The Delco Elbow Drop

Friday, April 18, 2014

Renewed focus on Intercontinental championship will make or break Big E

Amongst the many interesting things happening in the WWE recently, the renewed focus on the Intercontinental title is one of the most refreshing to see. For as long as there were two main event titles (the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title), the Intercontinental title has been treated as an afterthought. The belt which used to mark the next breakout star, held by guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H, was now being passed around at little consequence to guys like Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and The Miz.

But on Monday, the WWE began a tournament to name a #1 contender to Big E’s IC title that featured Mark Henry vs Cesaro, Sheamus vs Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio vs Rob Van Dam and Dolph Ziggler vs Bad News Barrett. The creation of this tournament shows two things – that the WWE is putting more focus on midcard championships (finally) and that several guys who were formerly in the main event scene are now solidly in contention for the IC belt.

Big E won the title from Curtis Axel (see what I mean about it being directionless?) on an episode of Raw in November. His win was interesting because not only did it bring a new face to IC title contention but it also marked the first major milestone of Big E’s career after the supergroup of AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler and Big E split.

E’s victory over Axel to win the title came around the time that the WWE and World Heavyweight championships were unified and recognized as one championship. For a long time, the IC title and champion felt very inconsequential to the product as a whole. But the elimination of one World title would mean some focus gradually being shifted back toward the IC title. And the inclusion of former World champions in the tournament to name a #1 contender to the Intercontinental title is also helping to raise the profile of the title.

When there were two World titles, there was room for guys like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and RVD at the top of the card to contend for a major championship. But for months, they were floundering, being put into relatively meaningless matches against one another. But now that there is only one major title and it is heavily involved in the main event storyline, those former champs and World title contenders are now finding themselves in the middle of the card again.

This is a pivotal time for Big E. The IC belt is seemingly back in the number two role in the company – marking stars on the verge of the main event scene, the way it was before the Raw/Smackdown brand split in 2002. How E is able to deal with all the new threats to his championship will solidify his place in the company for the next few years. If the WWE is truly behind Big E and thinks he has potential, he should be able to hold onto that title for some time. Securing title defenses against the likes of Sheamus or RVD will undoubtedly prove that Big E is capable of moving up the card and one day being WWE World Heavyweight champion.

Personally, I have a ton of faith in Big E. He hasn’t been able to show off much of his overall talent in WWE yet but the renewed focus on the midcard and IC title should change that for the better. Big E is capable of incredible athleticism and just needs to find the right outlet for his personality to shine through on a larger scale –he’s funny on his Twitter and Instagram accounts but his charisma hasn’t really translated to TV yet. It’s still very early in his career, though. After becoming a dominant champion in NXT, the crowd really got on board with Big E’s dominating presence and if given time, I have no doubt that the same will happen on the main roster. And continued success as Intercontinental champion is a great first step for Big E.


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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