Before a new champion is crowned, we must first look at how problematic it is. The addition of the new WWE World Title diminishes Roman Reigns and his Undisputed Universal Title, although WWE Hall of Famer Booker T doesn’t think so.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Booker T said on The Hall of Fame podcast concerning the new World Heavyweight Championship. “I just don’t, I just can’t, you know, find myself looking at the title being a secondary title or anything like that.”
But in reality, it is, Booker T. It really is.
“I think pulling the trigger and separating the championship and making, you know, one brand, one for the other, I think that’s good for everybody.”
Booker T is undoubtedly a deserving Hall of Famer as he was a huge contributor to the wrestling business during his career. But Booker probably has good reasons for believing there should be split-brand champions.
As much as he was known for being a five-time WCW Champion, Booker only held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship once, and that was when the brands were split, much like they are now. He never won the WWE Championship.
If not for split-brand championships, there’s a valid argument to be made that Booker never wins a major title during his WWE tenure. And it wouldn’t be because he didn’t have the talent to do so. It’s that not everybody has to be, or should be, the World Heavyweight Champion. Not everybody is “the guy.” A lot of greats never held a World Championship, like Roddy Piper, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ted Dibiase and Scott Hall.
Too many WWE championships?
Having too many championships, especially World Championships, diminishes the meaning of all championships. Because if you can’t win one of them, there’s another one on another show you can probably win — or they’ll just create a new one for you. Championships, at that point, just become participation trophies because everybody gets them.
WWE’s version of the World Heavyweight Championship doesn’t have a good history to begin with. Remember its first introduction into WWE? After the first brand-split in 2002, the Raw brand was left without a champion after Stephanie McMahon signed WWE Champion Brock Lesnar exclusively to SmackDown. Eric Bischoff then simply handed the World Heavyweight Championship to Triple H on an episode of Raw.
The World Heavyweight Championship didn’t just start to feel second-rate with its recent reintroduction. It’s been that way since Sept. 2, 2002.
I realize this is an entertainment business where the rules, the competition, even the championships themselves are all scripted to create a television show. I’m not trying to get all Bret Hart serious on you here. I’m simply stating that from a storytelling and production standpoint, championships have to mean something and by creating more of them, WWE is completely diminishing their meanings.
“People saying that this is a secondary championship, they’ve never been in that position where they were bestowed upon them the title of champion. World Champion. That right there for a young kid in this business is something that he dreams of forever.”
Being World Champion means that the company trusts you. But if you’ve watched WWE long enough, you know there’s always an emphasis placed on one champion over the other. While Rollins and Styles are both worthy holders for the new championship, they’re also worthy of holding Roman Reigns’. Just not currently. Reigns is the main focus of the entire company. He is the champion.
Whether it was by happenstance or intention with Reigns’ current run, WWE is in a place with him that currently requires a lot of amending to their rules. And that’s saying something for the wrestling business. WWE fought for years to make Reigns “the guy,” and when they finally struck gold with him, they weren’t prepared. Now, they finally have a money-drawing character in Reigns — heel and all — they’ve sought for after facing so many years where fans revolted against him.
And while they’ve done their best to skid around making the new World Title seem important while simultaneously keeping the supremacy of Reigns’ title intact, it still creates a quandary in that it lessens the effect of each title.
WWE can’t take Roman Reigns’ title off of him because their narrative intentions with him now have to be taken with caution given that his future creative directions could affect many. Instead, they had to create a new World Title… one that’s less than… one that’s secondary.