With the current brand split in WWE, RAW and Smackdown are supposed to feel different – but right now they don’t. NXT stands out. It was supposed to be the developmental brand, but I’d argue it’s the best brand of the three. Why? Because Triple H, AKA Paul Levesque, is running things over there. Triple H grew up watching the sport and idolizing ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. It would only make sense to create a brand that made you feel what you did when you fell in love with wrestling in the first place.
Ric Flair would go from territory to territory defending his World Heavyweight Championship and barely make it out with the 10lbs of gold by the skin of this teeth. This created excitement, and you knew it was something special when the champ would come to your home territory. Back in the day, there were territories all around the world that the champ could draw money from. This didn’t only help the World Champion at the time, it also helped the talent. Whenever a talent would get stale in their territory, they’d move along to the next with a fresh start and fresh new opponents.
ONE WORLD CHAMPION
The first thing the WWE would need now is to have one World Champion. No more NXT Champion, WWE Champion, or Universal Champion; just one to rule them all. The WWE World Champion would be the flag-bearer for the company. I’d also have only one team carry the Tag Team Championships, which would allow fresh matchups for different brands while also making the tag division prestigious.
The Women’s Champion also deserves the same respect, getting one Women’s World Championship and one Women’s Tag Team Championship. This would help WWE get more exposure on arguable the best division in the company. As for the Women’s Tag Team Championship, they already have only one set of champs so kudos for that one WWE.
Having one unified World Champion would also help elevate other Titles which could stay at their own respective brands. It would also make a championship mean something and nowadays in wrestling most titles don’t mean much at all. This would also make the Royal Rumble mean more because every brand can be in that match but they know there is only one champion to gun for. I know what you’re thinking, this has been tried before when Chris Jericho unified the WWE and WCW World Titles, but they should have stuck with it. If they did a brand split let the Champion travel between brands and run programs with the different performers on them. This make World Title matches must see matches because you don’t know when you’d get a chance to see them again.
WHAT TERRITORIES COULD WWE CREATE?
RAW and Smackdown are givens, and with NXT established as its own brand instead of just developmental anymore, this would make three. But why stop there?
RAW could have their own main title with the U.S. Championship, Smackdown would have the Intercontinental Championship, and NXT with the North American Title. This would make those titles mean something, because those would be the ones that are defended regularly on television and PPVs. It would also make the person carrying them on the cusp of being in the main event and a real challenge for whoever sits on the throne as the WWE World Champion.
Another brand that I would include is NXT UK, with its main title being the European Championship. That’s right, I’d bring back the European Title and get rid of the UK Championship. I’d also have 205 Live as their own territory with their main title obviously being the Cruiserweight Championship. Right now, WWE is pushing a lot of cruiserweight talent and rightfully so. Humberto Carillo, Mustafa Ali, Shorty G, and the legendary Rey Mysterio come to mind.
Imagine the larger champion thrown off by the speed of a Cruiserweight? This could make for the classic David vs. Goliath tale. Another territory WWE could and will have is NXT Japan. There were rumors that WWE tried to buy Dragon Gate and tried using that as their base for NXT Japan.
Japanese wrestling or Strong Style would be a great test for the WWE Champion. A lot of main eventers in WWE currently made there names in Japan. I also think having WWE in Japan would make it easier for top talent from other Japanese promotions to sign with the WWE. We’d also get some more of the best women wrestlers in the world and it would give them the mainstage to perform on.
WOULD IT WORK?
In the mid 90’s, wrestling saw its peak. Even before that, the Hulk Hogan era ruled the battle world. We haven’t seen the days of the territories in over 30+ years, but with start ups like AEW and NWA finding a new resurgence, wrestling is getting interesting again.
Let’s be honest, though: right now, WWE is the main dog in the fight. WWE hasn’t reduplicated it’s past success when is saw new heights with Hulk Hogan and then ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and the Rock both those were different eras. Well, this is a different era. The fans are smarter and we’ve almost seen everything.
This current generation of wrestling fans hear old timer fans talk about the glory days of the territories. Maybe it’s time for the WWE to bring that back. What’s old is new again, after all.