by Nicholas Halavanja - September 03, 2013
What you see above this line is the World Heavyweight Championship. It is the championship that has been around for a long time. At one time, it was the richest prize in WCW. Now, it seems to be nothing more than an afterthought. How did this happen? It should be the most important title in the WWE, as the represents the world, not just the company, if you go by the title’s literal name.
After WCW was purchased by the then WWF in 2001, its richest prize was bought with it, the WCW Championship. After the Invasion storyline ended, The WCW and WWF championships were unified into the Undisputed Championship. The Undisputed Championship lasted until September of 2002, when it became exclusive to Smackdown and was once again called the WWE Championship. This led to the official reintroduction of the WCW Championship. It was called the World Heavyweight Championship and would be exclusive to Raw with Triple H being the first superstar to hold it.
For the next three years, The World Heavyweight Championship was the most important title on WWE’s biggest show. It was defended in the main events of Wrestlemania XX and Wrestlemania 21, crowning first-time champions on both occasions. In June 2005, World Heavyweight Champion at the time Batista was drafted to Smackdown, taking the title with him, while John Cena and the WWE Championship headed to Raw, making the WWE Championship the main title on Raw, and the World Heavyweight Championship the main prize on Smackdown. This is where the value started to diminish.
With the move to Smackdown, the amount of pay-per-view main events for the World Heavyweight Championship decreased. Not counting Smackdown exclusive pay-per-views, the World Heavyweight Championship was defended in the main event on only a few occasions, one being The Undertaker vs. Edge in the main event of Wrestlemania 24. The title was moved to Raw again in 2008, but didn’t have the impact on the show as it did from 2002-2005. In 2009, the title once again became exclusive to Smackdown, and that’s where it had its last real significant run. That run in 2009 gave CM Punk his biggest feud to date with Jeff Hardy, launching him into superstar status. He lost the title to The Undertaker who would hold it for nearly six months in what was to date his last title run. That may have been the last important run for the World Heavyweight Championship; everything seemed to devalue the title since then.
The World Heavyweight Title was defended by Chris Jericho against Edge at Wrestlemania 26 in 2010, in a match that was booked like a mid-card match. Afterwards, Jack Swagger won it and had a forgettable run, same for the next title holder, Rey Mysterio. In July, Kane won the title for the first time, and in October, defended it against The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell. To date, that match was the last time the World Heavyweight Championship was defended in the main event of a pay-per-view. Since then, it was defended in the opening match at Wrestlemania 27 and Wrestlemania 28, which is an insult to a World Title. Today, the title seems to be nothing more than a prop. Alberto Del Rio is the current title holder, but does nothing of significance on Raw or Smackdown
It’s somewhat sad that this once valuable title is nothing significant currently. Will it rebound? Only time will tell. Unifying it with the WWE Championship may be inevitable at some point, unless they find other ways to make the World Heavyweight Championship have meaning again. One suggestion would be to place it in feuds that have meaning, not thrown together matches like they have set up for it lately. What makes a championship important is the drive superstars have for holding it. Just throwing a match for the title without talking about its meaning does nothing for the title or the superstars in the match. As a fan, I’m disappointed that this title, which has never changed it design keeping its traditional look alive, is nothing to talk about right now. It’s more of a belt of an upper midcardered who doesn’t seem good enough to hold the WWE Championship. The WWE Championship will always be the top title in the WWE, but the World Heavyweight Championship needs to be close to its equal, not a prop.
Until next time readers,
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