Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ultimate Warrior, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels are just a handful of the wrestling legends that have, at one time or another, held the Intercontinental Championship.
Somehow, this once great title has been demeaned so far that it wasn’t even defended on one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year (SummerSlam). The path to returning the title back to its former relevance begins and ends with one name: CM Punk.
Before we get into that, though, let’s look at how the title got diminished so much recently. I would say that the major problem that is occurring with this championship, as well as the U.S. title, is that the title-holders regularly lose on SmackDown and Raw, so it makes them look incredibly weak.
Current champion Curtis Axel has won a lot of his matches, but they have come over guys like Sin Cara and Zach Ryder; no offense to those two, but those aren’t exactly impressive victories. On top of that, whenever he goes in to help Paul Heyman against Punk, he always seems to be on the receiving end of a beating and an eventual GTS.
On top of the losing, it seems that the title really never has any meaningful storylines. Axel’s defense of the title at Money in the Bank against The Miz seemed thrown together at the last second, and that win really did nothing to further Axel’s standing as a champion. These short feuds with no real meaning tend to devalue the title, as fans can easily overlook the match because it seems so inconsequential.
Another part is that no big-name superstars seem to be interested in capturing it at all. There’s really no reason at all for this, as Triple H, Chris Jericho and JBL are just a couple of wrestlers that have the held the title after first capturing the WWE Championship, so you can’t say that the title is below someone like Punk.
There’s only so many people that can be involved in the title picture for the WWE/World titles, and with the amount of high quality talent that WWE has, it’s inexplicable for them to not be chasing the “mid-card” titles.
Now we’re back to CM Punk. If he takes the title from Axel at Night of Champions, he would alleviate these concerns almost immediately. First off, there’s no way that the WWE would have Punk lose regularly — he’s just too big of a star for that to happen; he was WWE Champion for 434 days, and I don’t think I can see him losing like Wade Barrett did when he was champion.
Because of his status as a top star, there is no doubt that creative would always have a plan lined up for him.
Actually, let me take that back — you really can’t guarantee anything with WWE Creative. But still, it’s a near certainty that they’d always have something for him to do, and he wouldn’t just be floating around aimlessly like the champions in recent history. He could continue his feud with Axel, or could start up a rivalry with a star that has already been established.
With Punk as champion, there’s no doubt that past stars that he feuded with could start appearing in the title picture. Jericho or Sheamus could return as heels and return to try to take the title from him, and really, the possibilities are just endless.
Any time a star of CM Punk’s caliber is around, the spotlight immediately follows. Wouldn’t it make sense to shine some of this spotlight on what was once one of the biggest accomplishments in all of wrestling? Make it happen, WWE.
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