Welcome one and all 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 get right to…
THE MAIN EVENT
Screw winning the World Championship? I mean, as great as that accomplishment sounds, would you be able to deliver in that role? Would WWE allow you to thrive in that top spot? Would you be booked as a credible champion? Would you be able to carry on the momentum you had when the fans were behind you, craving for you to win the big one? Could you handle that pressure? Not many can. Nor are many allowed to flourish in that top spot. Is your true time in the spotlight when you chasing that title, then?
It’s difficult to say for sure. But based on my almost twenty years of watching WWE it would be hard-pressed for me to say that WWE knows how to book strong champions. The only time they’re able to do so is when they’re high on a certain wrestler. And even then it could be argued that they’re booked too strongly. Strange, no? But that is just the way the WWE operates. In my column last week I defined the elements I consider vital to a successful title reign. But before the title reign comes the chase, something that is just as important as the actual title reign itself.
You see, the problem in modern-day WWE appears to be that they don’t know how to capitalize on momentum built when a challenger is on their journey to capturing a World Title. We’ve seen it way too many times where a wrestler is super over when they’re on their way to winning the big one and crowd is firmly in the palm of their hands. The adulation and the pop that they get when they finally grab that brass ring has to be the greatest feeling ever, and in a wrestler’s mind they’re thinking that their time has finally come. But yet, after they win that title the crowd slowly starts to lose interest in them and the volume of their reactions lessen. It’s quite an interesting development that has happened alot over the years.
Granted, this is not the case for all wrestlers. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and The Rock all experienced a crowd fully invested in them when they were on their way to their first World Championship win. Yet, when they won the title they actually became even more over than what they were during the chase. Perhaps it was their personality, generous booking and entertaining feuds that caused them to become more over as champion whereas the opposite is currently the case in this day and age.
It’s very confusing that a wrestler is so over when chasing the championship. But when they finally reach the level the fans want them to be at, it appears that the interest wanes. Could it be that the most exciting part of a wrestler’s journey is chasing the title and the fans only support the wrestler because they want them to complete that journey? That could very well be the case. Kofi Kingston was super over when he was challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title but when he won it his appeal gradually decreased. This is most likely due to the nature of modern-day fans whereby they lose interest once a story reaches it’s climax. And this without allowing their interest to flow over to the fallout.
But in the event that it happens that way then the onus is on WWE to create an entertaining title run in order for the wrestler to keep their momentum. Hell, with the way the fans lose interest these days it would be plausible for a super over act to immediately turn on the fans once they’ve used the fans’ momentum to gain a World Championship. That would put WWE two steps ahead of the fans and not give them the chance to become dissilusioned with the guy they wanted to become champion. What a fickle bunch we are.
It could also be a case of WWE waiting too long. The problem with WWE is that in recent times they are unable to strike when the iron is hot. Look no further than Dean Ambrose. In 2016 he was arguably the most over guy on the entire WWE roster and fans were foaming at the mouth for him to become champion. He failed at that year’s Royal Rumble but that only gave the fans more reason to cheer. When he faced HHH for the WWE Championship at Fastlane his popularity reached a crescendo but WWE did not capitalise on that and decided to go ahead with their original plan. By the time Dean Ambrose finally won the title it was too late. The damage had already been done and the fans didn’t care that much that he was able to win the title.
For all the years WWE has been in operation it’s surprising that they still make the most basic of mistakes. But yet it happens on a regular basis. Because of their lack of vision it’s actually better suited for eighty percent of babyfaces to rather have their moment in the sun during the chase than actually winning the gold because sure as hell WWE will find a way to ruin their momentum. Summer of Punk, Daniel Bryan facing Kane after his iconic win at Wrestlemania 31 and Randy Orton losing his match against HHH after his win over Chris Beonit at Summerslam 2004 are but a few examples of WWE’s inability to capitalize on momentum.
Yes, sometimes the pressure can be too much for a wrestler to carry the weight of the gold. And yes, they most certainly have to keep the fans entertained with their actions in order to maintain the fans’ investment from the time of the chase. But with that being said, it’s also WWE’s responsibility give their wrestlers every tool available to help them carry on the momentum that they’ve gathered during the chase. As entertaining as a wrestler can be, without the proper booking support they’d never be able to satisfy millions of fans.
The chase sets the tone for the would-be champion, but what follows when the championship is won can make or break a career.
Thoughts On Clash Of Champions Results
(P.S: I am yet to watch the show but below are my quick thoughts on the match results)
1. I fully expected Strowman/Rollins to lose the belts here to add more animosity to their Universal Championship bout. I must admit that Roode/Ziggler is quite an odd pairing.
2. I’m surprised that Charlotte lost in such quick fashion. It looks like they’re painting Bayley as the opportunistic heel. I doubt this feud is over. Far be it from the queen to accept such an embarrassing defeat.
3. It made sense for The Revival to win this match using Woods’ injured leg against him. I hope this reign of The Revival gets proper booking as I don’t see what people were going on about when they were in NXT (I haven’t been watching NXT). They just seem like a joke to me on the main roster.
4. I’m happy that Bliss/Cross retained the titles. The Womens Tag Team Championships have a very thin division and I’m hoping that the champions can at least bring some quality into the division.
5. Another odd pairing in Zayn/Nakamura. I hope Nak has a nice, lengthy reign with the belt as he definitely needs the belt, that’s for sure. I highly doubt that this feud is over. Miz will surely win that belt in the near future as his journey to becoming the undisputed greatest I.C Champion of all time is nearly complete.
6. I love Becky Lynch but I think Sasha should have won this match. After coming back with all this hype and her not winning the title, or the post-match fight, kind of makes her return meaningless. Fans are into this Banks turn and WWE should not be killing her momentum so early into her heel run. This feud is not over yet and I have a sneaky suspicion that Sasha will be the one to dethrone Becky, most likely in a gimmick match of some sort. Hell in a Cell perhaps?
7. This should have been the main event as Randy/Kofi had an actual feud for the title. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Orton won the title here but I’m glad Kofi’s run is still alive. I can’t say for sure if this feud is over yet but I do believe that if Orton gets another shot he is taking that belt from Kofi. Either way I will be shocked if Kofi is still holding the gold after Survivor Series. I am, however, highly enjoying his run as he is doing good by the WWE Championship so he is having a very prestigious title reign.
8. Bludgeon Brothers reunion? Well colour me surprised. That was certainly an unexpected development. Rowan is definitely going into a cell with Roman, whether Harper and Bryan is involved remains to be seen.
9. Rollins was definitely not losing here, but at least Strowman was kept looking strong. Although, you have to start noticing that for all his monstrosity, he always comes up short when challenging for a World Championship. I’m very interested in the Rollins/Wyatt feud and I’ll be keeping a close eye on how it plays out.
Despite not knowing the match quality, this show seems worth a watch and I’ll be doing so in short order. Some interesting developments happened at this show and the fallout has the potential to be interesting.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. Do you think chasing the title is better than winning it? What can WWE do to ensure that the challenger stays over when completing their journey to the top? If you watched COC, what were your thoughts on the show? Please leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can pop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.