There's Way Too Many Titles In All Elite Wrestling

12/1/2023 5:33 AM

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There's Way Too Many Titles In All Elite Wrestling

There's Way Too Many Titles In All Elite Wrestling

December 1, 2023 5:33 AM
There's Way Too Many Titles In All Elite Wrestling
AEW News

Tony Khan is flooding AEW with too many singles titles.

Several weeks ago, Tony Khan and Daniel Bryan introduced the Continental Classic; a round-robin style tournament that feels like AEW’s version of the G1 Climax. Then it was revealed that the winner would be a triple crown winner.

Eddie Kingston confirmed that his ROH World and NJPW Strong Openweight titles are on the line in each of his tournament matches. It was also revealed that the winner will become the first-ever AEW Continental Champion. What a Continental Champion is remains to be known at this time, but Tony Khan adding another title to its bloated roster does more harm than good to AEW.

Adding Another Men’s Title Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Here are the number of singles titles in AEW’s current regime: International, TNT, and AEW World Championship. Exactly what separates these titles? We understand that the AEW World Title is the biggest prize in the company, but how is it different from the other two? Every man on the roster can challenge for them. There aren’t any specific rules or requirements for any of these belts.

AEW tried to do something different with the International belt when PAC first held it. However, plans for the championship to be defended in different territories were ultimately scrapped. The reason places like UFC or Boxing have so many championships is that each one is defined by a different weight class. There’s a reason Conor McGregor never fought Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier squaring up against Demetrius Johnson for the Flyweight title; These men are in different weight classes so stylistically, they don’t match up because it’s clear who the winner and loser will be.

The AEW Belts All Feel The Same

AEW doesn’t have any weight classes. Samoa Joe and MJF are not the same in terms of weight, but there are no restrictions for Joe to challenge for the title. Even Darby Allin can challenge for any of the belts in the company. But it’s not just about weight, nothing is separating these belts from making them feel different. The ROH Pure Championship has a specific set of rules that the division must follow. The Hardcore title was a belt where the champion had to defend it 24/7. Even New Japan’s Heavyweight division requires that the men competing must reach a certain weight. 

In fact, New Japan Pro-Wrestling is a shining example of having different divisions based on weight class. Even if Tony Khan added some rules to make the Continental title stand out from the other belts, it would still feel like too much. The International and TNT titles are essentially the same thing. There’s no point to these mid-card belts and one of them should be retired immediately. 

Adding A New Championship Doesn’t Fix Storytelling Problems

The fewer titles you have on your roster, the better. It makes the same collection of belts feel more prestigious since everyone is fighting for something rare and valuable. The big reason that this belt feels pointless is because it doesn’t fix character development and telling meaningful stories. 

Hangman Page and Swerve Strickland are coming off a highly praised match based on a feud that’s been raved about by fans and critics. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it exemplifies the point that a belt isn’t necessary to tell an incredible story. Some of the best stories in professional wrestling do circle around a title. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Micheals, or The Dudleys vs. The Hardys vs. Edge & Christian to name a few. 

But those matches were elevated because of the stories surrounding their incredible title bouts. The meat of the story was masterfully woven into their respective matches that made them such classics. Tony Khan has a stacked roster filled with some of the best wrestlers on the planet. Plenty of them have different wrestling styles and personalities. AEW would be better off mixing personal and title feuds - the former can help give a necessary dimension to characters that can elevate them into a top-level status of chasing for the big prize someday.

I’m aware that bringing in another belt on a huge roster doesn’t stop this pattern. But given the limited screen time, most wrestlers have now, Tony is likely going to give more focus to the champions over giving the spotlight to personal feuds like Santana and Ortiz, who were delegated to Rampage status despite being some of the best talkers and wrestlers in the business. 

Perhaps Tony Khan will see the light and eventually get rid of a belt. WWE had unnecessary titles throughout the company’s history and they wisely put them to rest after realizing that they didn’t add much value to the overall brand. The Continental tournament itself should be great, but the prospect of another belt in AEW is eye-rolling.