It has been two weeks since Seth Rollins emerged victorious as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Since then, we have already witnessed him defending his hard-earned title against Damien Priest on Raw.

In what was a thrilling match — probably the best match on Raw this year — Rollins and Priest took each other to the limit. It was a match that kept the crowd guessing, even with most knowing the likelihood of Priest winning wasn't that strong. In doing so, they told one of the better stories of the year, and possibly setting up what looks to be Rollins next opponent, fellow Judgment Day member, Finn Balor.

A history of titles

It seems clear what direction WWE is wanting to take with this new title (although that's about the only clear thing about it). They want to make this the “workhorse title,” the one that will be defended any time a match is requested for it. They want strong, competitive, storytelling matches like the one we all saw on Raw on Monday. Even Triple H said as much in his initial announcement for the title. But there in lies the problem.

While professional wrestling storytelling is often convoluted, one major contributing factor has been the frequent rebranding of titles over the years, particularly since WWE acquired WCW from Ted Turner more than two decades ago. As WWE became the sole dominant force in the industry for an extended period, they expanded their roster and introduced additional championships. With the separation of Raw and SmackDown rosters, the confusion surrounding title lineages only intensified.

From that point forward, it became an intricate puzzle to decipher which lineage belonged to which title, and when a title was either new or revived. The Intercontinental Title, for instance, underwent multiple halts and restarts, and it was only with Gunther's lengthy reign that fans started to regain faith in its significance. Additionally, there were the rather peculiar titles like the Hardcore and 24/7 Championships, which occasionally provided comedic moments but lacked any semblance of coherence.

However, it is the primary titles of the company, whether labeled the World Heavyweight Title, Universal Title, Undisputed Title, or WWE Title, that have suffered the most substantial loss of clarity. Why? Simply because WWE keeps rebranding and introducing new titles.

How can fans believe in something that might not even exist in the next five years? True, the World Heavyweight Championship exists now, but what happens when WWE decides to merge the titles again? What occurs when they eliminate the brand split, only to reinstate it later? Titles are meant to embody history, lineage, and legacy, not uncertainty. It seems that WWE now creates new titles merely for the purpose of selling them on WWE Shop.

Although Rollins is undoubtedly capable of lending credibility to this current iteration of the World Heavyweight Championship, it still feels somewhat lacking. The title carries a secondary aura, much like the Intercontinental Championship once did. And while there's inherently nothing wrong with that, it creates less comparisons and more contrasting to Roman Reigns' Undisputed Title.

There was a time when the Intercontinental Title held a similar position to what the newly introduced World Heavyweight Title now represents. It served as the workhorse title, frequently defended and held by some of the industry's finest performers. Moreover, it acted as a stepping stone for potential contenders vying for the WWE Championship. Throughout WWE's extensive history, legendary figures like Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock all held the Intercontinental Title before eventually capturing the WWE Championship.

This rich history has influenced the perception of the World Heavyweight Title today. Historical context shapes the understanding and appreciation of these titles, whether new or resurrected. Adding to the disparity, Reigns title has been branded as the “Undisputed Champion,” further solidifying its status as the pinnacle of all championships within the company.

Can the World Heavyweight Title ever attain the same level of prestige?

In WWE, the significance of a title often rests upon the individual who holds it. Rollins is undeniably one of the company's hottest stars at the moment, enjoying a remarkable run as a babyface. However, this is the era of Reigns. He unequivocally stands out as the biggest star in the company and will likely retain that position for the foreseeable future, particularly as long as the Bloodline storyline continues. Ultimately, it comes down to who the company decides to anoint as “the guy.” And therein lies another challenge when it comes to having two main titles. In the past, with just one primary championship, whether “the guy” possessed the title or not, he was always one match away from being part of the title picture.

Whomever WWE focuses on becomes the individual holding the most prestigious title at that given time. That's just a fact.

Under Triple H's creative direction, there is a glimmer of hope that this new World Heavyweight Title will gain significant importance. Raw will now feature a weekly champion, and if Monday's episode serves as any indication, we can expect frequent title defenses on the show. This idea benefits both live attendees and viewers at home alike.