The Hart Grapevine – The WWE World Title Unification

Welcome to the second edition of The Hart Grapevine exclusively on Two week’s ago on RAW, it was announced very shockingly that the World Champion, John Cena and the WWE champion, Randy Orton would collide in a unification ladder match at the subsequent PPV, TLC on December 15, live in Houston, TX. On the surface this seems like a tremendous idea. Purists of the sport have long since said that the multitude of championships wears down the effect and importance of the titles themselves.

On the business side, despite the watered down effect, with WWE having two separate touring brands, it made sense to have two respective champions. That way a champion could be present on every show. But with ratings, PPV’s and live attendance numbers down extensively as of late, WWE offices must feel this is the best decision to revitalize business. The theory is sound.

In 2001, WWE merged the WCW & WWE championships which did increase business and at the same time, helped catapult the budding career of Chris Jericho who was struggling to establish himself in the main event picture.

The problem is not with the unification itself, but rather the circumstances which surround it. First and foremost, a match of this calibre is something that should be built to over a period of time. “Hot-shotting” it to the next PPV with less than 3 weeks notice is such a waste of a golden opportunity. Second, the wrong talent are fighting for the opportunity.

Both Cena and Orton are fabulous superstars but both have reached their respective pinnacles. Part of the success of Jericho’s unification was the creation of a new top star, whom to this day lays claim to having beat both Steve Austin and The Rock in the same night to win the undisputed championship.

Third the use of a Ladder match, despite the themed PPV, should be reserved for a much more concentrated program, rather than a cold feud simply to fulfill the unification and the theme of the PPV with one shot.

Finally with 24 former WWE and or World champions under contract is it that incomprehensible to come up with a concept that could help re-establish value to the championships while including the multitude of champions at their disposal.

As I’m sure every arm chair booker out there has their own notion of what they would like to see happen, I too have posed an alternative concept. Imagine if Orton and a perspective challenger were to have a controversial inconclusive finish at TLC.

Perhaps against Daniel Bryan, wherein they each have a hand on the title belt as it fell from above the ladder. Thus the authority could declare the championship vacant and up for grabs in the Royal Rumble, with only former World Champions able to contend (This giving a new reason to watch the Rumble itself). Let us then suppose that Bryan wins the Rumble and then challenges the World champion whomever that may be (Cena, Punk, Jericho) at Wrestlemania, and in the process unify the titles and propel Daniel Bryan to a star of the highest calibre on the grandest stage of them all.

Like I say everyone has a theory. I’m just much more old school, and feel that a championship should be valued and rendered as the highest peak in the business, with very few ever able to attain that greatness.

Playing hot potato with a championship or having so many champions no one even knows who the champion is, seems to do very little for improving business.

But hey that’s my two cents.

Feel free to post your thoughts, opinions, feedback and comments below.

  • BD

    Daniel Bryan would be logical. However, WWE does not do anything logical these days. Cena will be champion and win whatever match he has at Wrestlemania

    • Negatist

      It’s really not the intent of WWE to be predictable; therefore, logical. You have to consider TLC will have some involvement of Daniel Bryan OR Triple H with the outcome of the unification match. Hart makes a great point in that Cena and Orton have both reached their pinnacles; however, think of this: Orton has had 11 total world titles; Cena has 14… If Triple H were to declare himself the unified champion, that would make HIS 14th and now that sets up a battle for 2nd most world champions in history. Daniel Bryan contending for the unified title at RR or Mania is also a great possibility because he is SO, SO over still, and he has yet to reach a pinnacle.

  • The YinYang

    Great read and with 24 former champions under contract you said it best. Although I will again be trapped into buying this PPV.

    • Negatist

      Hart makes a great point though – really only a select few should ever reach the status of world champion. It should be the defining championship.

      • Guest

        Personally I find it a disgrace that Del Rio has won a (4 to tell the truth) world title when Owen Hart hasnt won one….

  • Jake Fury

    I can smell an inconclusive finish in this one, as Hart said. I feel that both men may grab each other’s belt and therefore we will continue to have two champions for a while longer, at least until Wrestlemania. It depends what the plans for Wrestlemania are, and so far, they seem to be very much in the air. If they have an opponent in mind for Cena and want Wrestlemania to focus on a different big match, rather than the title unification [because if the titles get unified at Mania, it would really need to be the main event], then the titles may well be unified at the TLC PPV.

    I hope they do get unified ASAP. Having two titles has made no sense since this nonsense filled brand split ended. Unify the belts and let the guy who wins the rumble get a shot at the one and only main belt at Wrestlemania, preferably in the main event [but if Cena is not involved in it, then that cannot be guaranteed].

    • Connor Murphy

      That actually makes sense.

      • Negatist

        Sort of…

  • Ralph Frascone

    There is no doubt in my mind this match was made for an inconclusive finish with the fact that two different world titles are hanging above the ring. The question is are we going to see something where Orton/Cena swap titles, a main star returning? Having screw jobs,inconclusive finishes the last 4 PPVS there has to be a BIG payoff to close out the TLC. I am excited to see what it is because I can guarantee you there will not be an undisputed champion when TLC goes off the air.

    • Trey Doss

      i think sheamus is returning he did put the locker room on notice

      • Negatist

        He’s not at that level yet, though.

    • Buzz Killington

      Triple H said to Michael Cole that he guarantees only one champion will walk out of TLC. This interview was played on Smackdown. Such an inconclusive finish at this point, after the ridiculous turn of events with Bryan-Orton, would be beyond disappointing.

      • Negatist

        Like I tell others… buy the event and love it, or shut the fuck up and tune out. It’s really simple.

        • Buzz Killington

          Man, thanks for simplifying things. I wish I thought about things in such simplistic terms. I could really learn a lot from a person like you. Please keep commenting on every post so that I can give my life some meaning.

      • IconicSince84

        What if they both grab a title but one of them leaves “injured” or “carried out of the building” on a stretcher? lol.

    • Negatist

      Dude, you can’t say there won’t be an undisputed champion. You’re definitely not God.

  • Whatever

    Smith Hart is dead on, but then again a situation such as this has been an ongoing problem from within the WWE. Although Smith Hart is right, what Smith Hart does not yet realize, is that Smith Hart is far too old school. These days, I do not believe that an avid WWE Fan cares about long term story lines, long time title holders. Vince Russo ruined the WWE almost 21 years ago by building crash television. Fans do not want to see long term champions, or built up storylines climaxing at Wrestlemania like back in the day. Todays fan, wants to see a new champion of 30 days, todays fan wants to see crash television, todays fan wants to see some thing new and exciting each and every week, and say to themselves come on Mcmahon what do you have in store for me this week, these days it really doesn’t matter.

  • Toughguyrizzo

    I’m going to the house show at MSG Dec 26th. The main event advertised (as of Friday, during the Knicks game) was WHC Cena vs WWE champ Orton

  • Superbooker

    Wwe finally has everyone where they want them, noone has a clue what’s going to happen next! I love how the smarks put down today’s product saying how predictable it is yet can’t say where things are going! Well done triple h, your a good man.

  • No Escaping Gravity

    Good read, but I think you meant to say ‘peak’ and not ‘peek.’

  • IconicSince84

    I totally agree. This is definitely something that they should have built through the rumble and played out at 30th wrestlemania.