On Sunday December 15, 2013, during the TLC pay-per-view, WWE decided to unify the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship. Though the wrestling promotion touted it as one of the greatest events in its history, I believe it was a mistake.
Not too long ago Daniel Bryan was the World Heavyweight Champion. For anyone whom watches wrestling, you know that he is not the archetypal champion. Dolph Ziggler held the same exact championship and he too was not the typical champion of days past. Even Alberto del Rio didn’t fit the mold of the archetype champion. One can even go back to the days when Edge was the holder of the title. He may have had the height, but he surely didn’t have the bulk. In between all those reigns, we cannot forget the reign of Rey Mysterio. To get to the point, the World Heavyweight Championship was the championship that the WWE didn’t mind taking a chance with and giving it to someone that didn’t fit the prototypical mold.
Sure, in the 1990’s we were given Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart as WWE Champions, but those two had mic skills, wrestling ability and “the look.” They were perfect combinations. And yes one can bring up the first ever undisputed champion, Chris Jericho, who also did not fit the mold, but all of these men had to have a combination of skills that the archetypal champions could lack.
Diesel wasn’t the fastest man in the world, Sycho Sid couldn’t mat wrestle like Daniel Bryan or CM Punk, and even though he could pull of an over-the-top rope dive and a walking of the ropes, even The Undertaker lacked a bit when it came to in-ring wrestling. In short, the big men have always been able to be more flawed than the smaller wrestlers. And with a championship being taken away, non-archetypal wrestlers will now have even less opportunities to win a championship.
I enjoyed the fact that someone like Daniel Bryan could hold the World Heavyweight Championship while the likes of Big Show could be holding the WWE Championship at the same time. Heck, I was glad when I saw Mark Henry win the World Heavyweight Championship. Again, though he is one of the “big guys,” how much of a chance would he have been given–and was given–to win the WWE Championship.
As I stated before, I believe that the WWE is making a mistake in eliminating one of the championships. The examples given were mainly of non-archetypal wrestlers winning titles only because there is a second one, but even deserving big men such as Mark Henry and Kane may not see another title reign in their career due to the elimination of the World Heavyweight Championship.
In the end, only time will tell whether this title unification will hinder the non-prototypical wrestlers of today and tomorrow. Time will also tell if the unification of the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship is even a permanent one to begin with. More importantly, the WWE will find out if the move truly was good for business.