Championships are an integral part of any sport, but in pro-wrestling, they are used to separate the elite from the rest with no offseason.
Title matches are usually kept for larger wrestling events, like monthly pay-per-views (PPV) or premiere television shows like WWE Raw or TNA iMPACT. In WWE’s case, they have eight championships (including the NXT titles), with over a dozen defunct ones.
But over the course of the last 10 years, some of wrestling’s most notable titles have been dropped or unified, for one reason or another. After all, a wrestling promotion doesn’t need close to 10 championships, since it would devalue the history of the belts, and even more so, the legitimacy of such wrestlers and the promotion itself.
However, with WWE giving both the Intercontinental and United States Championships a much-needed boost since WrestleMania 31 by having main eventers hoist the gold, it would only be fitting to speculate if WWE could afford to throw another title or two in the mix. It may be unlikely for any of these titles to show up on WWE television any time soon, yet considering WCW had some memorable championships as well, WWE has plenty of options to bring back a belt and build some brand new divisions.
Here are 10 championships WWE should consider bringing back, even though they can’t afford to pick all of them:
10 Hardcore Championship - WWE
While it’s highly unlikely the current WWE product would approve of the type of hardcore matches that made the Attitude Era infamous, the main roster does have its fair share of brawlers to fit the part.
Hardcore title matches were very hit and miss, but also extremely entertaining, and with a bit of fine tuning, there’s no question observers would get similar joy watching championship matches contested on a 24/7 basis. They don't need as many weapons, either. Some title hopefuls would be guys like Dean Ambrose or Luke Harper, not to mention natural aggressors like Kevin Owens or Sheamus.
9 Martial Arts Championship - WWE
In 1978, Antonio Inoki was crowned the first Martial Arts Champion, as part of WWE's partnership with NJPW. The last wrestler to hold the title was The Great Muta in 1992, after only four different champions wore the strap between that time.
WWE normally shies away from the MMA world and the UFC in general, though it has housed Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock before, and Ronda Rousey did make a memorable appearance at this year's WrestleMania. If this belt would end up coming back, all fingers would point to Rusev for bringing the title back, even though the current WWE Universe probably wouldn't have the patience for "martial arts matches."
8 World Six-Man Tag Team Championship - WCW
Back in 1991, WCW crowned Junkyard Dog, Tommy Rich, and Ricky Morton as the first-ever World Six-Man Tag Team Champions, after the NWA would abandon the championship almost three years prior. WWE doesn’t have a whole lot of trios in contrast to Chikara or NJPW, yet teams like The New Day could set the tone for a six-man tag team championship.
Considering The Wyatt Family and The Shield don’t exist anymore, the WWE could get creative by establishing new partnerships, not to mention work on pre-existing ones, like having three members of The Authority introduce the title (Seth Rollins and J&J Security, perhaps), or even bring in the stars of NXT for an invasion of sorts. There’s no denying the matches would be fun.
7 Million Dollar Championship - WWE
This one is a bit tricky, considering a true heel that is money-driven could only the fit the part as a Million Dollar Champion. Besides the title being a large part of Ted DiBiase’s gimmick, only Virgil and “The Ringmaster” Steve Austin got their hands on it (both former associates of The Million Dollar Man), before the WWE Hall of Famer’s son, Ted DiBiase Jr., brought it back in 2010 for a forgetful run.
If DiBiase grants permission, the title would be perfect for someone like The Miz, fitting well with his Hollywood persona, or even one of The Prime Time Players, who could split up again and feud over a belt worth “millions of dollars.” But that’s wishful thinking at this point in their relationship.
6 Women’s Tag Team Championship - WWE
WWE may want to add some more value to its Divas division by unearthing a title that was shelved in the late-1980s, considering the amount of tag team matches we’re used to seeing the women compete in.
If officials truly want to give Divas a chance, the women of WWE and NXT could join forces and compete for the Women’s Tag Team Championship, last held by The Glamour Girls.
This would give the division the boost it needs and deserves, along with more time for the women wrestlers to showcase their talents. Also, Tamina wouldn’t have to serve as a bodyguard time and time again.
5 Women’s Championship - WWE
Some may find this inclusion cheeky, considering there's already a WWE Divas title and an NXT belt reserved for the up and coming women of Wednesday nights. However, much like ROH’s Pure Championship, WWE could add yet another title in the women’s division, with the defunct Women’s Championship reserved for the more technical and stiffer wrestlers who enjoy telling stories, like Natalya, Paige, and Charlotte.
The Divas Championship should serve the women who see themselves more as glamorous figures, considering there is a reality show dedicated to the private lives of the women of wrestling. The women’s title, on the other hand, could provide fans with 20-minute matches featuring showdowns between pure wrestlers. It seems highly unlikely WWE would add another singles title in the women’s division, yet not every woman in WWE needs to be labeled as a “diva,” considering some women view themselves more as pro-wrestlers.
4 Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship - WCW
One of the more interesting things WCW did in 2001 was hold a tournament for Cruiserweight tag teams, with the winners being crowned the first Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions. Only Kid Romeo & Alix Skipper and The Filthy Animals had title runs before WWE bought out WCW. With the amount of Cruiserweights and Cruiserweight tag teams in WWE, adding another tag title dedicated to the lower weight class could be intriguing.
NJPW have belts reserved for Junior Heavyweight tag teams, who compete apart from the heavier tandems. Teams like The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores could feud over these proposed belts, with the titles being contested on PPV pre-shows and WWE Superstars every so often. Multiple tag belts can be confusing at times, especially without a brand split (NXT also have their own tag champions), but not if they’re dedicated to Cruiserweights.
3 European Championship - WWE
The European Championship instantly became one of WWE’s major singles titles in 1997, with a fitting champion like The British Bulldog as the first to claim gold. Shortly after, legends like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Owen Hart, Kurt Angle, and Eddie Guerrero would all become memorable champions. The title was unified with the Intercontinental Championship in 2002, as Rob Van Dam stood as the last athlete to win the belt.
It’s hard to say where the title would fit in the programming these days, but seeing how WWE has a good crop of Europeans on the roster, including Sheamus, King Barrett, Cesaro, and Rusev, there are plenty of storylines and angles to be covered.
2 Television Championship - WCW/ECW
Serving as the second major singles title in Ring of Honor and the now-defunct ECW, this championship highlighted the best wrestler working on television. The United States title was more prestigious in WCW, yet the promotion would grant the championship to some of its best wrestlers in the company.
If WWE would consider bringing this title back, it should focus on lower to mid-card talents, and by the same token, give more reason to tune into shows like Main Event or SmackDown by having the title defended on a weekly basis (just like WWE is doing with John Cena and his United States title on Raw, minus the consistent open challenges). The titleholder doesn’t need to be the best guy on television, but certain individuals like “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt, “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” or “The Show Off” could really elevate their status by having a title around their waist, especially if they’re competing on television on a weekly basis.
1 Cruiserweight Championship - WCW/WWE
In WWE quarters, talents in lower weight classes were often refereed to as Junior Heavyweights or Light Heavyweights, but WCW truly put a label on those types of wrestlers by establishing a respectable Cruiserweight division.
With former champions such as Rey Mysterio Jr., Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho responsible for putting on some of the division’s best matches, WWE tried to continue WCW’s legacy post-Invasion, yet there seemed to be a shortage of wrestlers under 230 pounds.
However, the obsession with big and muscular body types is wearing thin, considering some of the best action in WWE comes from the likes of Neville, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze, who are just a few names that can fill a potential division alongside WWE veterans like Stardust, Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd and Kofi Kingston.
Cruiserweight championship matches frequently stole the show on PPV events in both WCW and WWE, too, and it would be a no-brainer for the promotion to welcome back a prestigious title and build another home for those dedicated to fast-paced and action-packed contests.