You (slightly) older fans might remember Rob Van Dam’s theme song from the Forcible Entry CD. The song was called One Of A Kind and the name summed up Van Dam perfectly: there was only one of him and no one else was like him. For the most part, that was absolutely correct. No one talked like him, no one acted like him and no one wrestled like him, especially with the jumps and kicks. One of a Kind was the perfect name for him, and it is a phrase that you have probably heard in a lot of different places. Now let’s tweak that just a little bit.
Imagine if the phrase instead was twenty seven of a kind. That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, as the more you have of something the less unique or special each one is. It is true in wrestling just like anything else, which should explain one of the bigger current problems (out of many) in WWE.
Right now, twenty seven people hold titles in WWE. That’s three shy of a Royal Rumble or five shy of the amount of people who wrestled at the first Wrestlemania. You could stage one of the most important pay per views of all time and have a few bonus matches left over based just off of the current champions on the WWE roster. For comparison, you get to twenty seven titles if you add up AEW (counting the FTW Title), Ring of Honor (counting the yet to be crowned Women’s Title), Impact Wrestling and Major League Wrestling. Not only can you stage Wrestlemania, but you can have four companies’ worth of titles.
It’s the kind of thing that you hear a lot but it only part of the problem. This weekend at Money in the Bank, Charlotte won her eleventh Women’s Title (retconned down from fifteen because….I have no idea really). The win extends her own record on the march to Ric Flair, because even when he is long since retired, WWE is required to run a Ric Flair storyline every so often. As usual, this did not mean much as it was another short run title reign for the sake of padding her resume.
I could go into a big, long and mostly dull account of their time as champion, but the biggest problem is how fast Charlotte drops the title. While Flair had a few very short title reigns (mainly his last few), Charlotte has had eleven title reigns, with five of them lasting less than a month. This week, her title reign lasted about twenty five hours, yet it is still something WWE is going to brag about.
It isn’t even exclusive to Charlotte. Consider Goldberg, who is a four time World Champion. One of his title reigns is his famous run from WCW and his second is the World Heavyweight Title reign from 2003. Those both went fine, but then you have the two Universal Title reigns which added up to about two months in total, zero successful title defenses, and about ten and a half minutes of total ring time counting the two matches each where he won and lost the title.
Are these reigns supposed to mean something? Outside of just adding numbers onto careers that are already made, they are doing little more than beefing up statistics which begin to lose all of their meaning the more you talk about them. The fact that Goldberg won and lost a pair of World Titles in four matches and Charlotte has had multiple title reigns that did not even last two weeks should tell you a lot. Namely, that WWE treats a fair few of its titles like little more than points on a scoreboard.
It is a good (or I guess bad) example of how titles no longer feel important. Of course things have changed a lot with the advent of several hours of major weekly television, but just hanging title reigns to people all over the place like this is a lot to take. Charlotte has been around for a little over six years and is an eleven time Women’s Champion. That’s impressive, but does it mean as much when there are currently eight women (Meiko Satomura, Io Shirai, Zoey Stark, Raquel Gonzalez, Nikki Ash, Bianca Belair, Natalya, Tamina) who hold a title in the company?
Tag teams are the same as well. You have the Usos, who are probably the best team in WWE today and one of the best ever (or seventh, according to the official WWE list, which has New Day at the top because…..help me out here). They just won the Tag Team Titles for the seventh time, which is pretty cool. The problem is that they are one of four men’s tag teams (AJ Styles/Omos, Pretty Deadly, MSK, Usos) holding titles in WWE at the moment.
It is a case of diminishing returns, as just slapping a title on someone has almost no meaning when you have such a crazy number of champions and so many people winning and losing belts at such a moment’s notice. How much am I supposed to care about one person getting a title when someone else just did the same thing? Hey, this person is now a three time champion. Well Charlotte is an eleen time champion so the three reigns don’t mean much now do they?
The Money in the Bank title win put CHarlottte up to eleven, and how many times per show are you going to hear that number? Ever since the Brand Split and the introduction of a second World Title, WWE has gotten obsessed with reminding you how many times someone has held a title. How important is it going to seem if someone wins a title for the eighth time? Is that really so much more impressive than seven? Or is is that much less impressive than nine?
Flair and John Cena have sixteen World Titles each. Triple H, Randy Orton and Edge have a bunch each and almost everyone else has a normal number. You know who else has a high number that you might not have realized? Hulk Hogan, with twelve (six WWE, six WCW). Now how many times have you heard that number mentioned and how many times did it seem ridiculous that Hogan was champion so often? Just stop talking about it and things will get that much better.
You can look around and see various promotions who are doing this so much better than WWE. A lot of that is due to the pure number of titles available in WWE, but do we really need a full set of titles for all four weeks shows? Did we REALLY need NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles for the sake of keeping Natalya and Tamina on the champions’ list? One might think that there would be a better solution to this, but instead WWE trotted out two shiny new belts for a division which consisted of a bunch of thrown together teams whose matches now matter because they have championships on the line.
Titles certainly have a place in wrestling and for a very good reason. You need to know who the best wrestlers around are so you can know where someone stands. That is all well and good, but if you reach the point where a title has no more meaning because they have been run into the ground for one reason or another, no one is getting anywhere. WWE has hit that problem hard and they do not seem interested in making things any better. There is not exactly much that can be done given their situation, but it would be nice if they stopped hitting us over the head with it. Right now their titles are getting a bit of a new title: worthless.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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