Depreciating Asset: The Intercontinental Championship - Wrestle Newz twitter google

Depreciating Asset: The Intercontinental Championship

WWE

The IC title is in a crisis and has been in one for quite some time. Formerly, a glory belt in the WWE reserved for future stars and main eventers, the IC title has largely become a gross afterthought to anything happening in the midcard. Despite its history, its lore, its tradition, and the great matches that were contested for it, the IC title has little value anymore.

The main culprit behind the depreciation of the Intercontinental Title has been the total disregard for the belt when scripting shows. Neither the champion nor the title are allowed to shine on WWE TV. For example, let’s take the Beat the Clock challenge on Raw that preceded Hell in the Cell 2013 by a few weeks. On this episode of Raw, CM Punk defeated Curtis Axel in less than 5 minutes. Less than 5 minutes. No champion should lose to anyone in less than 5 minutes. None. Here’s something that the soap opera writers who are in charge of scripting raw may not understand: in the pro wrestling world titles are supposed to mean something. The champions are supposed to be strong characters, who the audience can see being at the top of a division, and thus they should be written that way.

curtis axel2Champions should not lose with alarming regularity. It devalues the title and the division because if the uncrowned king(s)/champion of the division are fairly flimsy and weak, what does that say about everyone else? Champions should not be handily defeated at every turn, the way that Axel has been in the past few months. Sure, he’s beaten some people on the lower level shows and on PPVs but he hasn’t been booked as a credible midcard champion. If you wonder what a credible midcard champ would resemble, look at Dean Ambrose. While this treatment of Axel may be a ploy to highlight Heyman’s importance as a manager–excuse me “advocate”– (he swoops in and resurrects a declining wrestler) that would be fine with someone who doesn’t hold the IC title. I’m not wishing that we could go back to the days of Macho Man and UW where the IC title was almost on par with the WWF/WWE title because that’s impossible, but can we go back to the days when the Rock and Triple H held the title with pride and the title was a legitimate feeder belt to the main event scene?

CodyRhodes-IntercontinentalChampion4_display_imageTheir current treatment of the IC title and its champion mimics the years-long behavior that prompted the WWE to admit on screen that the title had lost much of its luster before Cody Rhodes’ long IC title reign and his accompanying switch to white leather for the belt. And to be honest, this is not just something that has been endemic to Axel. Earlier in the year, the belt was swapped between holders like somewhat of a trading card, with Wade Barrett (won’t get started on his misuse, but after his impending warm reception in England, you can expect to hear something about it) and the Miz exchanging title runs, with one of those title reigns lasting only a day. After all that Cody did to bring some prestige and respectability to the belt, the WWE subverts it with that and now this. Cody held the title for almost 8 months, making it desirable and a true commodity. Now, the IC champion has become largely a glorified Main Event jobber, (again) not necessarily a rising star. Sure, Axel’s had the title for over 5 months, hinting that maybe they’re trying to strengthen the belt again, but it’s hard to strengthen a belt when weakening the person wearing it.

Challengers for the Intercontinental TitleDoes the WWE even consider the IC title to be a real championship anymore? Do they value it or see it as an ornament? I know that they think that belts are largely vehicles to get people over, but their treatment of the IC title and its holder betrays that thinking. The WWE seems to care very little about the IC title, (regardless of who wears it) and that’s a shame. This is yet another instance where the WWE has tried to build the credibility of the belt only to switch directions midstream; let’s remember they had Rey Mysterio, JBL, and Jericho all drop back down to the midcard to wear the belt, long after those men had solid reigns with a World title. Its history should dictate much better treatment for the champion that spawned a generation of greats.

Making the belt valuable again isn’t too hard. Have someone chase the title for a few months, attach it to a wrestler who has momentum, allow the champion to gain hard-fought wins on weekly shows, make the champion credible, just do something other than making him lose frequently or making him swap it often with competitors. (Miz and Barrett) Maybe having writers who understand the history of the belt would bring about the change needed to re-legitimize the belt. Or better yet, once the belt’s legitimized, don’t undercut it. Honor the history of the belt with good writing for it and better treatment for its champions.

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  • KingBack

    I think a good choice as IC Champion would be Ziggler.
    He is not to big of a name to have it (like Orton, Cena, Punk etc..) and people would at least
    care about him.
    I would love to see IC feuds like Ziggler vs Christian, Ziggler vs Miz or my favorite Ziggler vs Barrett.

    • D.M.T

      Ziggler already held the IC Title once or twice and he didnt bring prestige back to the title. And Christian is too good for the IC Title, he shouldnt feud with someone to win the IC Title for a 5th time. Christian should be feuding for the WWE or World Title.

      What WWE needs to do is allow Cody Rhodes to win back the IC Title and let him defend the IC Title against his brother Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust at WM XXX. Or they can allow Cena to win the IC Title next year to make the title seem important again.

      • KingBack

        Ziggler wasn’t as big of a name as he is now when he held the IC Championship
        so of course he didn’t bring in any prestige.
        It’s like saying that Cena would not bring prestige to the US Championship now because he already held it in the past where he wasn’t as big of a name as he is now.

        Christian feuding for the WWE Championship or WHC? Are you high?
        He had the chance at SummerSlam and guess what? The feud sucked so bad.
        Christian is not a big enourgh draw to be in the world title picture.

        Cody and Goldie doesn’t need a title in their feud but I like the idea of them feuding over the title since it would bring some prestige back to it.

        • D.M.T

          If Ziggler wins the IC Title now he still won´t bring much prestige to the title. Sure he´s a bigger name now but he´s still very, very underrated.

          No i´m not high but you´re on crack for being a Ryback fan. Christian has more talent in 1 finger than Ryback has on his entire body. Christian´s feud with ADR sucked because of the writers, not because of Christian dumbáss.
          Christian is not a big draw because he´s underrated by WWE management and not because he isn´t good enough.

          • KingBack

            Christian is not the guy people pay to see and he sure as hell
            doesn’t sell a lot of T-shirts either = not a draw.
            Christian is a mid-card guy. Nothing more.
            A heel Christian vs Cena for the WHC could work but I doubt it’s going to happen.
            You can clame the writers all you want but Christian and ADR should also take some blame for it.
            Christian is not A+ and he should and will not be WWE Champion ever.
            Ryback is talented but is booked very bad.
            Just look at how over he was before turning heel.

          • Abudadein

            FYI: I just purchased a Christian t-shirt this morning and hope it gets here in the next few weeks. I plan to wear it to my wife’s workplace Christmas party.

          • KingBack

            Good for you.
            But take a look at a WWE crowd and how many Christian shirts do you see?
            Ohh yeah… That’s right.. Two or three.

          • Abudadein

            Make that four, as I’ll be at the Vancouver house show in December wearing it proudly, while holding my Captain Charisma sign high in the air.

          • JMD

            has christian even been spotted lately? is there a missing person’s poster for him?

            i like him, hes a nice talent, his “one more chance” angle was nice…but while he got some interest, it was middling at best. if Edge and Christian were this era’s Rockers, then christian is marty janetty.

            though, on the bright side for christian, he enjoyed far more success than janetty ever did.

          • D.M.T

            – Casual fans who don´t care about wrestling pay to see untalented douchebags like Cena. Real wrestling fans pay to see great wrestlers like Christian.

            – Christian is a midcard guy and Ryback is a main event jobber, nothing more. I rather be midcard than a main event jobber

            – Heel Christian vs Cena will definitely work because it already happened in 2005. Heel Ryback vs Cena won´t work because Ryback sucks lol.

            – Writers and ADR are to blame, Christian isn´t ad that´s a fact.

            – Your a stupid WWE mark, look at you using words like A+ to describe Christian. Christian is better than 90% of the roster and that´s a fact.

            – Ryback is not talented, he can´t wrestle and can´t cut a promo. Casuals cheered him because WWE told them to cheer for him but no one really cared about him and that´s why they turned him heel.

            – Maybe Christian won´t win the WWE Title but Rybotch won´t even win the Tag Team Titles because he sucks.

          • KingBack

            You’re so damn ignorant. Haha!
            WWE told fans to cheer for him? WWE can’t control who fans wants to cheer because if they did.. everybody would be cheering for Cena.
            Get your facts straight dumbass.

          • D.M.T

            Actually, WWE can control who casual fans wants to cheer, it´s called Marketing dumbáss. In Marketing, you have to know what the fans like and what they want because that´s the easy way to convince them to buy your products. WWE has been controlling casual fans like you since the 1980´s. But as a business man you need to remember that you can´t control everybody and that´s why there´s a minority of people in your fanbase that can´t be controlled. WWE can´t control the hardcore wrestling fans but they can control casual sheeps like you.

            Vince McMahon once said that the reason why WWE is so successful is because he KNOWS what most people want and what they want is a larger than life personality at the top. They don´t care if that larger than life personality can´t wrestle at all, they will still cheer him and buy his t-shirts like the sheeps they are. Vince has tried to control the hardcore wrestling fans but he can´t and that´s why Cena is booed, because the minority hates Cena. Harcore wrestling fans = minority.

          • KingBack

            And Vince is right.
            Guys like Cena, Hogan, Stone Cold, Rock etc.. are larger than life characters.
            Christian don’t have what it takes to be the top guy. Period.

          • D.M.T

            Politics is the reason why Christian is not larger than life. WWE can make Christian a top star in WWE if they want to but they don´t want to support him. Its all about advertisement, all they need to do is change Christian´s gimmick and advertise him as one of the greatest superstars in WWE but they don´t want to because they don´t like Christian´s looks. Christian is a skinny guy and Vince knows that casual sheeps like you love steroid freaks like Ryback and that´s why WWE doesn´t push Christian. Vince knows how great Christians is, he knows how talented Christian is but that´s not enough for him. Christian is good enough, it´s just that WWE management wants to keep him down, they want Christian to shine. Casual fans like you will never understand this, you´re the reason why WWE sucks.

          • KingBack

            You’re the type of guy that blame all your failures on other people instead of looking at yourself.
            Christian is not larger than life and he don’t have the ability to be. Period.

            There is so many other guys on the roster than are miles ahead of Christian.
            Guys like Cena, Orton, Punk, Bryan, Henry, Lesnar, Kane etc..

          • D.M.T

            So now you act like you know me personally, all the sudden you know what type of guy I am even though we’ve never met and never will. Shut up if you don’t know what you’re talking about because you sound like a dumbfúck.

            Christian has the ability to be larger than life, period. Everyone with a brain knows this, bubbleheads like you don’t.

            You need to learn to think for yourself, don’t let WWE tell you who’s talented and who isn’t.

          • Abudadein

            Abdullah the Butcher has more talent in one bloody, masking taped-wrapped foreign object than Ryback has in his entire body.

          • D.M.T

            Lol true that. He has the nerve to talk crap about Christian when Ryback can´t even cut a good promo lol. What an idiot.

  • Macho Man

    As one who grew up in the glory days of the Intercontinental Championship I find it sad and pathetic that it has been pretty much relegated to a second class championship. I remember the IC Title being the championship of some of the hardest working wrestlers in the WWE. Guys like Santana, Steamboat, Valentine, Piper, Muroca, Morales, Savage, Honky Tonk Man, Ultimate Warrior, Mr.Perfect, Rick Rude, HBK, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Stone Cold, Rock, HHH, Angle, Benoit and countless others. Now the IC Title is all but forgotten. This really shocks me beings the IC Title is one of WWE’s orginial titles. Vince has always been all about WWE talent and product first and foremost, but for some reason he has all but forgotten the rich history of the IC Title. If I could run WWE for just one day I would retire the World Heavyweight Title FOREVER like it should have been originally when they bought WCW. I would put the IC Title on one of the main talents who isn’t in the WWE Title picture right now such as Bryan or Punk and let them have a long run with it. This would help showcase and restore the Intercontinental Championship to the second most important championship in the WWE like it use to be and still should be!

    • Abudadein

      You just won Fan Comment of the Week. No question about it.

      • Macho Man

        Thanks, but not really trying to. Just stating how I feel on the IC Title situation as it’s bothered me for sometime!

        • JMD

          i think your comment also kind of illustrates the state of the product today. either they aren’t making use of the talent the right way (which i suspect is true), or the talent that existed 20-30 years ago was just that much better (which i also suspect is true).

          maybe it’s just because i watch more of it more closely than i ever have, and i haven’t gone back to watch tapes from the 80s lately, but in my head at least, the legendary IC champions-talent in general-was not dependent upon the look or gimmick so much as the ability to work a good/great match, tell a story, sell the spots…heck…HIT the spots. i swear, week in and week out i see (or too easily notice) several bad spots that we just should not see.

          different rant for another day.

          on your idea of putting the IC belt on a main talent not getting WHC/WWE title consideration, i agree. i honestly thought they’d do that with Punk as part of his feud. it could work much like RVD did with the ecw tv belt–held it for a crazy long time, and ultimately was a huge ECW draw, even though he didn’t hold the actual ECW championship. he, by way of his talent, ability and quality of matches, elevated the tv strap significantly.

          • Iron Mike Sharpe

            I think you’re on to something there JMD… if you watch matches from the 80s and 90s you’ll see a lot more grappling (headlocks, armbars, bearhugs, abdominal stretches (is that move extinct?), etc.). I call those ‘rest’ holds as it did a couple of things:
            1) gave the wrestlers a rest point in the match (many of them would go 15+ mins).
            2) Slow crowd buildup when the heel held the face in a non-submission maneuver.

            Today it’s more about spots and the ‘wow’ factor. Sure they are in much better shape today (physically), but I’m not sure the conditioning is there to go more than the allotted 10 mins or so they get in a match.

            In the past, interviews were used as a vessel to get a wrestler over (or his manager did that- a great article BTW). Today, their best bet is to shine in the allotted time frame they are given as an undercard/midcard/curtain jerker. Today there are a lot more backstage segments (non-interview) than in the past and IMO takes away time from ring action. If I were to start a promotion (anyone wanna restart GLOW with me?) I would make it wrestling based 1st with interviews and slow build feuds WITH AN ACTUAL PAYOFF.

            Who’s with me? I accept paypal :)

          • JMD

            ah, the wonderful rest holds. if used properly, they can really get a crowd simmering. they also allow the wrestlers to rest, as you’ve noted. and, more importantly–assuming they position correctly–allows one to call the spots to come, to help keep things flowing.

            its a lost art.

            as you noted, too many are trying for the highlight reel, spot-fest mentality. kind of like regular athletes with the ESPN-mindset. they want to make the five star web gem type play, but could not give 2 craps less about the fundamentals.

            when, its those fundamentals that make guys like Bryan Danielson so over, and why guys like Ryback never stand a chance.

      • JMD

        certainly a good one, but trying to avoid repeat winners and think MM won it in September….but i could be crazy

    • Tom

      Could be a really cool match. Retire the World Heavyweight Title, and somebody gets to take it home forever.

      • Tom

        Unless of course they clearly separate Raw and Smackdown again. One of the two should happen.

  • Staynes

    Lol at this “Christian is to big for the IC Title” if anyone is perfectly fitted for the Title it would be Christian dont be delusional and think Christian will be a long time main event player. Dont take this as hate on Christian i love him i loved his one more match “gimmick” he deserveres a WHC run no question but it simply wont be a long run if it ever happens. Christian is getting older which you dont realize when you watch him but the WWE Creative team realises it and has this in the back of their minds plus im sure he is not the best friend of Vince and co for obvious reasons. But to come back on topic Christian is a good candidate for the IC Title simply because he is a relative big name and is over with the fans id say hes even more over as a heel then as a face in my eyes simply holding the Title is gonna push it up the ladder again.

    But the real problem here is keeping the prestige thats going to rise if someone like Christian would be holding the IC Title, youve got your Veteran who is over and is a known World Champ and sooner or later he is gonna drop the Title to a “new comer” be it someone from the current Mid card ala Barret or someone new from development in my eyes there is currently a huge roster with very little charismatic people who can connect fast with the audience and not get blant after a month or two being the face who can wrestle like a god but brings nothing else to the table.

    Now i get the IWC wants all those god like wrestlers to be a huge success but it simply wont happen. If i want to watch some good Wrestling with the whole focus on Wrestling and not Entertainment im sure as hell not gonna watch the WWE but instead im gonna watch the next big Indy league or ROH NJPW or whatever where the main focus is wrestling. The WWE isnt the place for pure Wrestlers you need to have Charisma which many ppl on the current main roster are lacking ,you need to be able to connect with an audience which also many ppl on the main roster are missing and you need to have a constant Character development look at all those mid card faces theyre all the same witty guy who is having fun while in the ring. You cant push 10 ppl with the same stale gimmick, ofc this is where the creative team should be helping those guys out but since theyre also just stale opera writers who want to create drama which is maybe working in a Broadway musical but not in a WWE ring those guys are now stuck in the mid card because they are not bringing good enough ideas to the table or arent trying to bring anything to the table and the IC Title would not help them out in any way because the gimmick stays the same and is not getting any fresher,the audience will get bored of them soon and then you have a IC Title holder who is not drawing anything and the cycle repeats again where ppl cry for a new IC Champ because the current one is so bland.

    Im sorry that this post got so long but i just hate this “Its all the creative teams fault” mentality. Yes the Creative Team should give the ideas but if you dont get anything you cant just sit there and wait and wait and wait come up with something if they turn it down come up with some more and so on and so on.

  • Iron Mike Sharpe

    I too am miffed at how they treat the IC Champ. They should never lose unless the title changes hands. See Muraco, Magnificent, Santana, Tito, Savage, Randy, and others of the early 80s. Heck we can go as recent as the early part of the 00s and see what the value was of the IC Champ.

    Even the 3rd tier champs didn’t lose unless it was a title change (TV Champ, US Tag Champs). The WWE needs to get back to making ALL of their championships mean something.

    I think it is ruined forever though since Santino Marella is a former IC Champ and ZAch Ryder is a former US Champ. Both of them should have Koko B Ware’s resume… good contender… not (singles) championship material.

  • puckdinah1

    It’s sad that the IC title, US title, European title and even the WWE title have been so underappreciated

  • Kenny Lopez

    Too many titles, not enough workers capable of giving value to those titles. How can a title regain value when you have the WWE Title, the World Heavyweight Title, the US Title and the Intercontinental Title? Imagine if the ECW Title, Cruiserweight Title, Light Heavyweight Title and the Hardcore Title were still around? Everyone would be a champion in some sort. That’s the problem with boxing, there’s too many world champions. You have the WBA, WBO, WBC and the IBF all with a champion at every division. So if everybody has a title, who’s the real world’s champion? Back to wrestling. You have two titles (WWE Title, World Heavyweight Championship) that are technically supposed to be equal in value, yet the WHC is treated like it isn’t. Then there’s the IC title and the US title, both titles with great history, but have they been treated that way? Don’t even get me started on tag team titles…now back in the day, even crap titles like a 6-Man US Tag Team Title was treated with respect. Hell, the Western States Heritage Title was treated with more respect than the titles are treated nowadays. The WWF had two titles for so many years and it worked. They expanded to three and it worked in the beginning. Four titles with the current roster? I don’t know about all that, now. And the fact that Iron Mike Sharpe isn’t in the Hall of Fame is a travesty!

  • JMD

    Let me preface my comment by saying…I am virtually certain this will never happen. But if it did, it would be brilliant.

    Assuming they don’t re-explore a true and full brand split, and assuming they also don’t retire one belt, or unify them.

    then how do you really restore the shine to the iC belt, other than the easy answer of getting it off of Axel?

    Money in the bank. if i recall correctly, wasn’t the original wording of the match something along the lines of the briefcase holding a contract for a title match of the winner’s choice? if it wasn’t…it easily could be….and while here’s where you have to suspend logic for a moment, why couldn’t you have someone win, and shock the world by going after the IC belt instead?

    think about it. you’ve had sandow and cena not win anything. Kennedy lost his briefcase. And a couple other cash ins who won, barely held the title at all. why not have someone win the case and decide they want to take a belt and hold onto it for a long long time. Heck, actually let them challenge Honky Tonk Man’s reign. I doubt you’d do it with someone like Golddust, especially now at this point in his career, but there was someone, clearly with talent, who never got higher than the IC belt.

    they need someone who wants to take it and hold onto it, and who is willing to parade it around, week after week, until their defenses of it and promotion of it elevate it to near world title stature. like, back in the day where, once you’d proven yourself as an IC champion, the next logical step was the world title belt.

    How many current superstars who have held either or the WWE belt or WHC skipped the iC belt, or barely worked their way up with it?

    It’s so crazy it could work…..but like i said. i can’t see a creative writer having the balls to suggest it, nor a wrestler having the audacity to skip a world title belt for a chance to resurrect the IC belt and really make a mark on things.

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