WWE News: Major shake-up with the WWE World Championship, name being retired
WWE has changed the name of the top SmackDown Live title
It has been five months since WWE decided to split the brands after a five-year hiatus. While in theory, this has been exciting and refreshing; it has been lacklustre in practice. During the previous split, names such as Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, and Edge benefited from the brand distinction, each becoming world champions.
Presently, perhaps the biggest beneficiary from the split has been Kevin Owens, as he became the second holder of the newly-established WWE Universal Championship. This move has made him a bonafide main event name, with the assistance of the veteran Chris Jericho.
Since the “Universal” name is tagged to the Raw championship, it only made sense to associate a similar name to the SmackDown Live main title. Hence, the “WWE World Championship” name stayed with that belt. However, it appears as if this will no longer be the case. WrestlingINC reports that WWE has officially changed the WWE World Championship name on the website to simply to WWE Championship.
It is also named the “WWE Championship” in the description of the title lineage.
The WWE Championship is widely recognized as the most historic championship in WWE.
Dating back to 1963, the WWE Championship was first awarded to Buddy Rogers after he defeated Antonino Rocca in the finals of a tournament in April. Since that time, the biggest names in the business have held the title, including Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
It is quite an odd move, as it makes one wonder the certain priorities discussed in executive meetings. While it did make sense for the WWE Championship to have its name when it was a separate entity from the World Heavyweight Championship “Big Gold Belt”, merely taking the “ term "world” away from it does dilute the stature of it being such a world-level championship.
Still, some people criticize the “Universal” name. Daniel Bryan too made fun of what it really entails.
While this issue is not as major as the overall product as a whole, it does seem a bit pointless to spend so much effort in changing the name of a championship. Perhaps, “universal” will be removed as well, but that is highly unlikely.
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