The United State of Championships
Analysis of the state of Championships in WWE and Wrestling as of right now, with a specific focus on the state of the United States Title.
As a Professional Wrestling and WWE fan in 2018, we are all too familiar with a whole host of championship belts that have come and gone. While this is part and parcel of investing into a form of entertainment that is so fragmented, it gets a little ridiculous when the behemoth that is WWE can have its own fragmentation in and of itself. This is especially evident when it comes to WWE's recent foray into introducing a multitude of new championship belts.
In the last two years alone, WWE has introduced the Cruiserweight Championship, the UK Championship, the Universal Championship, the Smackdown Tag-Team Championships, two sets of Women's championship, and right when we thought they were done, they've announced a North American championship, with even more rumors swirling concerning Cruiserweight Tag-Team championships being introduced after WrestleMania.
If all of that comes to pass then WWE will have a total of 15 different Championship belts. Now this isn't to say that having many championships in and of itself is inherently bad. Because if they were all managed right, then it could be. Even if everything went perfectly at all times, it's simply impossible to maintain so many belts and have them all maintain an air of legitimacy.
Think about it like this, according to the WWE, the United States Champion is Bobby Roode; but remember the Intercontinental championship technically covers South and North America. So does Miz override Roode? Do AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar override them?
Now, of course, we've had these contradictions for a long time, but imagine how disorienting it will become after the North American Championship is introduced at NXT Takeover: New Orleans. WWE will have three championships specifically denoting claim over the United States.
And of course, the trouble doesn't end there as New Japan Pro Wrestling have their own United States title. Obviously, these are different worlds, but it should fall on WWE to take into account the overabundance of people claiming to be champion of the Land of The Free. Because at this point it really does seem like the land is free for anyone to say they're the champion of it.
The real problem here is that these belts that we are seeing are indicative of a long-term issue in WWE programming that is arbitrarily granting meaning to that which does not contain any. The UK Championship, as of right now, is considered on par with the NXT Title in terms of the wrestling brilliance that it brings forth, as it should be, due to the efforts of Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne and all who have challenged for it.
However, when WWE are already struggling to keep the US and IC titles relevant, how do they expect to deal with a third claim to The States, and allow fans to buy into the fantasy?
At the end of the day, that's all we want to do as pro wrestling fans. However, right now it's come to the point where it's easier to become Champion of 'These United States' than a Citizen of it.