On last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Triple H unveiled a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The reasoning behind the belt’s creation was attributed mostly to Roman Reigns having it in his contract that he doesn’t have to defend his title all that often.
When the 2023 WWE Draft is over and done with, Reigns is going to stay on whatever brand he’s sent to, rather than being a floating champion, and he’ll take his title with him. The opposite brand will be given this world title and Night of Champions will be when that title-holder is crowned.
That’s all we know, other than what it looks like and that it has been referred to several times as the “World Heavyweight Championship.”
Immediately, outside of just judging the appearance of it (which I think is overall fine, but could use some major tweaks to make the text more legible and the logo to pop better), I started thinking of several questions I’m really going to need WWE to clarify:
What Are The World Titles’ Official Names Going Forward?
Remember how for a few weeks a couple years back, WWE kept referring to the NXT Women’s Championship as the NXT Championship, as if there was an edict to test that out? The names of belts matters.
Are we to assume this is the third distinct title to go by the name “WWE World Heavyweight Championship? As in, there’s the classic WWE World Heavyweight Championship held by people like Randy Savage and Bret Hart, which Roman Reigns currently holds. Then, there’s the Big Gold Belt title that Mark Henry, Chris Benoit and Booker T won, for example. And now, is this a third one with the same name? That seems pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?
What is the Title History Structure?
Is this a brand new title, or does it carry over the history of another belt?
When WWE had the Cruiserweight Classic tournament and brought on the new Cruiserweight Championship with the purple belt, they decided to forego continuing the previous continuity. Those title reigns from Hornswoggle and such aren’t erased from the history books, but for whatever reason, instead of just having this as “the belt was deactivated and then brought back when TJ Perkins won it”, it is a whole new title history.
Is this a new belt, or is this carrying over from the Big Gold Belt version of the World Heavyweight Championship, or the WWE Championship?
Since the look of it is more BGB WHC, it strikes me as following that. But I’m hoping that’s not the case. My hope is that this is the true WWE Championship continuing on, and Reigns is going to be holding just the blue-strapped Universal Championship.
Does Roman Reigns Get ONE Belt, or Will He Still Carry Two Straps?
But…Triple H said Roman is going to continue being champion. Now, technically, he said he would take “The Undisputed WWE Universal Championship” with him, and not “both championship title belts.”
I’m hoping this was just a poorly-worded way to say “Whichever brand Roman ends up on, he’ll keep that strap. We plan on having him stay on SmackDown, so that’s why this is the WWE Championship.” But that might not be the case.
It would be extremely weird if he’s still co-holding the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship as the Undisputed Universal Champion, holding two belts, and we have a THIRD world champion now, whether it’s a new lineage (ugh) or not.
At the very least, WWE needs to stop referring to it as the undisputed championship if he’s going to have one unified belt and just carry the blue-strapped universal title going forward. They’d have to revert back to having the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Raw and the WWE Universal Championship on SmackDown.
How Will WWE Offset Criticism of the New Champion / Make Them Not Seem Like They are Second-Fiddle?
The worst mistake WWE can make is to continue to have Roman as the “undisputed” champion (particularly with two belts), as it will in turn make whoever the other champion is seem like they’re less-than. You can’t be undisputed world champion who unified titles if there’s another world champion. Then, Roman should just challenge that person and hold THREE titles.
But even if WWE figures out the technical phrasing of all this, they still have to book this eventual champion to be worthwhile. That is a problem we’ve seen plenty times in the past.
Look at CM Punk cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, winning the WHC from JBL, and promptly being overshadowed by the other champion or non-title feuds. That just becomes a glorified Intercontinental Championship, then.
How is WWE planning on being consistent in pushing this new champion as equal to Roman, considering all the preferential treatment Reigns has gotten? Do you really think we’re going to see this belt main event over him, EVER? I highly doubt it.
If Roman is on any card like SummerSlam, he is likely going to main event. And if that keeps happening, then it will drill it in the minds of the fans that this title is the backup prize for people who are B+ champions.
This belt needs to main event one of the nights of WrestleMania. It needs to main event over Roman Reigns on at least one show, if not more than one.
Also, anyone who wins this is going to be viewed as “not good enough to beat Reigns, but good enough to be the next best thing.” For example, if Cody Rhodes wins this, that’s just flat out not as good of an end to his story than if he would have beaten Reigns at WrestleMania. It isn’t the same, and people will certainly view it as a consolation prize.
But then again, criticism for the champion is going to come no matter who wins it. If it ISN’T Cody, then people will complain “Why wasn’t it Cody?!”
Say WWE gives the belt to Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, or Seth Rollins. People might complain that they’ve already won it and there’s a missed opportunity to crown a new world champion and really make someone, like what they tried to do with Finn Balor and the Universal Championship.
But say they give this belt to a new guy like Shinsuke Nakamura or Karrion Kross. For the record, I don’t think that will happen, if anyone is misreading this as a prediction. There will be droves of fans saying they’re giving the belt to a midcarder and it already has lost its value.
WWE needs to make sure the next few weeks leading up to Night of Champions sets up the new champion to look as great as possible.
How Will WWE Go About Crowning the New Champion?
No further clarification was said about how they’re crowning this champion. All we know is that it will take place in Saudi Arabia. We don’t know if there’s a tournament that will lead to some grand finale, or if there will just be contender’s matches, or if WWE is going to arbitrarily announce some names.
That’s the worst mistake, I feel, is if WWE just says “and fighting for this new belt will be Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre” or whatever. Basically, “You know that these guys are main event talents. Shut up and go with it. We don’t want to put in the effort. Do your homework and be a good fan.”
But will it be a one-on-one contest? A Fatal 4-Way? Maybe the reason we aren’t getting King and Queen of the Ring is because there will be a whole tournament taking place during Night of Champions and that’s how they’re planning on doing it, with several matches like that…and kind of ignoring how Night of Champions should have every belt defended and this should have instead been called something like Gold Rush or even Clash of Champions?
Who is in the running for this? Austin Theory put his name in the hat. Is he eligible to contend for it, even though he’s already the United States champion? What about Gunther? Can anyone from NXT challenge for it?
I expect WWE has no plans to reveal this information until at least the Raw after Backlash, if not later.
How Will WWE Continue to Create Interest in Roman Reigns Feuds?
While everyone is focused on this belt, Roman will continue to just not defend his. Triple H even specifically crapped on how little we can expect Reigns to put his belt on the line going forward, in a way that felt strange to me.
I get the feeling that’s one of those situations where he’s saying exactly what he’s saying so he can always go back to it and say “I told you. Why are you upset?” As in, why would you be bitching and moaning that we haven’t seen Reigns fighting for a while when I flat out said the in-universe explanation was that his contract allows for it, but we have this shiny new toy you should be focused on instead.
A major, major downside to that is now, we know damn well Reigns isn’t dropping that title any time soon. Effectively, we might as well wait until WrestleMania 40 and skip a whole year.
WWE is not going to have this new belt designed, introduced, and a whole show revolving around it, just to have Reigns go “1000 days is good enough” and drop it at Money in the Bank.
Hell, side note, that means we can pretty much assume the MITB winner is going to cash in on this champion, and not Reigns, too.
So what do you do in the meantime? How are fans supposed to stay invested in Roman fighting challengers he’s either already beaten and will clearly beat again, or people who are not on his level and definitely won’t topple him, for the next year?
Even if you say “Tony, they admitted he won’t defend the title much. All WWE has to do is think of 4 or 5 people for him to fight at SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Crown Jewel, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania”, I still ask you how those matches will avoid the trap of “It doesn’t matter. Roman is going to win”, and how WWE is going to stretch out months of SmackDown going forward with no champion when it is even more apparent the difference compared to Raw having someone on every week?
Isn’t that just going to make SmackDown look like the go-nowhere show, wherein nobody would want to be drafted there because you are guaranteed not to have a chance at the title until April 2024?
Frankly, I don’t think WWE has bothered to think of answers to some of these questions because they just don’t care. But I do. And you should. So they should, too.
What do you think about this new championship? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
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