Welcome to the second edition of The Hart Grapevine exclusively on PWMania.com. 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.