Salutations, you bunch of chum buckets! Sorry for being away this past Memorial Day weekend, as I found myself the guest of a ridiculous amount of parties. And no, I’m not exaggerating and/or making any of this up.
Friday: Birthday Party
Saturday: Baby Shower, followed by ANOTHER Birthday Party
Sunday: Movies, BBQ with Cousins, BBQ with Friends
Monday: BBQ with Friends
So as you can plainly see, I had ZERO time to watch and write a recap of last Friday’s Smackdown. Kelly was off on a trip to Vegas anyway, so there wasn’t going to be any of our witty banter regardless. Fret not, for we shall return to form this week. Promise.
So I saw WWE Over The Limit two Sundays ago, and I was impressed with the two top tier title matches (jeez, I’m starting to sound like Kue…). I also noticed something else: the return of Captain Charisma. Needless to say I was happy to see him back, and as a face, too. He took the Intercontinental Championship off of Cody Rhodes and now they are embroiled in a feud about legitimizing the stature of the belt. That got me thinking about whether or not having a former World Heavyweight Champion truly adds prestige to the gold.
As I brought up in last week’s comments section (a column which received decent reviews, so thank you guys for that one), in the “old” days the midcard belts were used as stepping stones for talent deemed ready to move up the ladder of success. Guys like Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Macho Man Randy Savage, and The Rock held the Intercontinental Championship years before achieving superstardom as World Champions. Nowadays that’s not quite the case, as several wrestlers have been catapulted to the top without spending much time in the midcard scene, with Alberto del Rio being a prime example. The Undertaker didn’t hold a midcard title (that being the Hardcore Championship) until roughly eleven years after his debut. Hell, Sheamus won the United States Championship after having already become a 2-time WWE Champion. With Christian, a successful midcarder in his own right and former main eventer (for however brief a time), now in possession of the IC title, what kind of message is being sent to the WWE Universe?
On one hand, some might see this as a bit of a downgrade. Much like the ECW Championship was a “thanks for being loyal” title for guys like Mark Henry, Kane, Matt Hardy, Chavo Guerrero, and even Christian himself who we never thought would hold either of the two major titles in the company, being awarded a lower title after having achieved the pinnacle of wrestling success could be construed as a message that says, “You failed as a main eventer, so here’s a consolation prize.” Look at what happened to The Miz. He hasn’t won a secondary belt since losing his WWE Championship, but it’s pretty much a given (based on the way he’s been booked since) that his future will involve both the US and IC titles for quite some time. Then there’s the gaggle of fans who might think that pushing a main eventer down the card also lowers the chance of a rising talent getting the opportunity to shine, as more TV time is devoted to said top star and the less recognizable performer is shipped off to Superstars or NXT.
On the other hand, allowing a main eventer to hold a midcard championship could be seen as a way to draw more interest in a title feud. During Chris Jericho’s second run in the WWE, he won the Intercontinental Championship and went on to feud with Rey Mysterio in a fantastic series of matches over on Smackdown. If you want to get technical, the Tag Team Championship could also be considered a midcard title. Look at what JeriShow did for those belts: actual relevance for their existence and a MAIN EVENT SLOT AT A PPV. When was the last time the Tag Team Championship main evented a PPV? The placing of a main eventer in a feud for a midcard title should serve two purposes: add prestige to an overlooked title and give the rub to an up-and-comer by having him beat the champ.
With the advent of Christian’s reign as Intercontinental Champion and his subsequent feud with Cody Rhodes, it depends on the WWE’s direction. Will they use this opportunity to elevate Rhodes and the title itself? Or is this just a pointless exercise in the usual “we’ve got no one else for you to face, so here’s this guy” routine? Let me know what you think.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: alberto del rio, chavo guerrero, chris jericho, christian, Cody Rhodes, ecw championship, Intercontinental Championship, JeriShow, kane, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, Mike Gojira, Over the Limit, Randy Savage, rey mysterio, sheamus, Smackdown, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Miz, The Rock, triple h, undertaker, United States Championship, WWE, WWE Tag Team Championship