"Wrestler X Doesn't Need The Title."
When did this become a common wrestling platitude?
I've noticed for the passed year or two this phrase gaining some steam on the forums. A poster will point out that a popular superstar does not need to carry around a championship to get people interested. While this is sorta true (Cena is a guy people will want to see with or without gold), it's kind of a redundant statement. Guys like Daniel Bryan are going to be loved whether they're against Brock Lesnar or Kevin Owens/Zayn, true, but if I was given the choice to watch him carry around the most important prize or fool around some more the decision is clear to me.
Maybe I'm an old man and think the man should elevate the title and not the other way around, but I don't recall anybody saying these things about the big names in pro wrestling's past. I'm sure if I dug around I will not find "Stone Cold didn't need the title at this point" as an ordinary, insightful bead of wisdom. So why are we saying these things now?
What does it mean to truly need a championship, anyways? Does a fresh face profit greatly from being the guy who carries around an important title? Because the last three years:
...kinda say otherwise. I don't believe there is a performer on the roster who is too big for the prop that's purpose is to indicate the best in the company. If anything it needs that quality now more than it ever has with one title barely represented and the other locked in a lengthy game of "What's The Capital of Thailand?"
When somebody says that The Miz or any other guy that could make the show interesting "doesn't need the title" I have no idea what the hell that really means.
Help me out here.
Time was when being the world meant you were the top guy the man to beat and winning the secondary belt meant you were next in line.
I agree with Spidey. The main focus should always be the richest prize in this industry. That’s not always the case, but it’s not like I haven’t disagreed with the WWE before. Let’s take a look at the WrestleManias that didn’t have the WWE Champion, or the World Champion, or the Universal Champion involved in the main events.
WrestleMania VIII – Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice
WrestleMania XI – Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor
WrestleMania XXVI – The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in a No Disqualification Streak vs. Career match
WrestleMania XXVIII – John Cena vs. The Rock
WrestleMania 33 – The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns in a No Holds Barred match
Out of these 5 WrestleMania main events, one could say that the top Championship Title Belt was not necessary to headline the Show of Shows. At the time that these matches took place, these SuperStars did not “need” the Championship Title Belt at the respective points in their career.
Hulk Hogan was already a legend, who already passed the torch years before. Sid Justice was doing the job to Hogan, while Macho Man Randy Savage and Ric Flair were carrying the company’s flag. Lawrence Taylor was the celebrity. Bam Bam Bigelow was doing the job to L. T.. The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, and the Rock were all “above” the Championship Title Belt by that time, and were already considered main attraction Legends who could still go. Roman Reigns is just on a different level that both SuperStars and Legends are on. He’s somewhere between both, at least that’s what WWE is trying to portray him as.
Point is, although I don’t agree with how WWE handles (or mishandles) the WWE Universal / World Champions and Championship Title Belts, some SuperStars / Legends just surpass being Champion at some point in their careers. Some characters are just so over, that holding the Championship Title Belt sort of brings them down, especially when the drop it to the next Champion in line. As far as Finn Balor, Sheamus, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Jinder Mahal, and any SuperStar not classified as a Legend on the current roster are concerned, I agree, they are not above the Big W Belts.
It's the reason championships have lost prestige that's what it is.
I don't dislike the fact that Lesnar is holding the belt I dislike the fact that he doesn't defend it as rarely as the modern wrestling demands him to defend him. But you can't deny that both Lesnar and AJ Styles right now are the top guys in the company and they SHOULD hold the championship.
WWE have used world championships to elevate people like Jinder, Sheamus, Ziggler, Del Rio, Balor, Swagger and countless others who were unworthy of being world champions. That's a mistake. The world championships should be held by the top stars.
On RAW the true top stars are Reigns, Lesnar and Rollins and on Smackdown Styles, Bryan, Orton and Miz. Joe, Braun, Balor, Ambrose, Owens, Lashley, Zayn are trying to get there and the rest of the roster are midcarders.
Wrestlers should get over with the US and IC titles and when they are ready then they hold the world title. Simple as that.
Jinder, Reigns, Owens, Rollins, Balor, Sheamus, Punk, Khali, Ziggler, Swagger, Orton. All of them held a world championship before they were ready for it and they all failed in these title reigns.
The WWE for a long time has held little regard for titles. They hotshot the titles so much that everyone gets to hold one of the company’s belts. It’s about the brand, not the title or the wrestler.
I think it's something that, like so many other things, gets tossed around too often and too casually among fans these days. When you look at the roster of any relevant wrestling promotion in operation, you're going to be lucky if you find a handful, and by handful I mean 5 or 6 wrestlers, who're genuinely above championships. To me, I think a lot of the "he doesn't need to be champion" statements really mean "I wanna see someone else as champion." Not in all cases, at least not in my opinion, as there are guys out there who have done so much, everything in some cases, that the notion of them being champion again just doesn't seem exciting. In WWE, for instance, guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H and the Undertaker are men who've won so many titles so many times or who's status is so legendary that being champion again just seems redundant.
I use Orton as an example a lot of times because he represents a lot of extremes. Randy Orton was a 6 time World Champion, an Intercontinental Champion, a Tag Team Champion and a Royal Rumble winner all before he was officially 30 years old. I mean...shit man...that in and of itself could represent a HOF worthy career in WWE and the guy does it when he's still officially in his 20s. Add on top of that all he's done since, which include 7 additional World Championship runs, another Royal Rumble win and a United States Championship win.
When it comes to the top championships, the main event championships, the biggest problem is that a lot of companies try to use the title to elevate the wrestler when it's obvious that the wrestler isn't ready and/or probably will never be ready. WWE does this sometimes, New Japan has done it, Impact does this sometimes, ROH and pretty much everyone else that's relevant but WWE gets called out more because WWE is the highest profile company and, to be fair, WWE engages in this the most often.
I've mentioned "not needing the belt" in the past, so I can speak to what I meant by it. Might not be what you're looking for, but here goes...
I have used it in reference to superstars' HOF credentials. Often, someone will dismiss or disagree with an inductee's inclusion because "he was never champ". Some examples would be Hacksaw Jim Duggan, the Bushwhackers and Koko B. Ware. These are characters that I felt never needed belts because that was not their purpose. These were characters whose purpose was to entertain the crowd before the main events. Duggan's "Hooo" and "USA" chants got people involved in a good way. He entertained people. The Bushwhackers also had a "Whoa/Yay" chant and licked fans heads around ringside while doing their trademark walk. Koko had the arm flapping and clapping. These men served their purpose in WWF without the belts because the belts were not needed. That's not why they were there. More recently, fans seem to want a card of "main event" matches. Back then, we were able to be entertained while waiting for the "important" matches. Belts on these crowd-entertaining guys were not needed, so to belittle their contributions for that reason alone is unfair. That is what I meant. Granted, that is different than the more modern reasons, but I can't speak to those.
I remember one time where Roddy Piper said either in a interview or on his podcast that he never needed to be the WWF champion because he was over and was making as much money as Hogan and let's face it, he was right. The WWE title as always been a prop that use to tell a story. Hogan was the megastar that everybody wanted to see be world champion so they gave him the belt. That doesn't mean that piper, beefcake, koko and hacksaw didn't deserve the belt but the fact is, they didn't need to belt to be over and that's the case for pretty much everybody in the business back then and even today. If it help telling the story of a certain performer, then give him the belt but the way I see it, nobody deserve the title because it's not real and it's just a prop they use to tell a story.
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