On September 2, 2002, then General Manager of WWE RAW, Eric Bischoff activated the World Heavyweight Championship.
Bischoff felt at that time that the solution to the problem of then WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refusing to defend the title on both RAW and SmackDown was having a new world title to be defended on RAW.
Ten years have passed, and the World Heavyweight Championship has gained a tremendous amount of prestige since its activation on that fateful September day. It has been held by some of the greatest superstars in professional wrestling history such as The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and so on. But one question remains after all this time: Where does the World Heavyweight Championship stand after 10 years in the WWE? Most wrestling fans and members of the Internet wrestling community are of the consensus that the World Heavyweight Championship still holds value, and still has its place in the WWE.
But others feel that it is a menial title that will always play second fiddle to the more prestigious WWE Championship. The latter of those wrestling fans seem to be more on point than the former with their thinking. The World Heavyweight Championship will always be known as the secondary title in the WWE, no matter who has or who will hold it. Upon its activation, its sole purpose was to be a brand exclusive world title. Even though there are still two separate brands, they are no longer exclusive, and WWE superstars from SmackDown can compete on RAW and vice versa. So an argument can be made that these SmackDown superstars can vie for the WWE Championship, a title that has been active for close to 50 years, and is the top title in professional wrestling, which makes the World Heavyweight Championship the lesser title. Even though the World Heavyweight Championship is not a re-activation of the WCW World Heavyweight Title, there are some wrestling fans that do not differentiate between the two title belts.
When Eric Bischoff wanted to create a “new” title, he should have activated a title with a whole new design, if he truly wanted it to be a competitor to the WWE Undisputed Championship. Because the World Heavyweight Championship reminds so many fans of the WCW World Heavyweight Title, a title from a defunct promotion, therein lies another reason the World Heavyweight Championship will never be on the same level as the WWE Championship. Many wrestling fans have been wondering if a unification match between the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship would eventually come to pass. This could be the best thing for the World Heavyweight Championship. Many defunct WWE Championships, such as the WWE European Championship, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and others, have been unified for various reasons. Not only would a unification match be good for business in the WWE, it would be a proper closing chapter for a title that has gained an iconic lineage.
Whatever the future holds for the World Heavyweight Championship in the WWE, wrestling fans should come to the realization that this title is yet another rung in the ladder of the WWE Championship. It should be either decommissioned or unified to preserve its short, but prestigious history.
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