The Intercontinental Championship is the only title in WWE with an actual division. It’s the only title being sought after through multiple angles. By combining a couple of storylines the […]
The Intercontinental Championship is the only title in WWE with an actual division. It’s the only title being sought after through multiple angles. By combining a couple of storylines the title isn’t just a belt, but an actual prestigious prize on the minds of more than just the wrestler who happens to be in a program with the champion.
The booking to set up what appears to be turning into a fatal four-way at Extreme Rules is a little questionable. Why is Sami Zayn involved in the picture if he lost cleanly to Kevin Owens at Payback? Why isn’t Cesaro blaming Zayn as much as Owens for costing him his title shot against Miz?
But the angle creates a true IC division, a group of wrestlers vying for the championship because of its importance and the opportunity it represents. I’m willing to let the holes in the story go because, big picture, I like what is being created. The IC title is important again, and the wrestlers involved are both getting and giving the rub. It’s a symbiotic relationship right now, and the audience appreciates what they’re seeing, based on their reactions.
A little while ago I started recognizing the IC belt as “my” belt. It’s WWE’s division that most piques my interest. Owens. Zayn. Cesaro. Hell, even The Miz are all atop my list of best Superstars on the show right now, and they’re all involved with the Intercontinental angle. Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose and Zack Ryder have all held the IC title since last Wrestlemania. Ryback has actually had the longest reign in that time, holding it for 112 days, but we’ll chalk that up to WWE taking a swing for the fences and hitting themselves in the back of the head with the bat.
In the idea that Raw is a variety show, with something for everyone, the IC title is what was on the show for me. But recently, there has been a focus on it. To kickoff the first Raw of the Shane and Stephanie McMahon joint venture, Owens and the IC Championship were the first issues they addressed, creating a No. 1 contender match for Miz’s belt between the Prizefighter and Swiss Superman, drawing immediate attention to the fact that in the new era, the IC title matters.
The Roman Reigns/AJ Styles/Bullet Club angle is the most intriguing World Heavyweight Championship story in a long while, but the dynamic between Styles and his running buddies, and what may happen between them while The Phenomenal One pursues the WWE title is as much a part of the story as the biggest prize in the company.
Owens blaming Zayn for costing him the title in the ‘Mania ladder match, and wanting his rematch once he’d vanquished his nemesis, ties the storylines together and creates continuity, a key for establishing the stature of the title and elevating the talent fighting for it. Fans being able to say “X caused Y which caused Z” creates clarity and emotional investment. Emotional investment, as well as some of the best in-ring talent the company has ever had on its roster, has made the IC Championship WWE’s hottest title.