The Fate of the Intercontinental Championship Lies in WWE's Hands | Smark Out Moment

The Fate of the Intercontinental Championship Lies in WWE's Hands

Posted by Joshua Jones Monday, May 16, 2022

Ricochet is the 183rd holder of the coveted Intercontinental Championship. After defeating Sami Zayn on the April 3rd edition of SmackDown, Ricochet has had 4 title defenses thus far. A guy like Ricochet is suited for the Intercontinental Championship, but despite having the long lineage, the title isn't what it used to be.

The title was last on a premium live event at WrestleMania 37 when Big E defended it against Apollo Crews in a Nigerian Drum Fight. Since then, the title has exclusively been defended on SmackDown and held by only a handful of people. It also didn't help that there was a five-month gap between September and February when the title wasn't defended during Shinsuke Nakamura's last reign.

It's safe to say that the title is in desperate need of a readjustment. Rumor has it that Roman Reigns will appear less on television, so there needs to be more focus on the midcard titles across both Raw and SmackDown. The Intercontinental Championship has had the privilege of being labeled as "the workhorse belt." Without the care behind it, the title is nothing more than just another championship to be fought over every now and then. The fate of the Intercontinental Championship lies in WWE's hands, but are they willing to realize that? History says no, but perhaps there are ways to give the title the boost it needs to be on the right track.

Ricochet holding the intercontinental championship
Ricochet as intercontinental champion

Introduce an Intercontinental Championship Tournament

Tournaments in wrestling have the potential to highlight lower and midcard wrestlers and showcase what they can bring to television if given the right amount of time. New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 tournament is a prime example of a tournament that offers wrestlers time to showcase their strengths in the ring while at the same time giving stakes to matches. A tournament to decide Ricochet's next challenger for the title at an event like SummerSlam or Money in the Bank suddenly makes the championship scene more interesting. Plus, it allows WWE to bring up some talent from NXT and NXT UK. WWE has a lot of talent; they just need to be showcased more.

Give Someone a Strong Gimmick or Story Before Going After The Title

Randy Orton has recently celebrated 20 years with the company. One of the hallmarks of his career was being labeled as "the legend killer." Orton established himself earlier in his career by going after legends such as Mick Foley, Harley Race, and Shawn Michaels. This was happening around the time Orton became intercontinental champion and was part of the Evolution stable, which featured Ric Flair, Batista, and Triple H. Orton wasn't just another intercontinental champion; he was a champion with a strong gimmick and purpose.

Randy Orton facing off against legend Sgt. Slaughter
Randy Orton as the legend killer

The person who eventually dethrones Ricochet should be someone who has the same qualities that Orton had when he was just starting on Raw. Giving that person a strong storyline or gimmick suddenly seems more exciting, and the fans probably would want to take notice. It can't just be another challenger who'd just hold the title for a few months before dropping it to someone else. The person needs purpose and a reason for keeping the title.

Let an Established Star Be Champion For a While

While historically, the Intercontinental Championship is meant to catapult mid to upper-midcard talent to main event status, there have been times when an established star helped to boost the title's credibility. The most potent example came in 2015 when John Cena held the United States Championship and introduced the open challenge midcard title concept on Raw. Cena's open challenge allowed new matches and talent to challenge for the United States Championship. It also helped get the crowd back on Cena's side after being booed by a good majority of fans for nearly 10 years.

Cena brought the title back to prominence thanks to his name value and the competitive matches he was involved in on Raw. Giving the Intercontinental Championship to an already established main-eventer may do the same. However, the trick is to give whoever carries the title on SmackDown purpose and meaningful storylines for the fans to invest in. Let's not forget that AJ Styles was once United States champion, and it hardly meant anything until Shane McMahon came into the picture.

Have it Main Event A Premium Live Event

We know Roman Reigns will undoubtedly be the main event of every premium live event going forward for the rest of the year, so long as he appears on the card. However, that doesn't mean the secondary title must always be on the backburner. If a feud is hot enough and the crowd is invested enough, you could main event a smaller show like TLC for the Intercontinental Championship. You might recall that during the Seth Rollins Intercontinental Championship run in 2018, he was the main event along with Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules.

Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins as intercontinental champion

The Intercontinental Championship has had a storied history. It will be quite a shame for WWE to lose interest in a title with such prestige and can be the best title for anyone looking to make a name for themselves on the main roster. Here's hoping that the title can come back into prominence.

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