Saturday 15 September 2012

Making the Intercontinental Championship Awesome

Making the Intercontinental championship mean something doesn’t seem to be a priority for the WWE creative department at the moment. It should be though. When booked well the IC title can help to elevate talent and spark exciting feuds.

I’ve written many times before that the title has been neglected for a long time. It hasn’t been a concern for the company for the better part of a decade. If that were to change they could find it useful for helping to highlight the new talent that will be heading to the main roster over the next few years.

The current champion is The Miz. While I’ve never really liked former world champions holding mid-card belts in any promotion he’s a good fit for the role. His status as a former top dog will help to make the title mean more and he’s good enough in the ring to be able to work good matches with the majority of the roster.

‘The Awesome One’ will defend the belt against three men at Night of Champions. All are featured performers who routinely appear on RAW and SmackDown. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that WWE treats the championship and its holder well. They don’t. A storyline was devised for the IC champ because the company wants it defended at NOC.

If the title is going to prove useful in the future then a good idea for the writing team would be to draw up a list of men currently on the main roster who could work enjoyable feuds with ‘The Awesome One’ for Intercontinental gold. Personally I’d go for Christian, Alex Riley, Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel.

As the man Miz beat for the belt ‘Captain Charisma’ is a natural choice for a feud. It seems that he’s been brushed off quickly as a challenger but that could easily be reversed with a single segment of TV, establishing that Christian wants to earn a rematch for the title.
Can this man make this belt mean something?
Alex Riley strikes me as a boring, uncharismatic worker, but WWE audiences tend to disagree with me. Watch any televised A-Ry match of your choice and the chances are that he’ll get a good pop when he enters. Fans seem to like him and he has a natural storyline with The Miz waiting for him because of their previous mentor-student relationship. He’d be a good choice for a month-long feud.

Justin Gabriel is a very good worker who tends to receive good reactions from crowds. It shouldn’t be too taxing for the writing team to construct a feud between him and The Miz. The starting point could be as simple as Gabriel pinning the champion in a tag match. That would earn Gabriel a title match which Miz could win via cheating to spark a series of rematches.
Something similar could be booked with Zack Ryder, although that would be easier to write as ‘Long Island Iced Z’ is already a popular guy and knows how to enhance a feud via the internet.

The point is to pick four guys and have a storyline and feud ready for each of them. Miz could then blast through them one by one, each programme lasting at least a month and going on longer depending on how well it’s received. Four opponents should take Miz through to the Royal Rumble at least.

When the third feud begins plans should be made for a fifth involving a name from NXT. Making that decision a while in advance allows time for the competitor to be written off of NXT and prepared for a spot on the main roster.

My choice would be Seth Rollins. He’s a naturally likeable guy and easily ready for calling up. It could just as easily be Big E Langston, Richie Steamboat or any other babyface wrestler in developmental.

The night after his feud-winning clash with rival number four (on pay-per-view, natch) Miz could be booked to cut a promo on RAW bragging about how nobody can defeat him for the Intercontinental championship. An open challenge to the locker room would be issued, answered by the NXT call-up, who would shockingly defeat Miz in a competitive match.

Miz would have elevated the title with a lengthy reign defending against a variety of opponents. Fans should by this point care about the belt as more than just an object. The NXT call-up would receive a memorable debut by not only defeating an established star but winning a championship and ending a long reign too.

Miz would be freed up to head back to the top of the card and challenge for the world title again and the newcomer could follow the same pattern as The Miz, only with heel opponents instead of faces. The belt would mean more and could be used to help progression. Wouldn’t that be… awesome?

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