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The WWE Television Champion Dolph Ziggler?

Dolph SmileJim Ross on his most recent podcast in the preamble to his interview with Eric Bischoff  (at 19:20 mark) suggests the creation of a “new” WWE Television Title. His choice as the eventual winner of this title decided through a multi-week tournament to crown the new champion is Dolph Ziggler.

On the surface this seems like a heck of an idea. Ross goes on to suggest the title should be defended every Monday on Raw and the matches be contested with a 15 minute time limit. Ross freely admits his idea will never see the light of day. One, for whatever reason Ziggler is being held back which Ross says he has no idea the reason for this. Two, he feels that the WWE would never go back to a time limit being attached to a match.

This little 60-90 seconds from Ross brings up a number of issues to be discussed. The first is why a talent like Dolph Ziggler finds himself in the position he is in. I would only echo the points Brian and Steve made in talking about Ziggler’s loss in attempting to qualify for the “Money in the Bank” match. Ziggler seems inflexible to changing his style and has had a habit of shooting from the hip about his situation with the WWE in many forms. He does it through social media and often times in many interviews he has done over the past two years. Some of the greatest talents in the WWE have been difficult to deal with over the history of the company. A list of names like CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and many others fall into this category.

What is the difference with Ziggler might be a combination of timing and situation. Maybe he has been to vocal to0 soon and not flexible enough to “play ball” to some extent. What he sees as the WWE trying to hold him back by telling him to slow down and not take as many risks, for me, is them looking out for him. His unfortunately timed concussion, while not from any undue risk taken by Ziggler, only strengthened the argument for him to tone down his style. Brian Fritz gave the excellent example of Daniel Bryan and how his style has changed from his Ring of Honor days until now. The reality of why Bryan has had to have neck surgery comes from likely more to do with what he did prior to coming to the WWE that what he has done in it. Once Bryan returns I would expect even more lengths being taken to tone down his style to preserve him for the long haul.

The one reason why Ziggler inspires fans despite being booked horribly is his desire, passion and love for this business. It oozes out of him and that has very little to do with his in ring work. You can still display that passion without throwing your body in harms way every single night. I hope for everyone involved that Ziggler eventually has that moment where it clicks and all comes together for him and he understands it. Kind of like in life when we are teenagers and think are parents are some of the stupidest out of touch people. Only to come to realize in our late twenties to early thirties that they actually are pretty smart and only wanted what was best for us.

This idea of a “new” title is exciting at first glance. It has been a long time since the WWE introduced a new championship into the fold. The trend has been going in the opposite direction in recent years with more talk of eliminating titles than creating them. I am not opposed to the idea of a new title but before that can happen we need to firmly establish the ones that are in place. There has been much talk of how little both the United States Title and Intercontinental Title mean these days. Until you can establish those titles as being important and having meaning, I would be very wary of introducing a new belt. You could merge those two titles and have this “new” undamaged title replace the United States Title. That might be something that is possible to do.

I am a fan of the concept of having more title defenses on television and even dare say changing a few belts on television. I would even be in favor of the rare occasion having a title change hands on a live event. It has been done in the old days in the company with guys like Bret Hart and Kevin Nash (Diesel) winning the WWF World Championship that way. It gives the feeling of anything can happen at a live event. In this modern world you could have video hit the internet the night it happens and create huge online buzz for the product. It also can be a great sales pitch for live events that I believe were down in the last quarter for WWE.

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Currently in Ring of Honor we have Adam Cole set to defend his ROH World Title against Michael Elgin on June 22nd at “Best in the World” the company’s debut on live pay-per-view. This week they released an angry promo from Tommaso Ciampa enraged that Adam Cole is overlooking his title defence against him this Saturday. He threatens to throw a monkey wrench in everyone’s plans and win that title. It is a great promo that is worth checking out below:

Now fans heading to that show have a small shadow of doubt if Cole will actually retain his title and move on to his match with Elgin. Sometimes that small shadow of doubt is all you need to sell someone on the fence to going to a show to invest and show up.

Ross also brings up the concept of a time limit and the result being a chance of a finish we rarely see in WWE of a match being a draw. Somewhere along the line not just in WWE but in society and pro sports we have decided that ties or draws suck. I am not sure why this has been the case, but we in general as a society feel this way. We demand conclusions for the investment of our time and or money. Which is understandable, but sometimes a draw can be a great thing in sports like wrestling, boxing and MMA. It guarantees a re-match of the contest which if it was competitive and good people would want to see.

Again, I go back to Ring of Honor as showing how this can be done effectively. Michael Elgin had a match against A.J Styles at an event. The match went to the thirty minute time limit and led to a re-match on television that saw Elgin get the victory. It was used as the lead up to match between the two at “War of the Worlds,” Styles was the IWGP Champion but had two chances to beat Elgin and could not. It was a great story heading into that match. They did end up making the match a three-way with Okada the former champion being added to the mix. This was done the night of the event though, so the build all leading up to the match was Styles had not been able to beat Elgin.

Ric Flair is in part the legend that he is today by having travelled the territories back in the day going 60 minutes with the top “baby face” in every promotion often times to time limit draws. Flair was on to the next town and that “baby face” remained more “over” from the experience of having taken the champion of the world to the time limit.

Some dismiss Jim Ross’ ideas as old and outdated. I would frankly disagree with those people. I am not here to tell you I agree with him on everything he feels about the business. However, I do feel that if you re-educate your audience to accepting such things it can be done effectively today as it was back in the old era of wrestling. I used Ring of Honor as the modern example of just how it can be done effectively. If that company can do it with the resources they have, there is no question the WWE could do the same with even better results just based on the reach they have. It would require them going out of their comfort zone which is something they are very hesitant to do.

I would humbly submit that there is 10-15 minutes on every Raw that I could eliminate to allow Ross’ idea to be fit into the program. But as Ross concluded the chances of such a thing happening are very slim to non-existent.

About James Borbath

James has covered the NBA and Toronto Raptors for 6 years for various publications as well as his own website. A native of Hamilton, Ontario where he attended the first ever Royal Rumble, James is a life long wrestling fan and has decided to trade to slams of a different kind in pro wrestling. He hopes his transition will be more successful than Dennis Rodman or Karl Malone. Among his talents is a better than average Randy Savage impression. Follow him on Twitter @condoonthemoon

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