BREAKING NEWS: John Cena Returning at Hell in a Cell

john cena

Just announced on Monday Night Raw – John Cena will be returning at Hell in the Cell to challenge Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Cena has been out since SummerSlam with a pretty serious elbow injury.  Early reports suggested he might return around Royal Rumble. When rumors popped up that he might return earlier, he quickly shot them down on Twitter.

Does this indicate a panic within WWE over lackluster ratings, or has “superman” John Cena proven once again that injuries simply can’t keep him down?

What do you think about John Cena’s early return?  Discuss in the comments below! And be sure to follow Between the Ropes on Facebook and Twitter!

WWE Battleground 2013 Rundown – LIVE

Refresh this page throughout the night for LIVE results as they happen!  Also, be sure to check back with Between the Ropes immediately after tonight’s show for post-PPV coverage. [Read more...]

WWE Night of Champions 2013 Reaction and Review

bryanwinsLast night’s pay-per-view started off in a weird way. Triple H opened up with a segment about making the match fair, no interference, blah blah blah. But wait, isn’t he our “big bad” in WWE right now? His character has done nothing but demolish Daniel Bryan for weeks, and all of sudden he decides to play both sides. I completely understand the idea of making a heel a little more tweener. What I can’t figure out is, why does WWE think now is the time to pull him back? [Read more...]

WWE Night of Champions 2013 Rundown – LIVE

Refresh this page throughout the evening for LIVE ongoing results and analysis from WWE Night of Champions (2013).  Coverage starts at 8 pm ET!

wwenightofchampions2013posterTonight, WWE returns to Pay Per View with its annual “Night of Champions” Pay-Per-View.  The show is headlined by an exciting match, with Randy Orton defending his WWE Championship against an underdog Daniel Bryan.  Fans also have CM Punk vs Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in a handicap match, with the stipulation that if Punk beats Axel, he gets his hands on Punk.  Be sure to watch along with us tonight! [Read more...]

WWE SMACKDOWN Reaction and Review – August 30th, 2013

The opening from Friday night’s show was fantastic. MizTV is often a complete waste of time, but I’m glad the creative team leveraged an establish segment to further an ongoing storyline. The Miz, Big Show, and Dolph Ziggler being together as a unified front made a lot of sense; likewise, it gave Triple H another way to continue building his corrupt boss heel-persona. I’m also happy when the opening establishes a theme for the night. [Read more...]

WWE Raw Preview – August 5th, 2013

WWE.com relesed it’s “Raw Five-Point Preview” earlier today, with five potential highlights of tonight’s Monday Night Raw. Let’s take a closer look at each preview point: [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – 8/2/2013

smackdown outlineVery entertaining wrestling-heavy edition of WWE Smackdown tonight.  There were a few misses (see below), but the in-ring action, highlighted by a fantastic main-even, made this a show worth watching. [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – July 19th, 2013

smackdown outlineEntertaining edition of WWE Smackdown. The matches didn’t fully deliver, but the show had enough going for it to keep viewers intrigued. Let’s look closer: [Read more...]

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 – Reaction and Review

Last night’s highly anticipated “Money in the Bank” Pay-Per-View brought us a loaded card with numerous surprises, and the much-hyped return of Rob Van Dam. But did it deliver? Read on to find out. [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – July 12th, 2013

smackdownEntertaining edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown. While the build for Smackdown’s own Money in the Bank match continued to be lackluster, a solid wrestling card and other final pushes made this a go-home show worth watching. Take a look: [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – June 28th, 2013

wwe smackdown logoIf you missed Smackdown last night, you missed the best (major) wrestling show of the week. WWE put together a fun, athletic two hours for Friday Night that delivered from top to bottom. Let’s check it out. [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – June 15th, 2013

smackdown outlineThe word “mediocre” comes to mind when discussing this week’s Smackdown. WWE creative seemed to check out for the night, save for one very questionable booking decision. Let’s break it down: [Read more...]

WWE No Longer Needs the World Heavyweight Championship

dolph-zigglerNormally, a World Champion being out of action for five weeks would seem like a big deal. In his absence, a wrestling company would still find ways to highlight him. It would show vignettes on his return, interview him from his home, or even put him in the ring and let him cut a few promos. If he ran the risk of missing one or two Pay-Per-Views due to the injury, he might even be stripped of his title
(anybody remember the classic “a champion must defend his title once every 30 days” rule?).

Instead, the WWE just ignored it.

Dolph Ziggler was out for over five weeks due to a concussion, and the company just moved on as though he didn’t exist. They barely mentioned him on television, rarely checked in with him during the recovery process, and never spotlighted what his absence, along with the World Heavyweight Championship, meant to the company. For those five weeks, WWE existed without two top champions.

And guess what… it survived. Not only that, but Smackdown (former home of the World Heavyweight Champion) seemed to actually thrive. By putting together a string of shows focusing more on other championships, like the United States and Tag Team titles, the show was the most enjoyable it’s been in months.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. The World Heavyweight Championship was originally introduced for Raw just a few months after the start of the brand extension. It only made sense that a top guy existed on each show to headline house shows and serve as the “face” of that brand. Eventually, when both Smackdown and Raw started hosting their own Pay-Per-Views, each World Champion was given his own headlining event.

But things have changed. WWE stopped hosting separate brand-extension Pay-Per-Views in 2007. In late 2011, both shows essentially merged with the ‘SuperShow’ format. And since then, the powers-that-be have come out and said that the brand extension is over because they want the product to flow between all the different platforms.

Unfortunately, nobody seems to care about the disparity between the two World Titles. Did you know that the World Heavyweight Championship hasn’t been contested in a Pay-Per-View main-event match since 2010’s Hell in a Cell? It has, however, opened up a Wrestlemania. Twice. And at last year’s Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View, the World Heavyweight Championship contract match was open to the entire roster, while the WWE Championship was opened only to previous champions. How is that considered equal?

Even CM Punk addressed this on an episode of Raw in September, when he confronted reigning World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and told him that he was only the “second-best in the world.” And Sheamus didn’t really argue with him, either.

But the idea that WWE would let Dolph Ziggler stay at home for five weeks as the reigning, defending, World Heavyweight Champion, and do nothing to address the situation, completely boggles my mind. When CM Punk “walked out” with the WWE Championship two years ago, the company was ready to crown a completely new champion the next night on Raw. Now, things just hum along like business as usual.

So is Dolph Ziggler considered a second-class champion? Where does that put current United States Champion Dean Ambrose, or Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett?

Unfortunately, the World Heavyweight Championship is now treated like a stepping-stone to the real top title. When WWE thinks you’re ready to break through, they’ll give you the big gold belt. And maybe one day, if you’re lucky (or your name ends in “CENA”), you might get to hold the WWE Championship. Maybe.

If you go back 10 years, this was the exact purpose of the Intercontinental Championship. It highlighted guys on their way up – guys who might not quite be at the top of their game yet, but who had a chance of getting there one day. It was defended more frequently on free TV, and often changed hands, but it was always backed-up with purposeful booking. Now, both it and the United States championship are handed off seemingly at random. They’re just filler championships used to pad the resume of whoever Vince’s flavor-of-the-month is. They have no prestige.

And the World Heavyweight Championship is going down that same path.

So please, WWE, I’m begging you: unify both World Titles. Re-instate the IC Championship for the young, hungry guys, and make the United States Championship whatever it needs to be. Just retire the World Heavyweight Championship while it still has that strong, proud lineage to fall back on.

Championships need to feel exclusive to be important. It’s time to bring that idea back to WWE.