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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Best title in the WWE
November 24, 2006 by David Baldwinson


The best and most competitive title in the WWE right now is not John Cena's WWE title, nor is it King Bookers world title, and no, it's not even Big Shows ECW title. It's the Intercontinental Championship. Now the IC title has always been one of the most prestigious titles in the WWE, and a lot of great WWE champions started out by winning that title. (See Triple HHH, Austin, Benoit, e.t.c). This year has been one of the best years for the IC title in a long time, as competition for it has never been better, and the people fighting for the belt are some of the most athletic and talented wrestlers the WWE has to offer.

Currently Jeff Hardy is the champ and he's is doing a fantastic job with the belt. He is unbelievably over with the fans, and after having a few shaky weeks upon his return in the summer, he is now turning in consistently strong matches with his unorthodox and high risk moves. His current rival for the belt right now is Johnny Nitro, who is about the only good thing to come out of Tough Enough (sorry Al Snow). Since Nitro came over to RAW last spring, he has significantly improved his in-ring ability and reassured the WWE's decision to give him the IC title. He is the perfect opponent right now for Jeff Hardy because he is about Jeff Hardy's opposite. He's not a risk taker, he's a cocky pretty boy, a boy can he get heat. Out of all the current IC division contenders, Nitro probably has the least amount experience, but he works hard and he and Jeff hardy have been having unbelievable matches throughout the fall, exchanging the IC belt on several occasions.

Before Jeff Hardy's return to the WWE, there were three guys continually battling back and forth for the IC title. They were Nitro, Shelton Benjamin and Carlito Cool. Shelton was the champ at the time, (he won it off of Flair in February and traded back and forth with RVD in March and April) and had been a great champ. Shelton is considered by many to be the most athletic wrestler in WWE and he backs up that claim by doing moves in the ring that leave people in disbelief. Carlito had just turned face and was getting tremendous reactions from the crowd. Carlito also possesses great athleticism like Shelton, showcasing his unique moves and entertaining the fans with his great mic skills. Add in the cocky and talented Nitro to the mix and those three were turning in unbelievable matches every week. This climaxed in a triple treat match for the title at Vengeance that saw Nitro shockingly win the match and the belt in one of the best matches of the year.

Those four wrestlers are still in the hunt for the belt, but there's more company now with Super Crazy coming to RAW and Masters returning. Those two have been in the mix the past few months and both had their own skills to the division. Super Crazy is one of my favourite wrestlers to watch, and his in ring abilities are tremendous. He is one of the few people that can have a good match with almost anybody. Masters is the muscle guy out of all the IC competitors and his in-ring ability continues to improve each week and he should soon move from a bit, to a main player in the hunt for the IC title. Add in the Spirit Squad members once they split up, Kenny and Johnny have been giving huge pushes lately and could easily fit in the IC race, and Nicky and Mickey also show great potential. Finally and probably the biggest addition to the IC race soon could be the undefeated Umaga. He has been demolishing every opponent he has faced and it's a mystery why he has not gotten a shot at the IC or even the world title. Once he finally loses a match, he would make a scary presence in the IC division.

No other major title right now gets the kind of competition or has the talent that the IC title does. With the three big titles having such small amount of competitors, the IC title has emerged as the toughest belt to get. I have a feeling that the superstars mentioned in the IC division right now could become the class of the world title divisions of RAW, Smackdown and ECW in the next couple of years.

by David Baldwinson ..


Charlie Eccles wrote:
Awsome article man, just one quick question. Do you live somewhere where your showings of WWE are delayed" I only ask that because it has been a while since we have sen supercrazy and Masters in serious matches. I do agree with you on everything you said about crazy, he sould have a better push i feel. I can see Umaga facing Cena at the rumble, so I don't think he is going to be in that scene for a while. Now that I have my oppinion said, awsome job man, keep it up.
Adam Taplin wrote:
Although I agree that the Raw mid card has been more exciting and certainly less predictable than it's main event this year (it generally is to be fair), I can't agree that the wealth of competition has made the challenge for the IC belt any more exciting than usual.

As mentioned, as is generally the way in wrestling, there has been more competition for the IC belt than for the main strap, but it is the way that the talent is used that makes for an exciting programming. Unfortunately, despite there being 5 or 6 guys with a realistic chance having the belt put on them the WWE have not put any depth in the storylines. All we get every week is a triple threat match or fatal four-way for either the title or the number one contendership. Although these matches can be entertaining (if sometimes rather sloppy and poorly worked) there's no back story or fued progression involved to really put the characters over.

Perhaps it's something to do with the majority of the competitiors not having the mic skills to cut decent promos (i.e. Nitro, Benjamin, Super Crazy or even Hardy) but the WWE has not made the the competiton interesting.

Only recently have the WWE tried to put on a programme with some sort of fued between Hardy and Nitro, which has resulted in a ladder match which was probably one of the best TV matches of the year. In my opinion, this has as much to do with there being a back story as it does how the match was worked. If the WWE was to build fueds with other wrestlers (for example, use the history between Carlito and Masters) the division would continue to improve.

To sum up, yeah the competion is there, but it needs to be used correctly if the IC belt chase is to remain entertaining.
Ty Ty wrote:
I agree with your column. The IC race is the only title left with competetion (The ECW world heavyweight title has too but since its the only title in that brand, thats expected) But too add, at any time i feel that Raw wrestlers like Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Edge, HHH, HBK, or even Charle Haas could go into title contentention on any given week. Right now i have much more respect for Jeff Hardy then i do for Cena because Jeff actually has a threat to his belt. Plus on a side note, Benoit might soon have to face Kane soon and i would love to see that happen.
Ben "The Beef" O'Keefe wrote:
I totally agree with you the Intercontinental Championship hunt is unbelievable. The last time I saw competition like this was the triple threat between Chris Beniot, Chris Jerico and Kurt Angle on April 2, 2000. Nitro/hardy story line is great but i want to see carlito back in the seen, amazing match i agree between nitro, carlito and benjamin. Story line could not get any more feious next step, Falls Count any where or maybe a totally new Match somthing not thought of any where like the inovation of the T,L,C match.but we'll just have to wait and see.
Conrad Hall wrote:
I've got to strongly disagree here - the WWE Championship is THE title. Throw around personal factors, number of defenses, etc. But the fact is, John Cena is holding the biggest title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world and that is the WWE Championship. The names that have held the title are pretty much legendary (Hogan, Savage, Flair) and in lesser cases (JBL, Brock, Cena); well-known . In fact, the Intercontinental Title hasn't had much done with it recently. Right now, RVD and Benjamin have actually had a storyline, albeit with the promos, it was harder to get into it than if someone more comfortable was on the mic. But right now, it's just being tossed around in matches, Nitro just wants to be champion because...wait, there's not much of a motive. I get that he doesn't like Hardy, but for the past 2 months that they've been going at it, there's been no other motive than "I want to be champion, so I'm going to beat this other guy up." Frankly, the US Championship has even had more flavour. From the Best of Seven Series which had a very good switch with Orton that raised so many questions and made the belt look like the WHC at that time, to the current Guerrero/Benoit storyline. It was slightly stagnant in the summer, but it's heating up again.

It's just so average, so plain, so...boring in my view. The matches have been ok from my point of view. Nitro has improved in the ring, we'll see if Mercury is still more stable than him soon. But other than that, there hasn't been another storyline integrated into the IC Title since Backlash, and then from that, Flair/HHH. I wouldn't mind this if there were other storylines on Raw that had some personality behind it, but that's not happening outside Rated RKO/D-X. Now, there's no point in asking for a storyline on par with Razor Ramon and Shawn Micheals, that was a negative turned into a massive positive in a storyline that was so simple, yet so effective. All I see is just a list of names that are decent midcarders, and one possible main eventer if used correctly in Carlito.

Even now; asking anyone wrestler in the WWE if they rather be the Intercontinental Champion or the WWE Champion, I think the huge majority will want the WWE Title, regardless of if it spins or what it looks like - something that people REALLY need to get over because it's the same freakin' title.

The amount of historical characters and storylines and the matches that the WWE Championship has been the centre of, and associated with trumps the Intercontinental Championship easily.
Antonio Lopez wrote:
Exactly. There is so much crap going on with the titles. Because there is so much crap going on with the regular titles. If they would stop worrying about who is getting pushed and looking the best on tv. The Intercontinental Title is the only one thats taken seriously today. Now take that and mix in the Us Title and we've got a good reason for wrestling.
Brandon Bradley wrote:
all the promotions say there world title is the beast in the sport but there is know answer because everybody thinks what ever, i think all promotions shod drop there world title and leave it for boxing or the ufc. be case wwe has the wwe title ,tna has the x division title ,roh has the pure title and ex. to me i think the most popular title is the wwe world title since Batista got it.
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