Going into Wrestlemania this past weekend, there were rumored plans in the works to increase the credibility of WWE’s two “mid-card” titles; the Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship. Just as the rumors told, the titles ended up around the waists of top stars Daniel Bryan and John Cena. The question now is will WWE follow through with this title credibility plan and if so, how will they do it? Monday’s post-Maina Raw shed some light to begin answering these questions.
Monday on Raw, we saw plans for the titles move forward as both were defended in exciting, action-packed matches. The opening contest of the night saw newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan defend against former champ Dolph Ziggler. The two competitors put on an almost flawless match with Bryan getting the win, and the fans left on the edge of their seats wanting more. Later in the night saw John Cena issue an open challenge for his newly won United States title, which was answered by former (and record-setting) United States champ Dean Ambrose. These two battled in an intense back and forth contest ending with Cena picking up the win. Cena commented after the match stating “I am proud of this championship, and I want to give it the meaning and equity it deserves.”
WWE showed its fans on Monday night with these great matches that the two titles are back on the radar and giving them star power with match quality is a priority moving forward. Now can they keep this momentum going?
For a long time, the Intercontinental and United States titles have had their credibility almost vanish as the result of poor storylines and often unentertaining matches. The Intercontinental title was once a pathway to greatness helping build such stars as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and Chris Jericho. The United States title in its own respect was a building block to future world champions such as Dusty Rhodes, Booker T., and even John Cena. What happened to the days when these titles meant something? WWE seems to be once again seeing the value of the two championships and is moving forward to bring them back to the prominent position they once had.
Heading into Extreme Rules later this month and on through to Summerslam, I will be watching this title situation closely. The positive fan reactions WWE has received post-Mania should be a sign they are heading in the right direction, only benefiting Intercontinental and United States titles.