Brock Lesnar re-signing has changed the landscape of the WWE.
Sure, he's been WWE World Heavyweight Champion since August, but the fact that he'll be around on a part time basis for an even longer defined period switches things up even more. The WWE may or may not have forecast having a part-time World champion, but now they have one, and he's a major success. Now is the time to pull the trigger and make the remaining championships mean something.
All four remaining titles are in prime position for that. The Divas division has seen their time substantially increased over the past week, and met with excellent crowd reactions. The tag team division has a brilliant technical team atop as champions, despite the fact that they lose repeatedly on TV. Still, the mold has been cast and there's promise for these two divisions.
Lesnar's contract has a ripple effect, and it changes the entire WrestleMania card. All of a sudden prime time players like John Cena, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose are in excellent positions to carry the WWE torch in Brock Lesnar's frequent absences. Names and faces like this could erase the cloudy recent history of the Intercontinental Championship.
Let's set something straight: the Intercontinental Championship wasn't quite the launching pad everyone makes it out to be. Until Triple H's run in 1996, only five men would hold the Intercontinental Title before winning the WWF Title. Five times in 26 years. That underwent a major change for a small period of time with guys like Helmsley, The Rock and Steve Austin. It didn't last.
The United States Championship served as a launching pad for Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, Barry Windham, John Cena, and a few others, but had another inconsistent history. Until Rusev took the championship last year, the title was a victim to even booking that resulted in nobody getting over, even the champion.
This Sunday is a real chance for the WWE to change things, but they have to be committed. If Daniel Bryan, John Cena or Rusev walk away as with the secondary titles, the perception changes. Rusev has already been booked well enough to help that, a win over Cena solidifies it, but just like anything, fans have to be conditioned. It wouldn't hurt to have the two live event loops headlined by a strong secondary champion, either.
I know, I know. Sometimes it seems too far gone, but it can and has been done. Shinsuke Nakamura in New Japan with the IWGP Intercontinental Title. Rob Van Dam in ECW with the World Television Title. Jay Lethal right now in ROH with their World Television title. The aforementioned Nakamura even headlined Wrestle Kingdom 8 by defending his title. The prestigious IWGP World Championship took co-main honors, and it was determined by a fan vote.
In order to change the fans' perceptions, your champions can't be booked as total losers. If your champions look like dorks, so will the championship itself. Could you imagine if Bad News Barrett went 1-15 over the months leading to WrestleMania, only to retain? How infurtiating would that be?
Barrett is a loser. It's an unfortunate scenario, but that's how he's been booked. He keeps losing, losing and losing. It's a far cry from him being booked well (and booked to go over clean) in his IC title run before his injury, but it's the direction the WWE has decided to go. If for some reason Barrett went over after not scoring a pin in nine straight TV matches, it'd be insulting the fans. It'd sure make a great Barrett promo, but is that really worth it?
For the Intercontinental title match, Daniel Bryan is the way to go. He's a huge star, and perceived as one. Bryan going head to head with anyone gets a reaction and makes that person more important. A nice run of show-stealing matches featuring Bryan and Barrett, Ziggler, or anyone else would go a long way in improving the stock and the mystique of the championship. Wins and losses have to matter.
On the other end of the spectrum, either John Cena or Rusev can walk away with the United States Championship and it seem important. There's one big difference though, John Cena can face anyone as U.S. champ and it'd work out, but Rusev would need to face names near the top of the card.
The WWE has an opportunity to undo decades' worth of damage to their championships. The fans want it, the wrestlers want it, why wouldn't WWE?