I like many people watched WWE Night of Champions last week on PPV and I like many people witnessed Jeff Hardy winning the World Heavyweight Championship from CM Punk. While I like everyone else have my opinions on the match the one thing that I took away from it was that Jeff Hardy was now a 3 time world champion. 3 times, this is the guy who 8 months prior had won his very first world championship after having competed for 15 years without even being considered a main event wrestler. Yet here he is 8 months later and decorated as a 3 time world champion all the while the WWE hypes it up as if it was his very first reign and I started to ask myself when did being the20world champion stop meaning as much as it did when I first became a fan. Why is the world title so diluted? You?re reading ?Wrestling Rumblings?.
I just want to compare and contrast eras because you have to understand 3 world title reigns was a big deal when I was just becoming a wrestling fan. It meant you were in a very elite group. Back in the 80’s you only had 10 men in the history of the business who had won the title 3 or more times in their career (Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Verne Gagne, Harley Race, Mad Dog Vachon, Nick Bockwinkel, The Crusher, Dusty Rhodes, Giant Baba and Lou Thesz) That’s a pretty strong list of who is who from back in those eras and the sad thing is that’s when being a world champion in my opinion meant something yet who in this era knows of The Crusher, Mad Dog Vachon, or even Giant Baba? If I tell you The Crusher was great in his day winning 3 world titles and 9 world tag team titles today’s fan is likely to tell me about Edge who has already won 9 world titles and 14 World Tag Team Titles. However todays fan is quick to forget that it was just less than 4 years ago that Edge hadn?t even won his first world title. 9 world20titles in 3 and a half years should that be admired or ridiculed?
We always put Ric Flair up on a pedestal for being a 16 time recognized world champion (by my count its actually 20) and well his career spanned over 30 years. Granted he didn?t win his first world title until 1981 but if you take into account that he worked another 27 years after that than that would mean he won a world title about every year and a half. This is the man who everyone is measured against yet HHH who has been on top for 10 years exactly this August has already exceeded that pace winning a world title every 7 months since first becoming world champion. I just mentioned to start the column that in the 80’s we had 10 guys who in their whole career at that point were 3 time champions and it should be mentioned that out of those 10 names only Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair would go on to win another world title in the 90’s so this was it. Now come 2009 if you happen to count the ECW title as a world title throughout its whole existence (including the Eastern days and the WWE days) and we have 41 wrestlers. Out of those 41 wrestlers 20 wrestlers are full time active stars in either WWE or TNA. Want to see some more fun math? In the 80’s w e had 4 wrestlers who would be considered 4 time world champions throughout the duration of their career? 4 wrestlers that is it here in 2009 we have 22. I could give you the numbers all day and every way possible till you click another article so I will just make my point does the world title even mean anything anymore?
I understand that times are different and we have a PPV every month and TV ratings are so important but at the same time does a wrestler really have to win 5 world titles in a year (Booker T) will it hurt things that much more? Do we really need 3 sets of world titles in WWE? Granted I don?t consider the ECW title to be a world title in my opinion but I do know there are many that do and well one thing that fans always complain about to me is that WWE has no midcard and my simple response to that is everyone who could contribute strongly to the mid card is considered a main event guy in WWE and would put themselves above competing for a mid card title. Rey Misterio and Chris Jericho are the exceptions to the rule. If you combined that roster you wouldn?t have Jeff Hardy already winning his third world title or CM Punk coming off of his fourth. They would probably still be in the mid card and while I am not saying that I want to see them in the mid card what I am saying is that title reigns need to be spread out so that they can be appreciated. I mean there are 22 guys on the Raw Roster if you continue to count the ECW title 8 of those guys have been a world champion at some point in their career. If you become the world champion in anything it should be considered the pinnacle of your career. Mick Foley once likened it to a lifetime achievement award it shouldn?t be reduced to a prop and yes I know we are in an era where men like Vince Russo, Vince McMahon, and even David Arquette can all count themselves as former world champions but that is no reason to let the meaning of titles deteriorate any further. Every wrestler on the card should strive to be the best and yes they should strive to become world champion but every wrestler on the card should not be winning the world championship every other month otherwise what did they really accomplish? It used to be that you respected and admired a wrestler who just made it there like Tommy Rich or Stan Stasiak despite the miniscule lengths of their title reigns because just getting there was an accomplishment. In today’s age if you haven?t already won the world title 4 times what have you done?
Forgive me for the rant I just would like to see guys hold titles longer and not have everyone race to break Ric Flairs record. What made Flairs record special was not that he held the title so much but that others held it so few. If everyone is a multiple time world champion no one is truly special and everyone is just the same and equal and if everyone is equal who stands out? Not a single person if you ask me.
On that note we are going to wrap this week’s column up as usual if you like it or hate it let me know. I have to say even though it was such a cheap subject I got a lot of great email on the Karen/Jeff/Angle situation last week and I am very anxious to hear your thoughts on world titles being passed around like hot potatoes. Would you stop watching wrestling if wrestlers had longer title reigns? If yes than I would like to hear why your emails may get printed here in a future column. Of course that email is firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it for this week next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.