Former WCW Executive Vice President, Eric Bischoff, has spoken out about how WWE can make their main roster championships feels important once again.
It has often been a criticism of WWE in the past decade that the gold their talent holds means nothing. Quick changes, questionable storylines and champions that bring little to the prizes have all been attributed to decline of such straps as the WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships.
However, Eric Bischoff believes he has the perfect remedy for WWE. Speaking on his 83 Weeks Podcast about Starrcade 1991, the former Raw General Manager began by mentioning how well the WCW United States Championship was booked as a stepping stone to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, much like the WWF Intercontinental Championship was to the WWF Championship in its prime:
“We often hear about belts meaning something, that’s a general criticism I’ve been hearing since 1987. One of the ways that making a championship mean something is the establishment of structure that creates a journey. The journey is a big part of the story. I think when you have the structure of a US title being the last step to the ultimate prize, that inherently creates a lot of story, structure, potential. Without it, it’s just random.
Matches are made randomly, the stakes as a result are kind of non-existent. I’m a firm believer that you can’t go back to the way things used to be, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some elements of what worked in the past that you can’t adapt to the current product to enhance it.”
It has often been said that the man shouldn’t make the title, but the title should make the man. This has been the case with some of the biggest in wrestling history such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, who were automatically enhanced upon their capture of WWF’s second most important title.
However, Eric Bischoff believes there is room in the present for bigger stars such as Roman Reigns to place importance on the championship he holds. As Eric explained, to make belts important in the present, he would like to hear how much they mean to those that hold them:
“I would love to hear a Roman Reigns, I’m not sure if he’s a heel or a baby face at this point, but what does it mean to him personally to be [WWE Champion] from a financial standpoint that people can relate to? Things like that are important. They resonate with the audience. I would like to see structure and relatable stakes and discussion as to why does anyone really care to be World Champion.
The average person can’t relate to the fact that if Roman Reigns wins the world championship he gets a really really big touring bus as a dressing room. They don’t relate to it. That’s a perk, tell me about the money man. What does it mean to your life, your children, why is it so freaking important to you? I don’t often hear those other things articulated, it’s just ‘Oh, he’s the champion.’ So what? It means he’s going to be on the pay per view every month. Oh, okay cool.”
Arguably, WWE have taken steps in the past year to make their titles feel more special by placing them on stars who mean something to the audience and in storylines that often make headlines. Drew McIntyre and the WWE Championship have grown together in stature and importance, while a once unloved WWE Universal Championship is the most important prize in the company around the waist of a exhilarating Roman Reigns.
Credit for the interview: 83 Weeks Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.