Mat Matters: How often should Brock Lesnar defend his title?
MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling
|Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman at the end of SummerSlam. Photo by R.P. Strickland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that Brock Lesnar completely destroyed John Cena at SummerSlam to become a four-time WWE Champion, the question of how often will Lesnar defend his title comes into play. Even before the PPV took place, Brock's advocate, Paul Heyman, said he believed this title needed to be defended much less often. As much as I hate to say it, I do believe fewer WWE championship matches would be best for business.
Lesnar's limited appearances
Since coming back to the WWE back in 2012, Brock has competed in just eight matches, winning six of them. He's scheduled to face Cena at Night of Champions on September 21, which would be his fourth match of the year. Assuming he again beats Cena to retain the title, who, and more specifically, when, would be the next time to expect another title defense? Would the next title defense even take place during this year or would we have to wait for WrestleMania 31?
Earlier this month Heyman had an interview with the Miami Herald about his new WWE DVD, in which he spoke at great length about the WWE title and the possibility of Brock dethroning Cena. If Heyman has his way, there's a good chance those defenses will be few and far between.
According to Heyman, "I think the WWE championship is the defended too often and lost some of the prestige because of the beast of monthly pay-per-views. The champion having to defend on every single pay-per-view, let alone at every single arena, has taken away from the special event that is when a champion defends the title."
With the continued pimping of the WWE Network seemingly at every WWE event, it might seem a little counter-intuitive for the WWE to not want the face of their company at each PPV. However, Paul Heyman upped the ante on Raw following SummerSlam, declaring every Lesnar match from this point on as not just being "must-see" but rather "can't miss." Considering how Lesnar handled Cena at SummerSlam, I'm sure ponying up how ever much the WWE Network costs (you'd think they'd tell us once or twice during their promos)
would be well worth the occasional WWE title defense.
Examples of it being done right
If you want a good example of what Heyman's talking about, look no further than the UFC. Back when Lesnar was the UFC Heavyweight Champion (including his winning and losing of the title) he fought four times in about two years. More importantly, during that time as UFC Champion, there were 26 other UFC PPVs that did not feature Lesnar, meaning UFC didn't rely on Lesnar each and every month.
What about all the other PPVs? This is where the advantage of having multiple titles comes into play. In addition to the heavyweight division, UFC has seven other weight divisions for their men, meaning there are plenty of other titles to fight over if the heavyweight one isn't up for grabs at the moment.
How the WWE can do it right
It's a little different for the WWE because its titles don't relate to weight classes. One of the constant complains about the WWE over the past few years has been the lack of prestige for the secondary titles. If the WWE champion only defends his title just a few times each year, that allows the secondary titles all the more important. Remember the 1992 SummerSlam main evented by Bret Hart and the British Bulldog? That match was for the Intercontinental title, not the world title.
The same thing goes for the U.S., tag and Divas championships. Sheamus won the U.S. title back on May 5 and has actually been spending more time fighting for the other three WWE titles, than he has defending his title. Before Sheamus won the title, Dean Ambrose had the belt for nearly a year and rarely defended the title as well.
Also, don't forget about the tag titles. There's been a resurgence in the WWE tag division, but with the Usos seemingly out of challengers, what's next for the champs? Do they simply wait for the Ascension to leave NXT and face them for the belts? The WWE might want to start forming a few more factions, creating more competition and hopefully more subscribers to the WWE Network.
SummerSlam Photo Gallery
Heels rule, Lesnar runs rampant at SummerSlam
Streaming issues stall Network’s SummerSlam
Countdown to WWE SummerSlam
Previous Mat Matters Editorial columns
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. Which current WWE Superstar do you think can dethrone Brock for the title? How would you handle a part-time WWE champion? Email Matthew your thoughts or suggestions and follow him on Twitter @santavato.