Being the world champion, means you are willing to carry the brand that you’re representing on your back and fulfilling the responsibilities of the champion. If a champion is not fulfilling those responsibilities, then you don’t just go creating another world championship.
There has been talk recently that there is talk of creating a new Raw World Championship because Roman Reigns is on a light schedule and rarely appears on Raw. Listen I fully get that WWE is likely feeling the pressure from the fans and most likely the USA Network, but I don’t think the answer is just to create a new world title without exploring other options first.
With the Royal Rumble only a few weeks away, the rumors and speculations are swirling on what WWE will do, as the long-held rumor has been that Roman Reigns is facing his cousin, The Rock at WrestleMania. Well with Roman being the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion, tradition holds that the winner of the Royal Rumble would face Roman.
So, if tradition holds that would mean WWE would have The Rock win the Rumble. However, a large portion of the audience is rooting for Cody Rhodes to win the Rumble and be the one to dethrone Roman and fulfill his childhood dream of winning the championship that his father, Dusty Rhodes was denied on a technicality.
My personal opinion has been and continues to be Roman is definitely facing the Rock at Mania and will likely be the Rock’s final match and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the HOF this year as well. Realistically, this may be the last time WWE is able to get Rock for a match and with it being in Hollywood it would make sense to induct him too.
I don’t believe that matchup needs to be a title match though as it is a big enough dream match on its own. I also don’t believe the rumors that Roman was going to wrestle on both nights of WrestleMania against Cody Rhodes one night and the Rock the other. Roman is only wrestling one of those nights and my money would be on Rock being his opponent.
There is no question that Roman is the biggest draw in the business today and he has certainly been through a lot including his cancer battles and the constant grind of the road, so I get him wanting a reduced schedule to spend time with his family. However, the responsibilities of being the world champion shouldn’t be pushed aside because of it.
What I mean is, WWE has let champions like Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns not appear on shows for weeks or months at a time, with the argument it makes the world champion appear to be a special attraction, but I’d argue that it has hurt the quality of shows because the world champ isn’t there on a more regular basis.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of having two world champions in the first place and prefer the original concept that was introduced during the original WWE Brand Split back in 2002. The WWE Undisputed Champion and the WWE Women’s Champion were not brand exclusive and would appear on both shows.
What would happen is if a SD wrestler beat the champion, that wrestler would then appear on both shows and the champion that got beaten would then be exclusive to SD for example.
I have previously written about this I think there are too many titles in WWE and AEW. Championships are supposed to be prestigious and if they are given out like participation trophies, where is the prestige if everyone has one. Not everyone is destined to be champion.
Think about it, what is more valuable something that there is an overabundance of or something that is rare or hard to get? It is the rare and hard to get item, that is how wrestling championships should be. Winning one should actually be hard and mean something when you win it.
How Do You Fix The Problem?
WWE has a number of different options here that I think could potentially solve the problem that they currently have here, and it could be played out different ways depending on whether they want a brand exclusive world champ or a unified world champ that appears on both shows. In none of these cases does it involving creating yet another Raw World Championship.
I will give a number of different potential options and then give my opinion on which one I would go with if I were Triple H.
Option 1 – Have Someone Challenge Specifically For One Of Roman’s Championship
This was a potential option that was given to me by my friend, podcasting co-host and WR Reviewer, Clark Taylor. We argued over this option because since they are treating the championship as one title now and not a double title holder, it didn’t make sense to me why someone would just challenge for one of the two titles potentially separating them. It is certainly an interesting idea, but we both agreed that they would have a hard time selling it unless you could explain why someone would only challenge for one.
However, there was one name that came to mind that we both thought that you might be a potential option, Cody Rhodes. Cody specifically challenging for the WWE Championship because that was the title whose lineage traces back to the title that Dusty was denied the WWWF Championship.
I don’t particular care for this option as a whole because I think there are better options, but realistically I think this could only work with Cody because I don’t believe it would make sense with anyone else wanting only one of the two belts.
Option 2 – Have Roman Drop The Title To Someone Willing To Work A Full Schedule
This is an option that would maintain one unified world champion of WWE. Personally, I prefer one world champion as opposed to two. Having one champion to appear on both shows allows for the champion to have double the jeopardy as they could have challengers from both brands simultaneously. This adds a level of intrigue as the challengers from both brands could easily feud amongst themselves as well since they both want to be the one to dethrone the champion.
I don’t buy the argument that it is too hard to have one champion appear on both Raw and SD, because for years before there was the brand split there was one world champion appearing on both shows. Cody Rhodes is the smart choice as the one to dethrone Roman and Cody is a workhorse that would likely have no problem appearing on both shows in my opinion.
You could either have Cody return early instead of the Rumble and challenge Roman for the title at the Rumble or you could have Cody win the Rumble, but not wanting to wait to Mania and challenge for it early. The Rock could pop up fighting off the bloodline with KO and others, helping Cody win the title and setting up the Rock vs Roman at Mania. The challenger for Cody at WM could be determined at Elimination Chamber or maybe a tournament or whatever.
Option 3 – Rock wins, But Vacates Causing Tournament(s)
I think WWE has a major problem if they insist on making the Roman vs Rock match for the title, because if Roman beats Rock (which I would think he would), then you are stuck with well he beat the Rock, Cena, KO and Drew McIntyre so who can believably beat him now. I’m almost afraid the audience would bury whoever beats Roman if he successfully defends against Rock.
If the Rock wins, I could see him going I cannot fulfill the responsibilities of champion and hands the titles over to Triple H. Now Triple H, could do one of two things, he could announce there will be tournaments to crown new WWE and Universal Champions so both brands can have a brand specific champion, or he reveals there will be one tournament to crown the new undisputed WWE champion. If they do either of these, I would have Cody win and bring back winged eagle as a single belt as opposed to the current two belts.
Option 4 – Hunter Strips Roman Of One Of His Titles
I seriously find it laughable that WWE only brings up their requirement that a champion must defend their title at least once every 30 days when it is convenient for them and not consistently. I think you could either have Hunter enforce this weird rule in some way or like Brock Lesnar did in 2002, have Roman say he will be exclusive to SD and no longer appearing on Raw and Triple H strips Roman of the WWE Championship since it was the Raw World Championship. Then you could either do a tournament or 6-way or something along those lines to crown the new champion. I wouldn’t have the title on the line in the Rumble since there are both Raw and SD talents in it unless you are stating the winner will be exclusive to Raw whoever wins.
I mean you could have a full circle moment where Hunter just gives someone the WWE Championship like Bischoff gave Hunter the World Heavyweight Championship when Brock was exclusive to SD. Personally, I wouldn’t do this or do I see it happening since Hunter isn’t a storyline heel authority figure.
Option 5 – Split The Titles In A Unique Way
This unique way was only used one time as far as I know, at WrestleMania 16 in 2000, the reigning WWF IC and European Champion defended his titles in a two falls triple threat match where the first fall was for the IC Championship and the second was for the European Championship. Angle ended up losing both titles and was not involved in either pinfall.
So, the option here, I would have Hunter maybe bring up the often ignored 30 days defense rule and book a triple threat with two falls with one being for each title. You could have Roman lose both titles without being involved in either pinfall and the Rock could certainly play a role in the finish setting up their Mania match and giving Raw and SD exclusive champions. I would have Cody and KO being the two challengers and Cody walks away with the WWE Championship and KO with the Universal Championship.
I think any of these options could work, but it ultimately depends on if WWE wants one champion or two. If I had to pick one, I would go with Option 2 if you wanted one champion and Option 3 if you wanted two champions. My feeling is that as long as you have someone that is willing to fulfill the responsibilities of a champion and appearing on both shows and creative can make it work, I’d prefer one unified champion as I think it gives the appearance of more prestige having one undisputed champion.
However, if you cannot do that because of talent not willing to fulfill that heavy schedule or the networks insist on each having a champ, as long as you can make both titles appear prestigious and you can elevate the talent involved, I’m not opposed to having two champions as long as they appear consistently on the shows.
Photo Credits – WWE