The WWE got it right on Monday night when it put the Intercontinental Title on the waist of Big E Langston when he defeated Curtis Axel. In a move that was both needed and warranted, it opened the door for new feuds over the title and a chance to see if Axel really has a place in the company as a self-made man rather than a member of the Paul Heyman machine.
But with the change in titles, who faces the neophyte and will a solid feud come from a challenger? Personally, I think Ryback becomes the guy to make that move. Two big behemoths in the ring matching move for move. It could be what Mark Henry and Ryback were supposed to be earlier this year. Since Ryback himself is no longer a “Paul Heyman Guy,” how he reacts to a sudden bump in the food chain can only help him grow as a wrestler. Right now, Ryan Reeves is nothing more than a jobber and needs a place in the company before he becomes extinct.
But with the move to change titles on Monday on live television, what now becomes of Axel? He may not have gotten over with the WWE Universe as he was thought to be able to – but there may be some reason for that. He started out fast, winning matches over Triple H and John Cena and then fizzled out once he won the title on Father’s Day. For six months he walked around with a title to defend, but had no one to challenge him.
Countless attempts with R-Truth, Kofi Kingston and others failed. Dolph Ziggler would have had to carry a match with him and there really is no place for him in the singles division.
He won the World Tag Titles before with David Otunga – which put him on the map, I cannot see anyone else stepping up to be a partner with him in the division. So instead of making things a bit easier for the WWE, it may have in fact created a mountain out of a mole hill.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Langston move, but for the money, the company probably needed to think things through a bit.
Would a re-characterized Fandango (as Johnny Curtis) be the right man to team with Axel? Would he be the right man to challenge Langston? Maybe a Seth Rollins solo act would capture the title. And does this mean that if Axel lost the title on Monday, Dean Ambrose will soon drop the United States Title?
With the WWE changing stripes again, I also wonder if Langston is just a transitional champion and he and Axel trade the belt back and forth over the next two pay-per-view event. Tis the season of giving.
The Intercontinental Title used to be the second most revered title in the WWE. Tito Santana, Pedro Morales, Greg Valentine, The Honkytonk Man, Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage all held it and honored it.
The WWE is doing nothing of the sort and in a way, making a mockery of it and an embarrassment to what Vince McMahon Sr. did in terms of its prestige. Not only does the company need to find solid champions to carry the strap, it needs to find solid long-term challengers.
But most of all, show the title the respect it deserves.
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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