Championship Rankings 2013, Part 2: Runners Up

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A couple of weeks ago on Raw an ascension ceremony was held to commemorate the last time that with WWE and World Heavyweight titles would stand separately. For this segment the ring was filled with every former world champion that they could gather: current stars and a few legends all together at once. This collection of wrestlers represented both the best and worst of WWE’s world title history.

This assembly of talent got me to thinking, now that we have a WWE World Heavyweight Championship (WWEWHC) what chance do any of these men of ever holding it again? I have gone through and evaluated all of these former champion’s future potentials in a series of editorial posts. As always feel to express your opinions on my selections and synopses.

Part 1 covered the best and brightest of the contenders. Part 2 is a little further from the mark. Former champions who have failed to hang with the top dogs and a few who probably shouldn’t have even made it that far. The truth can be harsh.

Part 2: The Runners Up


Rey Mysterio


Age: 39

WWE Champion (1)

World Heavyweight Champion (2)


Rey Mysterio made his name first as the man who helped bring lucha libre style to prominence in the USA. After nearly two decades in the business he is now best known as the greatest underdog in wrestling. These accolades have brought a number of title runs to the masked man and he enjoys a special relationship with the fans, especially the younger ones. In terms of world title pedigree Mysterio has had a mixed bag. Most of his reigns have been short, including his less than one day as WWE Champion. Given his age and latent health issues I cannot envisage Mysterio ever becoming world champion again. That is not to say that his golden days are behind him.


Mysterio’s has more recently been used to lend his veteran talent to the tag team division. He spent months tutoring Sin Cara and has now dabbled in teamwork with on again / off again BFF / Nemesis The Big Show. You simply cannot deny that this current role suits his career at the moment and he still gives it everything.

Ranking: You had a good run.

Dolph Ziggler

Age: 33

World Heavyweight Champion (2)


Dolph Ziggler really hasn’t had a good run at world champion level. His first reign, if it can even be called that, lasted less than a week. He was handed the title by (biased) Raw General Manager Vickie Guerrero only to lose it back to Edge. Fast forward to 2012 where he won the WHC Money in the Bank briefcase to rapturous applause. This led to him cashing in on Alberto Del Rio on the Raw after Wrestlemania 29 in 2013 to rapturous applause. His reign was disrupted by a Swagger induced concussion and he ended up dropping the belt at his very first defense of it. The people were not amused. At least his short feud with Del Rio gave us a rare double turn – Ziggler turning face and Del Rio turning heel over the course of a single match. Since then he has challenged Dean Ambrose for the US title (unsuccessful at every attempt) and has recently come close to being the number one contender to Big E Langston’s Intercontinental title on a couple of occasions. Still no title matches though. As 2013 has progressed Dolph has gotten further and further away from championship gold. I usually don’t like to indulge in rumours of backstage politicking but it certainly feels as though somebody is putting the brakes on Ziggler’s hard earned momentum.

Ranking: So close but so very far away.

Jack Swagger


Age: 31

World Heavyweight Champion (1)

Jack Swagger falls into the “never shoulda” category of world champions. While I applaud the WWE for trying something new this particular experiment didn’t just fail – it crashed and burned. In fairly short order the man went from World Heavyweight Champion to being beaten consistently by Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. Earlier this year he had another chance at possibly climbing the mountain as a reboot of his character. The Real American schtick works better than it has any right to. But, alas, fate would get in the way. Nobody can say for sure whether he was going to win the WHC at Wrestlemania 29 but he sure as hell wasn’t going to after being arrested for possession.


He has found his second wind as a tag team competitor and in this role he might actually make a name for himself. Swagger holds his own in the ring when paired up with the Swiss Superman Antonio Cesaro which is no mean feat. He has all the wrestling ability to be a legitimate champion but his hamstrung by the complete lack of reaction he receives.

Ranking: No chance. You got no chance in hell.

The Miz

Age: 33

WWE Champion (1)

The Miz presents an interesting conundrum to the title scene. He has been a WWE champion, even headlining Wrestlemania 28 against John Cena, which always leaves the door open to getting there again. Over the last few years he has settled well into his character and he plays it to the hilt. But then on the other hand there has been his entire career since losing that belt. He has had to wear some embarrassing losses, and he now spends much of his time as a presenter or commentator. His recent feud with Kofi Kingston may not have been groundbreaking but it keeps him on our screens. At 33 The Miz still has a number of years left on the clock so we should not count him out yet. A few good high-profile feuds could easily put him in the running for a WWEWHC title shot.

Ranking: Possible, but the top of the bill is a long way up.

Sheamus

Age: 35

WWE Champion (2)

World Heavyweight Champion (1)

Sheamus had a great 2012 and a weak 2013. In just a year he went from winning his first WHC in record time at Wrestlemania 28 and defending it ad infinitum against Alberto Del Rio. Since being dethroned by The Big Show the Celtic Warrior hasn’t done much. AT least his limp feud with The Shield earlier this year did a good job at making the youngsters seem dangerous.

The series of nasty bumps he took at Money in the Bank this year has put him on the sidelines. His recovery schedule seems to align with an appearance at Royal Rumble ’14 so lets assume that is going to happen. But at this juncture what does he bring to the table? I expect Sheamus to have an unsuccessful attempt at taking the WWEWHC from Orton, filling the role of former champion who can’t get it done any more.

Ranking: Not great, but he has all the tools to get it done.

Christian

Age: 40

World Heavyweight Champion (2)

After more than a decade in the business, Christian won his first WHC at Extreme Rules in 2011 after it was vacated by Edge’s shocking retirement. The victory was to be short lived as he lost it to Randy Orton the very next week. Their back-and-forth over the belt was great work from both men. Since then Christian has fallen completely out of the world title scene and into protracted bouts of injury time. Every time he comes back hot only to be felled once more by his aging body. I fear that at age 40, Captain Charisma may never get his one more match. Even still he held the Intercontinental title respectably in 2012 and he has put on good shows with some of the young lions. We must also not forget that Christian is the only one on the active roster who has held a world title in TNA. We have learned to never say never when it comes to the crafty Canadian.

Rating: Increasingly unlikely, but I would love to see one more match.

The Great Khali

Age: 41

World Heavyweight Champion (1)

And here we have a catastrophic failing in the creative booking department. The Great Khali stands as the former world champion least deserving of his reign since David Arquette. It is hard to believe that he used to beat people like The Undertaker, Ric Flair, and Batista. Time has not been kind to Khali. He currently occupies a station only slightly higher than jobber status. With an increased focus on larger than life superstars expect to keep seeing Khali on TV but we will never see him at world title level again. All is not lost though. Vladamir Kozlov shared a similar fate but still wrangled a tag title reign out of the rest of his WWE tenure.

Ranking: …

So now that we have had the good and the bad, next must come the ugly. There are always wildcards in the title scene. Part-timers and semi-retired stars have done very well the past few years. In recent memory we have had good showings from Chris Jericho, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Triple H, Rob Van Dam, and next year promises us Batista. And then there is always that nagging question; would they dare give the top prize to The Undertaker one last time?

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