The Bucs Fan
In an era where winning is everything and everybody wants to be the best at everything and everybody wants to share in the profits of success, it seems that there is now a championship for everybody. For example, in college football you used to be able to count the number of bowl games on one hand. It was an honor to compete in one. Now, however, any team with an ounce of talent gets to compete in the prestigous Gallery Furniture Bowl or the Slashwrestling.com Bowl. It means nothing.
Wrestling is no different. It used to be a World Champion, Tag Team Champions, and that was it. Then came a new creation: the secondary title. A title for guys who weren'y quite good enough to make it to the World Title level yet. A good idea at first, but like the bowl games, it got carried away.
WCW used to do a great job keeping the value of their secondary titles up. While former World Champions would never compete for the Intercontinental title in the WWF, in was not considered a big step back if a wrestler such as Ric Flair or Dusty Rhodes captured WCW's United States Title. The Cruiserweight Title had a clearly defined role in the company. It was the equivealnt to Dinision 1-AA, if you will. They guys that had talent, but lackedthe size to compete for the top prize. Even the Television Title was subject to heated rivalry, at times approaching the level of the U.S. title.
Meanwhile, in the WWF, the Intercontinental Title was different. While the U.S. title went to the lowest of the main eventers (with some obvious exceptions) or guys who were going to be main eventing soon hopefully, the IC title went to the highest midcarders, many of which had little chance of advancing past that position. Albert, Chyna, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Val Venis are all people to hold the title in the last three years with little chance of moving to the World Title level.
Despite this, the WWF still saw reason to create another title, however. Thus, the European Title was born. The TV title on WCW was a title for midcarders to feud over. I guess that is what the Euro title ideally would be equivellant to. However, the IC title already fills that role. So the Euro title to this day, 4 years after incarnation, still has no clearly defined role in the company.
The WWF Hardcore Title is to the WWF what the CW title was to WCW. It is for tough guys who have talent, but for whatever reason just aren't World Title contenders. The value of this title varies, and right now could be considered to be in an upswing.
But the fact remains that the WWF continues to show main eventers as being way above these titles. The following former WWF champs went on to hold lower WWF singles titles after their World Title reign: Triple H (Intercontinental, lost it to another former World Champ, so didn't even elevate anybody in the process), Kane (Hardcore, IC), Undertaker (Hardcore, doesn't even seem to take the title seriously), Big Show (Hardcore, lost to former World Champ Kane), Shawn Michaels (European, biggest joke title reign I can remember) and Kurt Angle (10 second Hardcore reign, WCW United States Title under WWF control). Only Kane did anything to elevate the title he held.
On the other hand, former World Champions such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Sting, Goldberg, Booker T, Sid, Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk held the US title and never seemed out of place. Lex Luger held the TV title after being world champ.
A big part of this is WCW's insistence that the US title holder is the de facto "#1 contender". Another reason is that, until their later years, WCW made even secondary title changes a big deal.
Regardless of the reason, the WWF can learn a lesson from the old WCW. They can make their titles seem like the Orange Bowl to the World Title's Rose Bowl, rather than the Gator Bowl it plays now.
TheBucsFan's Top Ten Worst World Champions Ever: