Without sounding like some jaded old wrestling fanatic who remembers the Attitude era as much better than it actually was, the Intercontinental title deserves better. There was a time when winning the WWE runners-up title actually meant something. Icons like The Rock, Stone Cold and Triple H all won championships as they rose through the ranks of WWE. For the most part, it was a sign that WWE was gearing up to make you one of their top stars. That and a test to see if you can handle that kind of pressure.
WWE obviously hasn’t forgotten how historic the IC title is. Whenever there’s actual screen time, Michael Cole tends to hammer home that 12 different Hall of Famers have held it. The problem is that these mentions are rare because the once-prestigious title hardly gets a glimpse of it anymore. Most of the time, you could ask a fan who watches WWE fairly regularly, and they’d probably have to pause and think before answering correctly about who the current champion is. Until recently, that man was Shinsuke Nakamura, and there have been months between title defenses.
Sami Zayn needs the Austin Theory
The IC belt is now around Sami Zayn’s waist. Zayn has been doing a great job at WWE lately. The kind of stuff that has Vince McMahon probably rolling around backstage laughing, and that’s what a WWE Superstar should be trying to do if they want to keep getting TV time. Next up for Zayn and the IC title is a WrestleMania match against Johnny Knoxville. At least that’s the rumor. A tent pole match on the biggest stage of them all. Pretty great, right? Well, yes and no.
If Zayn really does defend the championship against Knoxville, it’s going to get a lot of attention until WrestleMania. However, once the show is over, there’s a real chance that the IC title will be forgotten again. Unless, of course, Knoxville wins, which could be worse and conjure up a David Arquette in a WCW-type situation. WWE needs to forget the Knoxville match if it’s really a question and go for the WrestleMania match for the IC title Austin theory.
Theory is a big deal right now in the eyes of those who matter. See above for tips on entertaining the boss, who is key to screen time in WWE. If you share this screen with McMahon, even better, and Theory has been doing this a lot lately. He even had his moment with Brock Lesnar in Elimination Chamber and although he ended up being squashed like a fly, Theory really shined in the few minutes he shared a chamber alone with The Beast.
Put Theory on the road to WrestleMania
While the moments Theory had were great, he really needs a consistent point of view. One that will culminate in a huge match that will confirm to the WWE Brass that he really is one of those they’ve been waiting for. A star-to-be ready for the big time to pin their hopes on. Begin this crucible by making Theory show up on SmackDown and messing with Zayn. Roster splits aren’t being followed at the moment anyway, so there’s no real reason why he can’t switch to Friday nights. Plus, I can’t think of anyone who would hate being in an unwanted selfie more than Zayn.
Theory is entertaining, no doubt about that. What WWE and the fans need to know now is if he can put on a great match on a big stage. All the ingredients are ready and waiting in the form of the current IC champion and WrestleMania just around the corner. Not to mention, Zayn is one of the best people on the list for determining if someone can go or not. He is one of the greatest wrestlers that WWE has. If Theory can’t have a good match with Zayn, then it’s probably safe to assume he’s not the next big thing, as many in WWE are hoping he will be.
Especially if Theory is held in as high regard as it seems right now, his loss at Elimination Chamber means he is currently unrelated to WrestleMania. Although it was never confirmed, it appeared he was preparing for a showdown with Shane McMahon at the show of shows. The theory was taken under Vince’s wing, treated almost like a surrogate son. A jealous Shane coming back and dealing with it almost wrote himself. No WWE title, no Shane O’Mac, no WrestleMania plan for Theory. Take the man to SmackDown, give him the IC title and build both of their reputations at the event and beyond.
The Deadman enters.
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