The World Heavyweight Championship always played second fiddle to the WWE Championship before they were merged, almost taking the role the Intercontinental Championship played at times. WWE would try to book it as an equal title, but we all knew the WWE Championship was the priority.
The United States and IC titles have not been used all that well since Randy Orton merged the WWE and World titles, but that is about to change.
Now that the titles have merged, the actual midcard titles will begin to play a bigger role in WWE, and the new U.S. and IC champions will help bring them back to their former glory.
The U.S. title spent way too long around Dean Ambrose's waist because he was never going to be in a storyline that did not involve The Shield, and the IC title was on an untested Big E, someone the fans are still getting to know.
Now we have two credible, entertaining champions. There's Sheamus, who is a very reliable performer and always featured in some kind of program, and Wade Barrett, a man who has taken what should have been a terrible gimmick and made it great.
Sheamus has been in and out of the world title scene since his debut with the company, but this is not the first U.S. title he has held.
His first run was to build him back up after he was pushed to the WWE title too early in his run. Now he is a top star who can help give the U.S. title a little prestige.
There have even been rumors, per ProWrestling.net (via Wrestle Zone), of Sheamus being used as the third member of Evolution once Batista leaves to do promotional work for Guardian of the Galaxy.
A heel turn would almost certainly signal a push for The Celtic Warrior, and if the Evolution rumors are true, it could mean an even bigger spotlight on Sheamus and the U.S. title.
The midcard titles are considered the work-horse titles, and Sheamus is definitely a worker. All his matches have a high level of energy and intensity, usually making him one of the more consistent performers on the roster.
Sheamus is a main event talent who just happens to not be in the main event at the moment. Putting the U.S. title on him was a good way to make it seem more desirable.
Barrett, on the other hand, has been right on the cusp of being a main event player several times, but for one reason or another, his push has always been halted.
He has feuded with the likes of Randy Orton and John Cena, and he has lost matches to guys who aren't even around anymore.
This time feels different. This time it seems like Barrett has found a comfortable character that lets him show some of his charisma and have a bit of fun while still being a bad guy.
In fact, he has played Bad News Barrett so well that fans are beginning to show him support with chants and cheers, even when he is insulting every person in the building during every promo. When you can do that, you have something special.
The Rock is a great example of someone who insulted the crowd as a heel in such an entertaining way that fans had almost no choice but to laugh and cheer for him. Barrett is no Rock, but he doesn't have to be.
Barrett had a great match with Big E at Extreme Rules to win his fourth IC title, and considering how well he has been booked since finally returning to the ring after a lengthy build, it looks like the IC title might actually matter again.
With only one top title to chase, WWE has to make the IC and U.S. titles seem more interesting, and having Sheamus and Barrett as champions is definitely a good start.
They will work to make the titles seem important to them, and hopefully they will be featured in more prominent feuds with bigger stars while everyone waits for their turn for a shot at Daniel Bryan and his title.
What do you think? Will the U.S. and IC titles become more important with Sheamus and Barrett as champions?
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