As I (and a majority of other online wrestling journalists) have been saying since the match was first announced, the general consensus is that there is no way there will be a single unified champion after the TLC pay-per-view. The WWE has deservingly lost the faith and trust of their fans the past four months with shows like Night of Champions and Battleground ending in Dusty finishes, leaving those who paid their hard-earned money feeling foolish. So why would we believe it will be any different at TLC when we've been burned so many times lately?
Apparently Triple H and the rest of the people backstage have access to the Internet and read these types of reactions, because the overlying theme of Raw this week was to try as desperately as possible to convince everyone that the match won't have a bullshit finish. From the various times past champions were listed to me almost dying of alcohol poisoning from taking a shot every time someone called the TLC match "historic" or "11 years in the making", it was clear they wanted to put these doubts to bed. Unfortunately, it didn't work.
I mentioned this on the podcast before, but since when did the World Heavyweight Championship's lineage go back the NWA? I clearly remember the original WCW Championship (which was renamed the World Championship after the Invasion ended) being unified with the WWE Championship and deactivated by Chris Jericho, with Eric Bischoff pulling the current World Heavyweight Championship out of a briefcase and handing it to Triple H in 2002. Even the title history for the title as listed on WWE's own website lists this as the start of the championship. The WWE does tend to enjoy rewriting history for the sake of making the company look bigger and better than they were, but as a WCW fan growing up it bothers me that they attempt to elevate their secondary world championship artificially.
The main problem of this upcoming match isn't just the lingering doubts of an actual finish, but that it is John Cena facing Randy Orton once again. This match has happened so many times before, and none of the past matches were particularly great. I know this because throughout Raw they made it a point to show highlights of the various matches these two have had before. Oddly enough, they didn't show anything from their absolutely dreadful Iron Man Match a few years back. Both men have been in the WWE for over ten years now, so it shouldn't be a surprise these two have crossed paths before. But had these past encounters been on the level of The Rock vs. Austin as the WWE seems to want to believe they were, this match would be a big deal.
It's a shame that these two have the main event once again while talents like Daniel Bryan are pushed down the card and Antonio Cesaro hasn't been given an opportunity on the big stage. Should the WWE shock the world and actually go through with creating the Unified Championship (which is a horrible name, and I hate everyone who voted for it), this will create less opportunities for these men. The World Heavyweight Championship has been irrelevant for the past couple years, but it is still a world championship that could serve as a testing ground for superstars to see if they can make it over when the focus is on them. Sure, the Intercontinental and United States Championships should serve this purpose, but I'm sure you had to pause for a second to remember that Dean Ambrose holds the U.S. Title due to it being cast aside for The Shield's current program with CM Punk. Maybe one less championship will cause them to step it up with booking these midcard titles, but that's maybe asking too much. And that's only if the WWE doesn't prove us all right with a Dusty finish at TLC.
Heel Turn Notebook is a wrestling column that serves as a supplement for the Zonecasts: Heel Turn podcast. To listen to the show, please check out http://www.ozoneent.com/zonecasts/heelturn/.