Who's The Man

March 19, 2007

A great man once said, “To be the Man, you have to beat the Man.” I have always been a big fan of this line, as I thought it summed up the wrestling business quite well. Everyone in the industry is supposed to be striving to be the best, to be Champion, and to become Champ you have to beat the existing one, it’s all about wins and loses and who is the best. This concept gets lost a lot in today’s wrestling as we get endless “storylines” with guys fighting for the most ridiculous reasons. There has been a PPV match where guys were fighting over spilt coffee, we’ve had Katie Vic, and we’ve even had matches that just stop and don’t even have finishes. As much as pro-wrestling is a type of male soap opera, the basic foundation is still supposed to be the struggle to become the best, to become the Champion, to be THE MAN.

That being said I’ve gotten to the point now where I can’t even tell who the Man is anymore. Back when I was a fan there were two “Men” so to speak. There was the WWF World Champion (usually Hulk Hogan) and the WCW World Champion (usually Ric Flair). Fans always wondered who the true Champion really was, but fans of either promotion could identify with who their World Champion was because each company was a completely separate entity. The World Champion was always the Main Event of his respective show.

When Chris Jericho unified the WWE and WCW titles in December of2001 we for the first time in US Wrestling history declared one true World Heavyweight Champion and Chris Jericho was the undisputed MAN. Unfortunately shortly after that match WWE reinstated the old WCW Title belt dubbing it the World Heavy Weight Title and changed the name of the Unified World Title to simply the WWE Heavy Weight Title. I didn’t have that much of a problem with this at the time (apart from them just giving the World Title to HHH) since WWE had an effective brand split and RAW and SD were treated as separate entities and each “brand” had their own World Champion.

The only time I didn’t like having both titles was WrestleMania, as it seemed odd having 2 World Titles on the same show and it killed that defining spot of WrestleMania Main Event. Only one Championship could get that coveted spot, which left a “World Champion” defending his title in the under card.

Well the situation has recently gotten a whole lot worse. WWE has created yet another World Champion with WWECW and we are now heading into WrestleMania with an WWECW World Heavyweight Champion, the WWE Heavy Weight Champion, and the World Heavy Weight Champion. All three of these guys are supposed to be “The Man” so to speak, but I guess with three of them we are left with no one being the clear cut “Man”.

I believe also that WWE intends to have all PPVs from now on incorporate all three WWE brands so there will most likely be three World Title Matches per PPV. At first that may seem like a good thing, after all it certainly gives the appearance of a loaded show, but I think it will be the opposite and in truth will be very bad. Does it not take away from the importance and credibility of being the Champ if there are 2 other “World” Champs on the same show? What will it say about the 2 “World Champions” who will be defending their titles in the under card? Generally there are 7 or 8 matches per PPV, so nearly half of them can now be “World” Title matches and if we include the US Title, Intercontinental Title, both Tag Team Titles, the Cruiserweight, and Women’s Championships as well, there will need to be at least 9 matches just to fit the Championship matches on the show let alone creating any room for other possible feuds or programs.

WWE needs to seriously reduce the number of Champions on there programs. With the melding of all three brands on PPV they need to start unifying titles or just simply get rid of some. It is nearly impossible to keep track of who is holding which title and if we were pressed to name “The Man” in WWE there is little hope of getting a unified answer. I guess the saying still holds true, “To be the Man, you have to beat the Man.” except now the challenge isn’t in beating him, it’s in figuring out who the hell the man is in the first place.

That’s one thing I can at least give TNA. If I were to ask a TNA fan who the Champion was, I would think pretty much everyone would say, Christian Cage. If I were to ask a WWE fan who’s the Champ, I would likely receive a plethora of answers and the most common might even be, “it depends, which brand?”

Lance Storm