What if I told you that you may never see the WWE World Title around the race of a Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose or even Roman Reigns? What if I told you the stars in the company are there to tease and please you and give you a false sense of hope, would you believe me?
The fact is the WWE doesn’t have enough belts to go around and has too many wrestlers they make main event talent. John Cena may be the biggest draw in the company, but when he wrestles the likes of Seth Rollins, or Bray Wyatt or Ambrose, there is no chance of a cross over because the chase is too important to the storyline and the company.
Bob Backlund chased Bruno Sammartino. Barry Windham chased Ric Flair. Until he won the title, Daniel Bryan chased Randy Orton.
Maybe the best example of this is Verne Gagne’s use of Hulk Hogan when he first came to Minnesota.
After Gagne’s retirement in 1981, he focused the promotion on Nick Bockwinkel, a loyal employee of several years who was a mat-wrestling technician like Gagne had been. Bockwinkel faced numerous challengers for the title during the early 1980s including eventual champions Rick Martel and Otto Wanz, former champion Mad Dog Vachon, and perennial contenders Wahoo McDaniel, and Brad Rheingans, but perhaps his most famous opponent would be Hulk Hogan.
Starting in 1982 and accelerated by a role in the hit film Rocky III, Hogan rapidly caught on as a babyface with AWA fans, and became the AWA’s top draw. But even as his popularity grew to unprecedented levels, Gagne refused to make him the AWA World Heavyweight Champion, as Hogan was a powerhouse wrestler. He recognized Hogan’s showmanship and charisma and was well aware of his potential drawing power, but still believed a wrestling company should be built around one of its best technical wrestlers (e.g., himself and Bockwinkel).
On the Spectacular Legacy of the AWA DVD, Gagne denied bias against Hogan and defended his actions by reasoning that he believed that Hogan’s pursuit of the title was the draw for the audience and that “we really didn’t need him to be champion”.
Other wrestling promotions used that same kind of tactic with popular wrestlers – Junkyard Dog, Butch Reed, Ricky Morton – to prove their popularity as a bridesmaid made them more popular, that the man chasing the title holder was “white hot” and was better served in that capacity.
Today, that theory has not changed. Dolph Ziggler will never be a WWE World Champion again and if Rollins cashes in his MITB contract, he may not achieve the success of winning the title – which would be music to the WWE’s ears because then his failure leads to a another great story angle.
Who is to say that upon his return to the ring, Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble (a foregone conclusion) and wrestles Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, only to lose and then chase the champion until another man is chosen to do the honor?
It’s like it’s 1982 all over again.