The first post-draft episode of SmackDown LIVE brought a new energy to the blue brand in WWE.
The show bristles with a fresh feeling for a lot of the superstars featuring on the roster. However, one aspect of the show that unfortunately did not feel new was the Intercontinental Championship, and the continued lack of direction for its champion The Miz.
WWE need to correct its mindset as it pertains to the IC belt, or risk allowing it to fall further into irrelevance.
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Here are three ways they can bring new life to the Intercontinental Championship.
Feature the Belt More Prominently
At the start of SmackDown LIVE, the entire roster of superstars stood on the ring apron. The segment was capped off by the introduction of the WWE Champion and the announcement for the number one contenders match.
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The problem came when you noticed that the second biggest champion on the show was not only overlooked for the chance at the championship, but was just another spectator on the outside of the ring.
The WWE could have simply had The Miz standing in the ring with the managers and be acknowledged as the champion. They could have pointed out that the champion is on the show and called out how important that was.
It is understandable that the WWE Champion should get the big entrance and be the focal point of the segment, but The Miz is almost an afterthought to everyone at this point. He is working hard to bring attention to the belt, and officials should be working right with him to do the same.
Perhaps on the next episode of SmackDown, general manager Daniel Bryan could ask for a number one contender to be named. They could have a moment to praise the championship pedigree of the IC belt by staging some kind of gullet match to find a new challenger for the belt.
They would need to center the show on the prize of challenging for the belt in order to give it some importance. Maybe dedicating a significant amount of time for the next show on the belt could give the potential SummerSlam match some more buzz.
Next Big Stars Step Up
The Intercontinental belt is a milestone belt in many ways.
It acts as the belt for the next big time superstar to hold before moving up to the main event. It is also the belt for mid-card talent to go for, who might not necessarily be the next big thing.
Either way, WWE needs to have some of its hottest young stars compete for an opportunity to hold the IC championship. They could have Apollo Crews interrupt a Miz TV segment. He could then demand that The Miz gives him a title shot, all the while putting the importance of the belt front and center.
Other talent like Baron Corbin, or even Bray Wyatt, could make a plea to challenge the champion. For Wyatt this would be the first major tittle he would hold. A match between Wyatt and Miz at SummerSlam could be just what the division needs to give it new life.
Have the Champ Win
The Miz may not be the most well liked guy by WWE fans, but he is still the Intercontinental Champion.
He is a great heel and a good worker that does the best he can to legitimise his championship. It does not help to have him continue to lose on a regular basis in big matches against top names.
Except for the time spent away filming his latest movie, The Miz has lost main event singles matches to Dean Ambrose on Raw and SmackDown.
He lost on SmackDown LIVE's first post-draft show to Randy Orton and was a part of a bizarre ending to Daren Young at Battleground. Miz needs to be a credible heel champion. He needs to win some matches or they will continue to discredit the belt.
WWE needs to continue to work on the Intercontinental Championship and how it functions within its programming. Championship belts help give superstars an added aura when making a push. They help set up story lines and put careers on the line.
What can WWE do to make the Intercontinental Championship more prestigious? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!