Maybe the hardest sell in the title unification match between Randy Orton and John Cena at the TLC pay-per-view this month is not the match, itself. The provision of one man holding two titles works, but what happens after the titles are unified? And if (and this is a big if) John Cena is the face of the WWE to align himself with The Authority, can we accept Randy Orton as a face again when we so desperately wanted him to turn heel in the first place?
In other words – the idea is a great way to get the WWE back in the social graces of its fans, but the method of its process may be lost on the newer generation.
When Chris Jericho defeated The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the undisputed WWE Champion, it did more to eliminate the WCW brand more than anything. This is a situation where the need to focus on one championship and provide more attention for the Intercontinental and United States titles.
A union of the belts also makes brand relevance obsolete.
The first two prominent unification of titles in the U.S. were done by Nikita Koloff. In 1986, he unified the NWA National Heavyweight Championship into his NWA United States Heavyweight Championship by defeating Wahoo McDaniel, and in 1987 he unified the (Mid-South) UWF Television Championship into his NWA World Television Championship by defeating Terry Taylor. In both cases, the unification process was started by Nikita’s home promotion, Jim Crockett Promotions, upon absorbing another promotion (Georgia Championship Wrestling and the Mid-South UWF, respectively), and in both cases the titles from the absorbed promotions were abandoned.
And the one that I most remember involved Kerry Von Erich and Jerry Lawler.
AWA World Heavyweight Championship and the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship were unified to create the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship at SuperClash III, when the AWA World Heavyweight Champion Jerry “The King” Lawler defeated the WCCW Heavyweight Champion Kerry Von Erich. The WCCW World Heavyweight Title was quickly abandoned, and later the AWA stripped the AWA World Heavyweight Title from Jerry Lawler.
It was Von Erich’s last chance at a shining moment before he moved on to the WWE and began his downward spiral and ultimately led to his committing suicide.
If the WWE is going to make this work, then the progression cannot be quick. Can the WWE Universe accept Orton as a face again, a wrestler who was backstabbed by The Authority? Can Cena immediately gain approval from the fans with his sudden change of heart? How will Cena and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon work together as a faction? How does Cena essentially having an entourage with him effect his character since he has always been a lone wolf?
And most of all on everyone’s mind, how will this effect his relationship with Nikki Bella, how does this effect a potential angle with Daniel Bryan later on and will it pit Bella vs. Bella at one point?
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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