Welcome to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s jump right to…
THE MAIN EVENT
In my column last week I mentioned that I thought Kofi Kingston’s title reign has been a success thus far based on my definition of what a successful title reign entails. Today I’ll be looking at defining a successful title reign according to the elements that I base it upon.
Longevity, to me, is one of the key elements when considering the success of a title reign. Longevity shows that the company trusts you enough to hold a major belt for a prolonged period of time. I must admit that I absolutely despise short title reigns as it devalues a championship belt. Would you rather have one long title reign or multiple short ones? I sure as hell remember JBL’s ten-month World Heavyweight Championship run way more than any of Roman Reigns’ World Championship runs. The WWE needs to stop having short title reigns just so that a certain superstar can increase their number of titles held. This does way more harm than good. Clearly WWE have never heard the saying “quality over quantity”.
One of the only ways a title reign can be memorable is if it lasts a while. For me personally, if I had my way, I’d have a champion hold onto the belt for no less than five months. That is a lengthy period of time in modern day WWE. I just don’t get short title reigns at all. Unless a title reign is short for storyline purposes I just don’t see the point in it. Nevertheless, longevity is imperative to a successful title reign.
Probably the most important aspect of a successful title reign. Imagine winning a title and then continuously losing (hi Rey!). This trend of first time champions whom WWE don’t have faith in being booked as champion needs to stop. If you book someone as champion then book them strongly. A champion is supposed to be the best wrestler/toughest guy in their respective division. Therefore, if they’re constantly losing non-title matches it doesn’t really portray them as what they’re supposed to be. A champion is one that never loses and so should WWE’s champions.
Constantly losing non-tiitle matches is a sign to me that a) WWE aren’t taking whomever is champion seriously or b) WWE has no faith in the wrestler they booked to become champion. Credibility is the lifespan of a champion and if they’re always booked to lose non-title matches then that credibility flies out the window. Look at Kofi Kingston as a good example of a credible champion. He has won match after match and I think he only lost MAYBE a handful of matches (at least a couple being tag team matches). Kofi Kingston’s run as WWE Champion is the exact module to follow when factoring in the win/loss ratio of a champion.
Title defenses – and how they are booked – are extremely important for the success of a title reign. It would be ideal if champions wrestle the best matches on the card but this is not a perfect world and that is not always the case. However, I believe that every title match should be treated like a big deal. That makes the title feel like a big deal too. Titles are supposed to be the reason why people go on their wrestling journey. With that being said; it makes perfect sense for wrestlers to go all out for title matches. Unfortunately the lesser titles don’t get the same amount of respect as other titles do and that finds wrestlers phoning in their title matches.
Good to great matches is what every title reign needs. Memorable matches equates to a memorable title reign. I’ll never forget John Cena’s over-a-year-long title reign where he amassed quite a gallery of good to great matches. From winning the title against Edge in a TLC match through a classic Last Man Standing match against Umaga to a good match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 23(remember their RAW fifty-seven minute classic?) and an underrated match against Bobby Lashley. I bet that even if a five month title reign had great matches in every title defense it would be more memorable than a year-long title reign with two great matches. However, great matches go hand in with…
This is the cherry on top when it comes to a successful title reign. Beyond having great matches during a title run it’s quite possible that memorable feuds takes the cake when factoring in how successful a title reign is. Yes, memorable matches are highly regarded in a title run but it’s the feuds that can make those matches even more memorable. There are those who rate story over quality matches and you can’t blame them. A truly great story can make a passable match a good one through the strength of the storytelling on display.
Memorable matches counts for alot and great matches are remembered for years and years. However, it’s those memorable moments in fantastic feuds that are the stuff of legend. The more memorable moments a title reign has the more fondly that run is remembered. Kofi Kingston is now only involved in his first real feud of his title run but I believe that any title reign that WWE wants to stand out should hit the ground running with a memorable feud from the get go. I think that will really set the pace for what’s in store and get fans excited about a championship reign.
When you put all these elements together there is no way that a wrestler should fail as champion. Well, unless they’re not over of course. You will be hard-pressed to find the perfect title reign but by following the above criteria I don’t think it would be that hard to try. By following these rules for a title run the wrestler benefits more than anything and the title actually becomes what it was always meant to be: prestigious. Prestige hardly exists in WWE with the way they book their titles. And without champions and championships looking good their titles will always lack prestige.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What do you guys think about my criteria for a successful title reign? What do you take into account when defining a successful title reign? Please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also pop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.