Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Enhancement Talent

As the current possessor of the Money in the Bank world-title-shot-whenever-you-want-it contract Seth Rollins is guaranteed to be in at least one world title match over the next eight months. The smart money is on him using that match against a newly crowned Roman Reigns at WrestleMania (or the night after). Whenever he cashes in the likelihood is that he'll win the championship. It's not a certainty but the statistics of previous cash-ins and his standing indicate he'll be successful.

With this in mind WWE have in Rollins someone ideally positioned and suited to help in the rebuilding process of the Intercontinental championship. Years ago the IC title was something WWE protected. It was the championship the younger guys moving up the card would win. It was the championship contested in faster, more athletic matches that weren’t like the slower, more brawling-heavy bouts that went on last. Winning the Intercontinental title was something that generally marked a guy out as either a future big name or a workhorse who’d put on great matches. Or both, of course.

Increasing the prestige of the Intercontinental championship is clearly something the promotion currently wants to do. Having Dolph Ziggler hold the title is part of their plan. He's popular and he matches all the criteria above. Getting rid of the World Heavyweight championship was also done in part to increase the relevance of the IC strap. Over the years the WHC had become the rising star's title. Look no further than the reigns Daniel Bryan and CM Punk enjoyed with it for proof of that: they were textbook second tier reigns, designed to highlight guys who weren’t deemed ready for the main event but were ready for a prominently featured spot just below it.

Whack a belt in his other hand and he's away.
Rollins is currently at the ideal level for a “traditional” Intercontinental title reign. Guys destined for the top of the card would get the title at the stage Rollins is as now to give them a final bit of polish before they won a world title. This was done to show that they were progressing but also to keep the title looking important for the mid-card guys that held it. Not everyone holding the IC can or should go on to be a world champion, but by holding the same title that a world champion once held the guys getting left behind (a less than ideal term, but it’s essentially what happens) look like they’re holding something of greater value.

WWE could do far worse than having Rollins defeat Ziggler for the title between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. Leaving it on him until the New Year and letting him make lengthy defences against guys who can work a fast match would enhance the title. And let’s be clear, there’s plenty of TV time for Rollins to have those lengthy matches. It would also give Rollins something fresh to do and further cement him as The Authority's anointed one.
It would be a boon for someone like Ziggler or Bad News Barrett to win the title from Rollins, particularly if it were a clean victory. It would do even more for the title's perception if it was won by Dean Ambrose. The championship would come off of Rollins looking more important, potentially lifting it back to its former glory, and giving WWE another useful tool for making some of those desperately needed new stars.

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