, only to invent a new one for HHH by late summer 2002 seemed a bit pointless, if the intention was to have separate brands with separate titles anyway.

 

I know this will probably come as a huge shock, but WWE is not exactly known historically as a company that thinks particularly far in advance.  I can tell you that there was zero indication of this coming in the Observers around 2001, and it was basically a thing that they decided one week would happen, and stuck around for a decade afterwards.  The original intention was not to have a RAW World title, but to use HHH to elevate the IC title (which he held in mid-2001, you’ll recall) and then unify it with all the secondary titles to create a SUPER TITLE which would act as the RAW belt.  Didn’t work out that way, of course, although part of the plan was enacted in 2002 when RVD unified the Hardcore and Euro titles into the IC title, and then ended up losing to HHH anyway.

 

 

World Titles

Scott,

Quick question regarding the ‘World Titles’:

If WWE intended on doing the brand extension and carrying a pair of ‘World Titles’, should they have just passed on the Undisputed/Unified title in late 2001?  They would not have needed to call it the WCW Championship, just take it back to World Heavyweight Championship (since the lineage predated ‘WCW’ anyway).  Unifying the titles at a throwaway PPV in December 2001, only to invent a new one for HHH by late summer 2002 seemed a bit pointless, if the intention was to have separate brands with separate titles anyway.

 

I know this will probably come as a huge shock, but WWE is not exactly known historically as a company that thinks particularly far in advance.  I can tell you that there was zero indication of this coming in the Observers around 2001, and it was basically a thing that they decided one week would happen, and stuck around for a decade afterwards.  The original intention was not to have a RAW World title, but to use HHH to elevate the IC title (which he held in mid-2001, you’ll recall) and then unify it with all the secondary titles to create a SUPER TITLE which would act as the RAW belt.  Didn’t work out that way, of course, although part of the plan was enacted in 2002 when RVD unified the Hardcore and Euro titles into the IC title, and then ended up losing to HHH anyway.