On last night’s episode of WWE Main Event, broadcast live on the WWE Network, Intercontinental champion Big E was given the nod over contender Dolph Ziggler, extending his reign to 128 days and counting.
But was a successful Big E title defense the best possible outcome for last night’s event?
In his 128 day reign, Big E has done little to nothing worth noting with the belt. Blame it on poor booking, but his reception from the fans has been lukewarm at best, and his reign has done little to enhance the meaning and prestige of the Intercontinental title. In a world where the man makes the belt and not vice versa, Big E has been a disappointment to the Intercontinental title, being only a slight upgrade over Curtis Axel, the man he beat for the belt.
WWE had everything to gain and nothing to lose by having Big E drop the belt to Dolph Ziggler last night.
Dolph Ziggler is an established fan favorite, an individual who routinely over-performs when given the opportunity. Though still a bit rough on the mic, Ziggler’s skills in the ring and his curious appeal are unquestioned.
Both Big E and Dolph Ziggler would have benefited from a title change last night. Dolph Ziggler as Intercontinental champion would legitimize the IC belt and potentially revitalize Ziggler’s career, while Big E without the title would be given opportunities to grow and actually forge a character and personality distinct from the title belt, perhaps a character closer to the one that allowed him to become so over in NXT.
Instead, Big E is stuck with a belt that becomes increasingly forgettable in his hands, and Ziggler looks primed to once again be lost in the mix of an incredibly promising but criminally underutilized midcard.
At a time when it seems the midcard has no clear direction or purpose, WWE missed a prime opportunity to establish an instantly over midcard champion, as well as the opportunity to enhance the importance of the Main Event brand, giving people incentive to watch the C show by establishing its importance to the midcard titles and performers.
At a time when WWE has been pushing individuals to watch Main Event on the WWE Network to stress test for Wrestlemania, having a mediocre champ overcome the incredibly over challenger who had already wrestled earlier that evening seems to be a poor way to convince viewers to tune in next week.
In the long run, the potential of last night’s Main Event was completely wasted.
And that’s a shame.