With the WWE Superstar Shake-up happening, it got us thinking about what other shake-ups could occur in the franchise. One of the main things we thought of was the titles, there are quite a few titles in the main roster, split between RAW and SmackDown Live, but are they all necessary and is there any that the WWE could benefit from using?
There are ten championships in the main brand, we’re discounting NXT for the moment, they are; WWE Championship, Universal Championship, Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, RAW Women’s Championship, Smackdown Women’s Championship, RAW Tag Team Championship, Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship, WWE Cruiserweight Championship and WWE United Kingdom Championship.
Now it makes sense to have the likes of RAW and SmackDown LIve Women’s and Tag Team Championships because each brand should really have the same titles to compete for and the WWE Cruiserweight division does need it’s own title, but then there is the dilemma of what to do with the remaining titles. Currently, for the male superstars, there are five championships on offer (well technically four because they are using the WWE United Kingdom title correctly, but more on that later).
Let’s start with everyone’s favourite part-time belt – the Universal Championship. A title that once held a lot of regale, being the flagship title for Monday Night RAW when the WWE Championship became exclusive to SmackDown Live in 2016, it was a title that all male superstars in the red brand wanted. While there have only been four champions, beginning with Finn Balor who relinquished the following night due to injury, to the current champion Brock Lesnar, who has held the title for 381 days and counting (accurate at the time of writing). However, it is the latter who has made this title completely irrelevant. While a title should not be on the line every week, for it to be a worthwhile title, it needs to be competed for in a somewhat regular manner, something that has not happened in the past 381 days as the part-time champion Brock Lesnar, is rarely present aside from the occasional piece of promo and big event match, defending the championship six times in 12 months. While in reality this would actually not be too bad a defence record (as it could possibly mean a new champion every two months in theory so does keep the title quite relevant but not too easy to win), the consistent lack of appearance of the champion and therefore also the belt, makes it one that there isn’t much point in having in the WWE and also makes it seem to the WWE Universe that not only does the title rarely get contested but also that its champion just doesn’t give a damn (something worthy champion Roman Reigns has been pointing out a lot recently, and we 100% agree with you Roman). Does anyone really care about a title that we never see?
If we compare this with the Intercontinental Championship, we get a very different story, whether he was wrestling or not, former champion The Miz would be at almost every event, cutting some promo, wrestling in random matches or actually defending the title, something the current champion Seth Rollins is continuing. This makes the title a more relevant and interesting title as while it has yet to be defended while Rollins has held it (which is a good thing, considering he only won it at Wrestlemania a couple of weeks ago), it is still present at every RAW.
Then if we head over to the SmackDown Live titles and we’ll start with the WWE Championship belt itself, the blue brand’s mainstay title, this one began in 1963 and was the main title on RAW from its inception, however switching to the Smackdown side once the brand extension occurred. The title, alongside the United States Championship we’ll discuss in a minute, are both regularly defended and Smackdown have got it right with the title defences and the promotion of both belts. However, is it really fair to have taken a championship from one brand to another that had such a history of its own?
Then we get to the United States Championship, now if a championship has a specific country in its name, one would assume that it is open to natives of that country (as is the case for the United Kingdom Championship), but this isn’t the case for this belt, as it has been won by multiple non-American wrestlers, nothing wrong with that really but its a bit of a misleading name. The history behind this title, however, is something that should be kept as a legacy.
Since the introduction of the RAW and Smackdown women’s titles replacing the Divas Championship, I’ve been quite content with the title opportunities in the women’s division for singles competitors so there isn’t a lot to discuss there as both are well-represented.
So how can WWE improve on these titles? Well my first suggestion is to take a leaf from the women’s division and have just one main championship on each of the brands. Replacing the Intercontinental and Universal championships on RAW and the WWE and United States championships on Smackdown, with the inaugural winners being the current champions of the titles they replace and the new titles being akin to the Women’s division as the RAW and SmackDown Live Men’s championships.
But then there’s only two titles and the tag team belt on each brand? Yes, but that’s where we introduce some new and progressive titles. So as we know, there are a lot of superstars who never get shots at titles and their matches are, for lack of a better term, a time-filler. So why not create some new leagues? I.E. an intergender championship on each brand, which will allow for some progression in terms of the equality, lifting the female superstars up to the same level as their male counterparts, while providing more superstars with the opportunity to be a champion and also capitalise on the recent Mixed Match Challenge and the Triple H/Stephanie McMahon v Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey Mania match. Intergender matches are a regular thing in the likes of Lucha Underground and it’s time the WWE take note. Even if they continue with the same gender having to be in the ring at the same time, it would be a step forward and would also make the matches more interesting. Who would be paired together? What new rivalries could occur?
Also, if we have a Men’s Tag Team Championship on each brand, why not have a Women’s? I know there are more male superstars than female to be able to fill the divisions, but the females are changing the game with the Women’s revolution so surely a women’s tag team title could be created? Even if it was one title that is fought for between both brands, with tournaments in the red and blue brands to find the winners of each who then face off at one of the PPVs to be crowned champions?
In reality, there are endless possibilities for WWE to freshen up their titles and these are just a few that we think the powers that be should consider.