Last Monday night, The Rock opened the show to soak in his WrestleMania win a bit and after going through his usual shtick, he made it clear that is next goal is to win the WWE Championship for an eighth time. I was intrigued by this; to me, it indicates that The Rock is at least going to upgrade his status to part-time and might even be wrestling more often than The Undertaker and Triple H.
I've seen more than a few folks on Twitter and other blogs respond to that with "Rock doesn't need it," "plenty of other guys deserve it more" and "it should be used to elevate new talent."
Sorry, but you can't complain about titles being meaningless then turn around and say something like that. No, The Rock doesn't "need" the WWE Title, but the WWE Title might need him. When you use the supposed richest prize in the game as nothing more than a tool to elevate someone to the next level, they might be moving up, but the title is being pulled down to their level and they're meeting in this weakened middle ground. And that's the exact problem with the star power of the WWE roster since guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar left, they're main eventers, but they're nowhere near the level of the mega stars of the 90s. Cena's big, but his star power is tightly wound into the star power of the WWE brand in general.
This shift was by design, WWE would rather their name carry the brand than a handful of guys who could leave for the greener pastures of MMA or Hollywood, but now that those guys are coming back, now is the best time to elevate new stars since they left. Think about it, what makes Dolph Ziggler look better? Being the guy that wins the WWE Title in the third or fourth most important match at WrestleMania 29 or being the guy that beats The Rock for the WWE Title? If you want Sheamus to be a guy whose name you can put on the marquee, he's going to gain much more by merely working with Brock Lesnar than destroying Daniel Bryan.
I'm not opposed to some matches being above the WWE Title, Rock vs. Cena absolutely should've been the main event of WrestleMania and it didn't need the WWE Title, but let's not act like Punk, Jericho, Bryan and Sheamus were better off for it. Their matches - and the titles that were on the line - were not as important, they weren't even as important as Triple H vs. The Undertaker. So as WWE enters this new phase where they have several huge dream matches they could run, the WWE Title is going to have to enter the equation, or else it will become completely irrelevant.
I'm sure many fans are concerned about a WCW situation where the "old" guys (you know, the 34-year-old Brock Lesnar and 39-year-old Rock... totally ancient) have a stranglehold on the top title, but we're talking entirely different companies in entirely different places. Lesnar and Rock aren't Hogan and Nash, they don't have to protect their spot, because their spots aren't in WWE. They're back to help out and make money, sure, but neither are permanent fixtures who are in a position to need or want to "hold people down."
We can debate whether or not WWE uses them right or if they let the regular member of the rosters fall by the wayside while promoting the part-timers, but if the goal is to make WWE a bigger deal, improve the health of the industry and make the championships worth something again, then yeah, The Rock needs the WWE Title.