ECW Championship = IC or European? | Smark Out Moment

ECW Championship = IC or European?

Posted by Anthony Mango Tuesday, November 10, 2009
What exactly is the ECW title here for? Well first off, it's pretty obvious that not only the title but the brand itself uses a three-point structure: 1) rookies to get their start, 2) midcarders that need that extra boost to a higher status on the roster, 3) veterans that have nothing else to do and can help the first and second groups rise up. There's no debate in that, and I think it's great, as it has done well weeding out the weak (Braden Walker, Ricky Ortiz, Bam Neely), upgrading the likes of future stars (John Morrison, the Miz, CM Punk), and giving some of the older guys a purpose once more (Mark Henry, William Regal, Tommy Dreamer). This setup causes both a pro and con, though, as those are the three groups that are given the chance at winning the championship. Do you give it to someone who is a bit washed up and you know will never get that world title reign, like William Regal or Goldust? Do you give it to a midcarder and hope the fans buy into the fact that he can lead an entire brand, like Matt Hardy? Or do you give it to a rookie like Jack Swagger and pray that he doesn't sink? With that set of ground rules, it will never have that main event feel to it, which got me thinking: "where have we seen this trichotomy before?" The answer: the Intercontinental and European championships.
At one point, the IC title was used as a measuring stick for those that were being tested for main event potential like Razor Ramon and Mr. Perfect (the modern equivalent of say, Christian and Matt Hardy). At times, it was thrust upon a rookie like Marc Mero and Santino Marella. At times, it was given to the guys that were above it but not good enough to be holding that world title, like Rey Mysterio and JBL. It has it's ups and downs, but it means a lot to the history of the WWE and it will always be here, even after 125 credited title reigns.

On the other hand, though, you have the European championship, created and pushed at first to seem almost like a world title, or at least on par with the Intercontinental championship. The British Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, HHH, and Owen Hart started it off, and I'd say that's a pretty fair group to lead the history, wouldn't you say? After that, though, outside of a few minor hiccups here and there, the title became a breeding ground for people like Spike Dudley, Mideon, and Crash Holly to hold, killing all of its purpose. For many, it became the stepping stone to see if they were even good enough to hold the MIDCARD title. All in all, there have been only 37 credited title reigns, and the European title is now defunct.

Where does the ECW find it's niche? With only 15 recognized title reigns since its debut under WWE status, the belt has had the credibility of a heart attack's EKG reading. We had our mountains with Big Show and RVD (who, like HBK with the European title, held it at the same time as the WWE championship), and our deep valleys with Chavo Guerrero and Vince McMahon, and everything in between. One reign goes to a washed up vet like Tommy Dreamer, the next goes to a rookie like Jack Swagger, the next goes to a midcarder getting ready for a push like Bobby Lashley...where does it end? Of course, this all depends on the brand itself maintaining it's survival, but let's play devil's advocate and assume it stays firm for years to come. In that case, does the ECW championship retain the importance of the Intercontinental championship, where it's the next best thing to a world title, or does it become the next European title - aka, a pointless filler belt that is thrust upon those who aren't worthy?

Tony Mango is the head writer, host of Smack Talk, and founder/CEO/director of operations for Smark Out Moment as well as all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. He is a writer, creative director/consultant, media manager and entertainer. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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