One of the latest idea’s being thrown around on the internet is the intent of WWE to unify the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship and bring back the Undisputed Championship. This title has not been seen in WWE since 2005. The match is slated to potentially take place at Wrestlemania 30, with many speculating that John Cena will hold the World Heavyweight Championship up till this time. As with most things we read on the internet you can’t believe it all. But what I want to do is examine the idea and what potential benefits, and negatives, this would this bring to the product.
The first thing that really jumps out at me as a good reason to have the titles unified is simple – One champion, one belt. One of the biggest problems right now in WWE is that they have too many championships, and some get neglected. One of the belts suffering for a long time now is the World Heavyweight Championship. Sadly I feel this great championship has not been receiving the respect it deserves. It almost feels like it is playing second fiddle to the WWE Championship. Lets face it, when did the World Heavyweight Championship last really seem to mean anything on WWE television? It’s been treated almost like it’s a secondary title, and for me does not feel like WWE feel like it is worthwhile. Eliminating the two championships and making it into one brings some significance to being champion as you really will be ‘the guy’ in the company.
Another reason I feel unification would be a great idea is it is going to push the superstars on the roster to work harder so that they get noticed, it will create stiffer competition, and it will mean that those who really want the championship are going to have to work to get it. Whilst there is always the danger that Vince is going to push someone on us in the main event, like Ryback, who does not deserve to perhaps be there, having only one championship eliminates this chance as the main event match for the championship will then contain two wrestlers who want to give it their all, and will give everything they have to show why they deserve to be champion, and why they deserve their main event spot. It creates better competition for WWE superstars, present and future, and may even push other outside the company wanting to get noticed to step up their game and do something different to get noticed.
However, whilst there are good points for title unification, there are also some negative. One of the biggest problem I see is the size of the rosters. There will have to be a lot of cross promoting over Raw and Smackdown, but there can only ever be normally 2 or 3 wrestlers fighting for the title at any one time. It means that potentially less people may get a run with the belt. Superstars like Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, or Kofi Kingston, who deserve a shot at running with a title may well have to miss out to bigger more established names. The only way around that is a return to the Attitude Era mentality, where you could pretty much guarantee the title changing on average once every 3 months or less. While that is an option you then take away value from the championship and make it mean less than before.
It also poses another potential problem for WWE in that when they are on the road, much like they are in Europe this week, they are running 2 different shows in 2 arena’s on the same day. Instantly you then need to look at which show does the champion go on? One thing I was critical of TNA for when they came to the UK on their first ever tour was not bringing their championship with them, because they put it on Sting a few weeks before. When I go to a show, the championship match is one of the ones I look forward to as it is the 2 top guys normally facing off for the title, and at the end of the day that is what I have paid for and expected. If WWE runs 2 shows on the same night then how do you determine which shows has the champion on? The logical answer is the Raw show if the champion is from Raw, and Smackdown if they are normally on that show. However, we all know WWE regards Raw as the A show, therefore the likelihood is the belt is going to end up on that tour run more often than not. If you unify the title, does this almost call for an end to the brand separation?
Is it a good thing or a bad thing then to unify the titles and just have one champion? Before I started writing this article I was very much on the fence. I felt there were valid arguments for both sides. However, upon reflection I feel that unification of the championships into one would be a bad thing for WWE in the long run. Yes, the World Heavyweight Championship has been neglected, but having one champion and one championship will significantly hurt WWE for me in the long run. It would mean an end to the brand separation of Raw and Smackdown, meaning less talent gets TV time, meaning some talent never get the spot they deserve. Touring events would mean going back to one show a night as how many people are going to pay not to see a big championship match? Having two championships in WWE is a good thing in principle, I think WWE just needs to learn to manage their use of the championships better. For me, they need to both be used as the main staple of the show. They have it right with the WWE Championship, it is the main focus right now on Raw, I just hope now John Cena holds the World Heavyweight Championship they can bring the same notoriety, and importance, back to the World Heavyweight Championship on Smackdown, and that in less than 5 months from now I am not having to think about who will be winning the Undisputed Championship.