Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stop Undermining Titles

Kofi Kingston jobbing to Dolph Ziggler last night was the latest in WWE's offenses against titleholders
Photo Credit: WWE.com
In this past week's episode of Game of Thrones (I'm totally obsessed, I know), Tywin Lannister was having a stern talk with his son, Jaime, about the family legacy and why he was so concerned with things he shouldn't be concerned with. Anyway, the conversation steers towards why Tywin was so concerned about his impish son being held prisoner by another family. I'm paraphrasing here, because I can't find the exact quote anywhere online right now.
Soon, I'll be dead, so will you, so will everyone, but the family name? The legacy? That's what lives on, that's what needs to stay strong.
It's an a propos quote, but what does it have to do with wrestling, since it's clearly not Thursday and I wrote about GoT last week? Well, all you have to do is substitute wrestler names for the Lannisters referenced and "Championship Belts" for family name and you've got something that sticks in my craw. You know from 2+ years of reading The Wrestling Blog that I've always hated when Champions get booked poorly. I even wrote rules for that sort of thing back over a year ago.

Granted, a lot has changed with my outlook on wrestling since then, and I've softened on a lot of my "hardcore smark" points of view. However, one that I didn't go limp on, and one that I'll probably never turn tail on likely, is that Championship belts, and in turn Champions, should be kept strong and should mean something. I've come to understand that the most important thing in pro wrestling is to tell a coherent and entertaining story, wins, losses and the like be damned. However, the Championship belt? Yeah, that is the best storytelling device in all of wrestling. Seriously, they provide easy storylines, ones that can be modified or have devices added to them to enhance them. They also are pretty much the biggest piece of the "sports" side of the proceedings. They're pretty much the thing that preserves kayfabe (even in an era where it's broken repeatedly) and they're the most commonsense thing that binds a wrestler to a wrestling company.

With all that in mind, that's what makes it so maddening that Kofi Kingston drops matches like he's a 1990 Superstars jobber, or when Jack Swagger or anyone else holding the World/WWE Championship loses in a non-title match without all that good a reason other than "that's how we booked it". When a Champion loses a match willy-nilly, then it takes the specialness out of the decision when he finally drops the title. Who cares about the title if the guy holding it loses all the time? Like Tywin said in the paraphrase above, just as the Lannister name is longer-lasting than any person wielding it, the same is true for Championship titles.

Yes, there are wrestlers who are or become bigger than Championships they hold. However, in most cases, the title belt should be something that, because it's bigger and more long-lasting, that can help enhance the guy holding it, and thus enhance the story being told through him and the guy or guys with whom he's feuding. It's not rocket science.

To continue to make Kingston drop matches with the title not on the line or to keep making matches where a guy gets a shot at a Champion by beating him in a non-title match is so short-sighted and it takes a viable story off the table. There are plenty of other ways to build up a title feud without throwing away the long lineage and potential power that a Championship belt brings to the table. WWE Creative, and really, all other wrestling companies too (I've seen this booking run rampant in TNA and creep up in other indie feds like NWA Hollywood), would be wise to be a bit smarter with their booking.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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