With both United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett losing cleanly Wednesday night on WWE Main Event, the issue of your mid level champions losing regularly on WWE Television is right at the forefront of the issues facing the future of WWE.
It’s no secret that a large portion of the “smart” wrestling audience is none too happy with the recent trend of WWE’s mid level championship holders losing match after match. Whether it’s Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett or Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston before them, the trend knows not heel or faces. What’s most frustrating right now though is that the jobbing champions in question are two men with as bright a future as Cesaro and Barrett.
Both men are clearly two of WWE’s future top heels and extremely talented hands in the ring. They’ve been trusted to have long matches and held their own with all the top talent in WWE: Del Rio, Orton, Sheamus, Cena, etc. But by the same token, these men drop bouts regularly to other mid level talents, in under a minute in some cases.
While I wish it was less frequent, I’m fine with the IC or US champion losing matches to WWE/World title contenders on occasion. You have to keep those guys strong, I get it. However, when both of your mid level champions are on substantial televised losing streaks it doesn’t do much for the gold they carry.
Loses to people on their level should mean something, like setting up a feud or a title match. A few months back Cesaro lost to Justin Gabriel, setting up a ppv title match at Hell in a Cell. Great. However, those cases are rare. Barrett lost a match to Bo Dallas on Raw and outside of a backstage brawl, we haven’t heard anything from the young NXT superstar since. Not so great. This is a problem that weakens the view of the title. I could be wrong but will Sin Cara’s win over Cesaro go anywhere? Will it result in a WrestleMania 29 match? If Sheamus-Bryan got relegated to the pre-show two years ago- what hope does this match have of making the big show?
We know that the WWE and World Championships will be positioned as the top belts, as they should, but these secondary titles can still serve a valuable purpose. In the past, the Intercontinental Champion, was the gatekeeper to the WWE Championship. If you could carry a feud at the Intercontinental/United States title level you proved yourself and became ready to win or challenge for the big belts. Look at the names who held the Intercontinental Championship during its prime, a who’s who of legendary superstars:
Don Muraco, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Mr Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Goldust, Hunter Hearst Helmsely, Rocky Maivia, Steve Austin, Owen Hart… you get my point.
As of right now, both champions seemingly don’t have dance partners for the biggest dance of all April 1st. These championships still serve a valuable purpose and should be featured on the WrestleMania card. What would you do to strengthen the view of these championships?