WWE, where champions never win.
Were champions in the WWE always made out to be losers? Or is it a recent phenomenon? And by ‘losers’ I mean it in the literal sense, as in they always LOSE!
In this past week, the Tag Team Champions, the US Champion, and the Intercontinental Champion all lost their respective matches on TV. The Dust Brothers lost a 3-Way tag team match against former champions The Usos, and the Not-Even-A-Real-Tag-Team of Dean Ambrose and John Cena. Not only did the champions lose their match, they lost against a team that isn’t even a team. In fact, since winning the tag titles, all the Dust Brothers have done is lose matches, be it tags or singles.
US Champion Sheamus has fallen to the shenanigans of the Miz and his stunt double, Mizdow two weeks in a row. At least in this case the losses were due to underhanded heel trickery, and not straight up clean losses like in the case of the tag champs, and my next example.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler has repeatedly fallen cleanly to the likes of Randy Orton and Seth Rollins, making it clear to the fans that he is right where he belongs and always will be, in the mid-card, losing to guys above him.
Come to think of it, not even the WWE Heavyweight Champion is safe. The monster, Paul Heyman’s Client himself, Brock Lesnar, was booked to appear like he was moments away from losing the title back to John Cena at Night of Champions. The only reason he’s still champion is due to interference from Seth Rollins, causing the DQ finish. So much for the monster.
So basically the US champ is a chump, the IC champ is a chump, the tag champs are chumps, and the WWE champ is a protected chump. I couldn’t think of anything worse than holding a title in the WWE right now.
Meanwhile, as all the champion chumps are going out and losing matches, Superstars who aren’t even involved in any title pictures are giving us the most engaging and entertaining stories on WWE TV. Dean Ambrose has been delighting audiences for weeks and weeks with his surprise attacks on Seth Rollins, which continue to become more and more elaborate and comical, from hiding in boxes to appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the crowd. He even got to have a mini “Stone Cold” moment when he stole a hotdog cart from Coney Island, brought it by train to the arena (presumably) and used its contents to attack and humiliate Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins. And all the while he’s doing this during the main event of RAW. Now, Ambrose’s good fortunes are in part due to the unfortunate injury to Roman Reigns, who was/is being groomed as the next top guy, and the fact that the current WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar is only working limited dates, leaving a spot open in the main event scene. However Ambrose got there, he’s making the most of his minutes and has become the most exciting character on WWE TV in quite some while.
The Bulgarian Brute, along with Lana, are another example of a non-title storyline that has been more interesting (Mostly. Sometimes) and more beneficial to a Superstar than holding a title. While not always entirely engaging, and sometimes xenophobic, and very 80s in feel, Rusev is a character who’s been getting this great slow burn build into a top foreign heel monster. Hopefully they keep the belts, any of them, away from him so his upwards progression can continue, and he doesn’t start inevitably drinking tea at a table in the ring with Santino wearing a funny hat.
Being involved in a title picture isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, “it’s all about the chase, not the prize!” The Miz/Mizdow/Sheamus feud has been one of WWE TV’s saving graces for the last few week’s, but about 90% of the credit goes to Damien Mizdow’s (Slammy) award-winning performance as the Miz’s stunt double. Sheamus and the Miz get 5% each. To be fair, this is the most I’ve liked the Miz ever since the Miz was the Miz. His Hollywood A Lister shtick is a lot of fun. So while this feud has been enjoyable, thanks to Mizdow’s show-stealing performance, to my earlier point, the result is still the champion consistently losing matches, and in Sheamus’ case in particular, coming off like a total bully. Aren’t we supposed to cheer this guy?
What are we to do? If WWE is so determined to undermine its champions, why bother having all these different titles at all? Maybe they should be a grudge match based promotion. But anything like that would require the kind of creative thinking that WWE’s writers are now more than ever sorely lacking. The easiest option would be to simply take a page from New Japan and make their secondary titles mean something. Earlier this year, New Japan’s biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom, was headlined with a match for the Intercontinental Title.
Until someone thinks of something, my only advice to WWE’s Superstars is to stay as far away from those cursed championships as possible.