Dying Divisions
May 16, 2005 by Brian Bertrand

Since the death of the Invasion in 2001, the writers have killed off many divisions in the WWE. Very few of these divisions are revitalized to keep in balance of the other show in the "Brand Extension." With these titles gone, many fans were happy because it gave the main titles more of a stance within the WWE. The main advantages of some of these titles were to bring in more talent and to give variety to the roster.

The WWF Hardcore Division was among the first of its victims. With Rob Van Dam as the last holder of the simplest belt in the whole company, it became a legitimately brutal item to hold. Unfortunately, no one in that division, with the exception of Mick Foley and The Undertaker, were main event material. The main drawback of this title was the fact that the late Crash Holly, in a storyline of arrogance, had the title defended twenty-four seven. That made for some great television but it was stale the moment Molly Holly became champion. In my opinion, that was the biggest mistake in that title's modernized legacy. After that, the title was stale and the Hardcore Battle Royal was a perfect example of the joke of a title it became.

The WWF Light Heavyweight Title once brought out the younger talent that came up through the ranks of Mexico and Japan. Taka Michinoku was the poster child of that title and gave everyone something to love throughout the whole company. Many people from south of the border and the Far East have come out to the states just to become Light Heavyweight Championship that so many regarded as WWF's most legitimate title. During the title on its inaugural month, it looked a lot like ECWA's Super-8 Tournament that made so many people famous.

The WCW Cruiserweight Championship was more long term than the Light Heavyweight Title because the Lucha Libre crowd took focus on it since masked wrestlers like Psicosis, La Parka, Damien 666, and many other masked and unmasked wrestlers actually were under contract with WCW and were not held back with their abilities. They even let the luchadores have actual two-out-of-three falls, six-man tag matches (has happened a few times on Nitro) and that gave people a lot of interest in watching other Lucha Libre leagues like EMLL and AAA. In it's later days, WWE thought it would be cool if they took the Cruiserweight monicer and make it their own title because of name value alone.

The WWF European Championship gave European fans a reason to watch as they had their own champion. Unfortunately, the only champions that I saw that were actual European-residing citizens were British Bulldog and William Regal. No one else! What the main problem was with this title was that there was a lack of European wrestlers. This is where I think the WWE should have branched a European federation for that title so it can build up to getting the overseas talent in the spotlight. But then it would spawn more and more titles so I guess nothing could have saved this belt.

With these defunct titles already listed, it was fun for these titles while they lasted. The times have changed and have moved on from these belts and so has the fans.

Today, the downhill destruction of the titles that are currently being fought for on television today. The following are my opinions on which titles are being dramatically hurt and why. Hopefully these will enlighten the marks and hate-mail is extremely welcome.

The WWE Women's Title was the best thing to happen to WWF from 1984 to 1996 when Alundra Blaze (a.k.a. Medusa from WCW and Monster Jam fame) left from WWF and put the belt in the trashcan where it belongs and should have stayed from that day on. I like the fact that women are wrestling but the way the WWE is treating this title is pathetic. The only people competing for this belt are Lita and Trish Stratus and they're both injured. What kind of competition can we have if the champion and challenger are both injured? The biggest thing they need to do with this title should be to cancel the Diva Search, call up some of OVW's Women's Division or other indy feds, and rebuild that whole division because this is getting ridiculous. There is far too much T&A in the WWE and, from what I saw in the recent months; there are better women in the independent, Mexican, and Japanese circuits that have true wrestling talent as well as the looks that are just as amazing.

The WWE Cruiserweight Title: As noted earlier, this title has become a mockery of its WCW predecessor. The only thing star that is keeping this title afloat is Paul London. The 2003 ECWA Super-8 Champion is totally utilizing this title as if he won the WWE Title itself. Now all they need to do is look onto more independent talent to contend with London for the title. More Super-8 participants, perhaps? I would love to see guys like Puma or JJ Perez or Petey Williams (if he leaves TNA) jump to WWE to go after the Cruiserweight Division and make that a stable title once again.

The NWA World Heavyweight Championship was once the most prestigious title in all of professional wrestling. Some people say it still is. In my eyes, it's dwindled as of late. I understand the fact that back in the territorial days, wrestlers have been known to hold titles in a specific region for years at a time but that time is gone and people want to see title changes more often. With Dusty Rhodes resigning from his head of booking position, maybe the fans can get what they want. Another thing that would be cool is if they have the NWA Champion defend in other NWA companies. If the title changes outside of TNA, then the TNA fans should know about it. Get the whole NWA involved. That would be really good and would completely gain interest and money for Panda Energy so they can stay happy and not lost $20 million as rumored at various news sites.

I hope some of the new fans have a good perspective of what these titles have meant and what many people can still be talking about. If you would like to see how bad some of these wrestlers wanted these titles even though they weren't the big world titles that they dreamed of as children and then again as wrestling students. The defunct titles were given to wrestlers who lived out each of those divisions as their lives and not just as a certain way of wrestling. The titles that are going downhill aren't that bad, but they need some help and I think that my ideas might be something to look for in the coming months or years as time progresses.

by Brian Bertrand..

C Thomas wrote:
I couldn't have said it better myself about the belts. The Women's Title to me should just die already. I'm sorry, but having Trish as the flagship of the company and have no other quality wrestlers besides Lita to show for it is just not right to me. The WWE Cruiserweight Title to me is not a dying breed...i'm It just needs a lil help. The NWA-TNA's X-Division is a embodiment of what WCW Cruiserweight Division was when it first existed. For the WWE to capture that kind of exposure again, I guess, they're gonna have to give a leniency on the division itself. I always wanted Paul London to get a crack at the belt and since he has it now, I think it's time for Rey to go after the belt at least one more time after the feud with Eddie is over and have a high flyer's dream match against London. I have to disagree with you about Petey Williams in TNA. I believe that Petey's notoriety will be affected when he has to come up with another finisher besides the flip-pile driver (due to WWE's outlaw of the pile-driver). Other than that, the column was excellent man.
Jacob Khun wrote:
I have to say that I really liked your article. I think it shows the huge problems that have been going on in the topsy turvy world of pro wrestling. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me how the WWE and Vince McMahon continue to poorly promote titles such as the Cruiserweight and Women's Title. Most fans I know like cruiserweight matches, yet that belt hardly gets any attention. There are amazing women wrestlers out there, but WWE would prefer to make their women into sexual objects who humiliate themselves and the belt.

But, I digress. What I have to compliment you on is your ideas about the NWA World Championship. There is so much talent in wrestling that goes overlooked. With the many, many NWA organizations out there, they should be working together to bring the prestige back to the belt. The NWA champion does tour, but if he were to hit more and more independent promotions within the NWA, it would help independent wrestling. I am not sure how much it will help Panda Energy, but it will help the title itself and pro wrestling.

With WWE offering a subpar product for an overpar price, the sport is in danger. I am not sure what the independent scene is around the country, but it does well in Chicago. The NWA would do well to try and take advantage of this. I can't imagine any regional promotion not wanting to take part in the National Wrestling Alliance. It would give the NWA an endless resource of talent while bringing fans back to their local independents.

I still think the NWA Title is the most prestigious belt in the sport. The reason I believe this is that it is won and defended by wrestlers, not "Sports Entertainers." The belt is regaining it's status, slowly but surely. TNA is helping that. But it's up to us fans to continue and support non WWE product if we want it to succeed.
Brian Bertrand wrote:
I agree, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is regaining some status now that Jeff Jarret lost it to AJ Styles at Hard Justice. It's really good for him to regain the title and regain it as a face. But what I'm worried about is that it's probably too little too late as far as building it back up. It's a shame that now they just defend the title only on TNA and not at any other NWA promotion simply because TNA is the only promotion within that whole network of companies that is on Cable TV and Pay-Per-View as well as sindcation.

For WWE, yeah the Cruiserweight Division needs work and that's why they should call up more the OVW guys just so they can keep that going. For Women's Division it's a hard bargain. C Thomas, you said it perfectly, there are a ton of great women wrestlers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Japan that would go good with the WWE and not have to compete with them men, even though the option is there. Melissa Anderson, Princess Suhey, Tiffany, and Mariko Yoshida are prime examples of good women wrestlers that wrestle that I believe the WWE would benefit from.

Here's another title I overlooked...

WWE's Tag Team Divisions (both Raw and Smackdown): During the '80s and right through the Attitude Era, this division was right up there with the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in terms of importance and competition. But, thanks to that damned brand extension, not only did it separate the division into two parts, but it killed off a lot of the teams that actually were pretty good. The first of it's victims being The Dudley Boys. They were great until then. Ever since late-2002, this whole division started to dwindle out of existence and looking to be the same exact mockery that the United States title on Smackdown! is. WWE is desperately forming new teams and just giving them the titles for no reason (MNM). I did like when William Regal and Yoshahiro Tajiri won the Raw tag titles because they were legitimate wrestlers in their own forms of wrestling, Regal with his brawling and mat skills and Tajiri with his semi-puroresu/martial arts talent. After that it regained its crappiness again. But like C Thomas said, this title needs some help as well.
Jenny wrote:
I completely agree. It's a travesty that women's places have come to this in the WWE. I feel like there is a silent war that is trying to be kept under raps in the WWE. I feel like the real women wrestlers in the WWE are on some sort of strike because of the diva search. I honestly don't know what Vince is doing with this company. He's released 10 fricken wrestlers. Good ones. All he cares about is his Goddamn money. He released the Dudley boys even! I loved them. Everyone did. He's making terrible career choices I have to say. Watching girls doing mindless things in lingerie is good only for so long. I guess Vince believes that's all women are good for these days. How ignorant can he be? What happened to all my favorites? Trish, Victoria, Jackie. All released or "HURT". And not for the money even though Vince said so, but because their looks weren't as top notch as these divas bodies are. No wonder there's pranks going on backstage to the divas. Nobody wants them around. The WWE is violently going down. Vince here is a tip for ya: IF you want to save money, End the stupid DIVA SEARCH and the shit hole version of TOUGH ENOUGH! Maybe then you'll have enough money to rehire all the people that do something. I mean Jesus Tap Dancing Christ! If I were Randy Orton I would've crapped in a divas bag too. And YOU also shouldn't release women that have gotten pregnant. Like Dawn Marie. And you should get some new writers from what I hear. I wanted to be a professional wrestler. I'm still young; I'm wrestling at a school in Chicago. I used to hope to be in the WWE someday. But now that I see where it's going, I don't think I want to anymore. Unless serious changes are going to be made my dreams are history and probably a lot of other women's dreams. The only way I can make it now is by shaking my ass and answering stupid questions like "What's your favorite porn star?" I hope by the time I'm legal to drink the company has shaped up. But at this rate all I see are the same wrestlers on top and the same degrading crap being done to women. Mark my words, if I do make it to the WWE ill see to it that everything is set straight.


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