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Is It Time To Unify The World Titles?
Once upon a time, Chris Jericho pinned The Rock and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in the same night to win both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WWE Championship and become the first Undisputed Champion of the wrestling world since Lou Thesz in 1960. Triple H then defeated Jericho at Wrestlemania 18 to become the, in my opinion, final Undisputed Champion in history considering the emergence of TNA Wrestling and their association with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship later in 2002.
The Undisputed WWE Championship was split up in August of 2002 and, over ten years later, we still have two separate, but supposedly equal, world titles in the WWE. Since the split, many have clamored to re-unify them under the pretense that two world titles waters down the product, and so I once again ask: is it time combine the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship?
In my opinion, I think it’s the right time to unify the two titles with a well thought out storyline, but let’s weigh the pros and cons.
One could argue that with the plethora of top level talent within the WWE, having two titles allows you to make more stars than if there was only one. This is a valid point, but I would counter that this presents the perfect opportunity to return the Intercontinental Championship back to its former glory. It’s been a long time since the IC title has meant as much as it did back in the days of Macho Man and Ricky Steamboat, but removing one of the two top titles would thrust the Intercontinental belt back into the number two spot.
Unifying the two titles could also solve one of my biggest issues with the world title scene, which is that the WWE Championship is clearly valued above the World Heavyweight Championship. Despite the fact that both titles are supposed to be on the same tier, the WWE Championship has a certain mystique that the World title lacks. It also doesn’t help that they tend to give the World title to up-and-coming main eventers whereas the WWE title is reserved mainly for the established stars of the main event scene.
However, the problem that this creates is that Smackdown live events would not have a main event title defense, which is a huge draw for local fans. Most people tend to view Raw as at least a half-step above Smackdown and removing Smackdown’s top tier title would set them a full step behind for these live events.
I would argue that this could be remedied by doing away with any trace of the brand extension. Raw and Smackdown superstars have been crossing over between programs quite frequently within the past year, so brand extension is essentially already dead. Instead of billing live events as Raw live events or Smackdown live events, they could simply bill them as WWE live events and find suitable main events to replace WWE title defenses in towns that the champion will not be appearing in.
Overall, I think the pros outweigh the cons in terms of re-unifying the two top titles within the WWE. It would give them the opportunity to build toward a massive storyline that could easily involve the entire main event and upper-midcard roster and, by the end, they will have built a true star. I say it’s time.
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