WWE announced the World Heavyweight Championship on Monday Night Raw, revealing a new belt that is immediately second tier to Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns is approaching 1,000 days as WWE Undisputed Champion. Along the way, he’s finished every top contender in the men’s division. His run of dominance created the question of who the man WWE will tap as the one to get the stratospheric push that comes with taking that title off Reigns’s waist. The answer? None. WWE decided to go in the direction of revealing a new championship that will take the place of the WWE Championship. This is a move that many feared as it has a widespread impact and is the wrong solution to the problem.
WWE Night of Champions 2023 will come from the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, May 27. There, two individuals will face off for the right to be the first individual to hold WWE’s newest championship. That’s a huge accolade for any wrestler. With names like Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Cody Rhodes, potentially Big E, and many others on the roster, there is a slew of names that would fit perfectly in that role.
But winning that belt immediately denotes someone as the number two champion in the promotion. WWE’s brand split creates the opportunity to elevate two individuals in such a way that both can become superstars, with fans debating who would come out as the top title holder. Roman Reigns’s run with the championship and the promotion’s decision to keep him from losing kills that momentum before it even gets off the ground.
There’s a recent example of what happens when two champions are built up before facing off. Alex Hammerstone and Jacob Fatu were two champions on a collision course in Major League Wrestling (MLW). When the two men faced off at MLW Fightland in October 2021, that match felt like a huge ordeal, even in a smaller promotion. WWE could easily create a similar moment, but they’ve put themselves in an uphill battle with the announcement of this championship and not having Roman Reigns lose at WrestleMania 39.
Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair are the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Champions respectively. When the two ladies face off at some point, it will be a huge ordeal set to establish the biggest star in the women’s division. The same can’t happen with the men’s division and this new championship. Reigns’s immediately has the firepower to denigrate any champion that has the belt simply by saying it was created because [insert title holder] couldn’t defeat him.
Will it be exciting to watch the build to a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion? Yes. Does this title immediately carry the cache as being a top champion in the promotion? No. WWE decision-makers painted themselves in this position and now they have a massive hole to climb out of in the weeks leading to Night of Champions and long after.