Raging_Demons' 2012 Year In Review Column (Part 2: Title Histories)

(Note: This is Part 2 of the "Year In Review" Column.  To enjoy Part 1 Click Here, while Part 3 is here.)

Let’s start off the “Title Histories” section of the Year In Review.  2012 has been one of the best years for Title Reigns ever since the start of this column’s creation.  In fact the title changes averaged between WWE, TNA, & Ring Of Honor averaged no more than 3 changes for each title this year which is an amazing stat!  We start the “Title Histories” with WWE & RAW’s U.S. Title

United States Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Zack Ryder                         
Ending 12/31/12: Antonio Cesaro
Number of times Title has changed hands: 3

2012 started with Zack Ryder with the U.S. Title & a promise that “change was coming” quoting CM Punk via Twitter.  Unfortunately for Zach Ryder WWE blamed him for a drop in ratings for RAW & Smackdown so they IMMEDIATELY got the title off him & gave it to Jack Swagger.  Swagger tried his hardest to make the title look good but unfortunately for Swagger he made the title look pretty bad & this was the start of Swagger’s losing streak so he lost the title to Santino Marella.  Santino has previous experience as a title holder with the Intercontinental Title & he had some great title runs with the title but in this case his run with the U.S. Title was quite pathetic.  Santino basically killed the U.S. Title with his “face run” hi-jinks which included a feud with Alberto Del Rio’s personal announcer Ricardo Rodriguez!  With a feud that should had been Santino & Alberto Del Rio; Santino basically killed any & all creditability to himself & the U.S. Title.  Santino de-valued the title so much that he lost it to Antonio Cesaro at a Pre-Show PPV Match; a match that never airs on PPV that WWE decides to air for free on Facebook & YouTube!  Cesaro so far has shown some strong matches as the reigning U.S. Title holder but he’s starting a trend by calling the online internet wrestling fans “Keyboard Warriors” that it’s starting to catch on.  Also that WWE has put their faith in the man that it looks like that Cesaro might have a strong run going into 2013 & that’s what the title needs right now after a year of horrible treatment.

Now we go into WWE’s next secondary title & WWE owns the title for 2012 in “Most Title Changes In A Year” & it goes to a title with a troubled past when it comes to title changes on and off throughout the years & if it was any other year this would be fine but in a year when we barely had any title changes this one stands out.  The title in 2012 that goes to “Most Title Changes In A Year” goes to…The WWE Intercontinental Title!

Intercontinental Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Cody Rhodes
Ending 12/31/12: Wade Barrett
Number of times Title has changed hands: 6

Now 6 for the number of title changes in a year would be considered normal for any other year in pro wrestling but in 2012 with the low amount of title changes this year that 6 title changes in a year looked like a lot!  So what happened? 

 Well we start off with Cody Rhodes & his plan to make the Intercontinental Title creditable again & it worked in the beginning.  Cody’s plan worked so well that WWE put him in their list of “Top 25 Greatest Intercontinental Champions of All Time.”  Unfortunately for Cody Rhodes he had to lose the title to notorious “Title Killer” The Big Show.  With this title win Big Show put himself in a rare category as one of the few individuals that has won every WWE Title currently in existence.  Big Show became a “boomerang champion” (winning & losing the title to the same person) as he lost it right back to Cody Rhodes.  Cody didn’t have enough time to enjoy the title as he lost it to Christian.  Now as to Christian with the title nowadays when he became a World Champion in WWE & TNA it seems pretty bizarre to me personally speaking & I really have no reason why he won the title.  Christian’s title run seemed like a demotion to me.  Christian then lost the title to The Miz for the sole reason of making him relevant again but the WWE’s faith in Kofi Kingston, whom had previously in 2012 title with 2 Tag Team Title runs, which made Miz lose the title in him.  Kofi was looking like he was heading towards ending the year with the title causing so much problems on the “Year In Review” but on the New Year’s Eve episode of RAW it was Wade Barrett winning the title.  So what happened here that made this title had a lot of changes?  Well we can blame Big Show for causing it since he wanted to be in the record books; also WWE for trying to push Miz & Christian into relevance again for another reason which isn’t a bad thing except for Christian’s case since he does have the credentials for another World Champion run.  Any other reasons that can be added that I haven’t thought of you can surely add here but in 2013 we’re going to be looking at Wade Barrett starting off his Intercontinental Title run.

Next up are WWE’s cross-promotional titles starting with the Diva’s Title.

Diva's Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Beth Phoenix
Ending 12/31/12: Eve Torres
Number of times Title has changed hands: 3

2012 started with Beth Phoenix with the title & she was very close to breaking the record for the longest Diva’s Title run ever which is currently held by Maryse Oullet.  Unfortunately for Beth Phoenix she had to drop the title to Nikki Bella out of all people to fake an injury storyline.  Now Nikki is as horrible in the ring as her sister Bree, who had a Diva’s Title run in 2011, but the reason that Nikki having the title wasn’t to exploit the whole “SEXY TWINS” shtick & instead the reason Nikki got the title because she was going to be the sacrificial lamb to a returning Kia “Awesome Kong/Kharma” Stevens from her time off due to pregnancy.  Unfortunately those plans never did happen as Kharma was soon released from WWE afterwards but the plans for Nikki Bella did continue but she was a sacrificial lamb to another returning WWE Diva.  Layla El was returning from WWE due to injury so she beat Nikki to win the Diva’s Title.  Layla soon lost the title to Eve “I slept with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Master now I know how to perform Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while having a rumored affair with John Cena” Torres.  Eve had a great year in 2012 becoming the 1st ever WWE Diva to hold the title 4 times while becoming the 1st woman ever to win a Reality TV Show but unfortunately for her Eve is currently suffering from an old curse right now; the “Diva’s Title Curse” that strikes down WWE Divas carrying the title towards the end of the year with injury.  Right now Eve is fine but she’s more of the “walking wounded” type.  So the question remains as to how she’ll carry the title into 2013?

Now we come to WWE’s Tag Team Titles.

WWE Tag Team Titles:
Starting 1/1/12: Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne)
Ending 12/31/12: Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane)
Number of times Title has changed hands: 3

We start out 2012 with the Tag Team that’s supposed to re-boot the WWE Tag Team Division& that would be “Air Boom” which is made up of Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne.  Unfortunately for 2012 this team turned out to be cursed mostly due to Evan Bourne getting a “Strike 2” on the WWE Wellness Policy & by receiving a possible career-ending foot injury.  With Bourne so screwed up the titles were dropped to Primo & Epico.  WWE still has plans for Kofi Kingston in re-booting the ailing Tag-Team division so he got a new partner with R-Truth & won the titles off Primo & Epico.  Now Kofi & R-Truth had a pretty solid Tag Team title run if it wasn’t for one little thing.  In current WWE Storylines Daniel Bryan & Kane were forced to take “Anger Management Classes”; now at first this was a way to get Charlie Sheen on RAW or any WWE PPV because it connects to his FX show “Anger Management”.  The Charlie Sheen plans blew up in WWE’s faces but instead created some great entertainment between Daniel Bryan & Kane that the storylines had them FORCED together to form a bickering, un-cooperative Tag Team that got ridiculously popular with the fans that WWE responded by giving them the Tag Titles.  Weeks later the team of Daniel Bryan & Kane were given their team name via the “#RAWactive” segment on RAW as “Team Hell No.”  Team Hell No is still over with the fans but with the complications of Daniel Bryan & Kane slowly starting to get along in storylines addition to a growing feud with new WWE wrestling stable “The Shield” questions are slowly beginning to be asked if Team Hell No will be able to survive in 2013.

Finally for WWE we are going to take a look at their world titles which means a look at the WWE & World Heavyweight Titles.

WWE Title:
Starting 1/1/12: CM Punk
Ending 12/31/12: CM Punk
Number of times Title has changed hands: 0

A huge change from last year when this title was tied along with the World Heavyweight Title for “Most Title Changes In A Year”.  This is what you want.  ZERO Title Changes!  Last year CM Punk was the primary cause for most of the title changes last year now this year its Punk that SAVED the WWE Title by giving it a long title reign.  Punk currently holds the records for the longest WWE Title reign in the modern era recently by just beating John Cena’s longest title reign & it looks like that Punk will be looking towards beating the WWE Legends.  However though CM Punk has a couple of pretty big obstacles that he needs to survive to keep the record title reign:  The biggest threat that’s going to hit CM Punk soon is in January 2013 in the form of the “Royal Rumble” PPV where he has to face Duane “The Rock” Johnson for the WWE Title.  Various pro wrestling news websites are reporting that Punk will drop the title to The Rock but then again there is also conflicting news saying that Punk will keep the title.  If CM Punk survives The Rock at the “Royal Rumble” PPV while keeping the WWE Title the next obstacle he has to face is “Wrestlemania 29” & Wrestlemania has a history of heel champions that hold the WWE Title, which CM Punk is currently as of this writing, rarely ever retain the title.  Only Triple H & The Miz are the only wrestlers ever to be a heel wrestle able to retain the WWE Title.  If CM Punk can survive The Rock & Wrestlemania then 2013 will be Punk’s!

World Heavyweight Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Daniel Bryan
Ending 12/31/12: The Big Show
Number of times Title has changed hands: 2

On the 2011 “Year In Review” I wrote that Daniel Bryan needed a miracle to make the World Heavyweight Title credible again after last year’s 10 title changes.  Well Daniel Bryan had a miracle but not the one that I wanted; the miracle was replacing the audience chant of “What?” started by WWE Hall Of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to Daniel Bryan’s “YES!” chant.  Daniel Bryan lost the title to Sheamus in an 18 second match at the “Wrestlemania 28” PPV.  The reason Sheamus won the title this way was to give him credibility but instead it pissed off the world!  Pro Wrestling fans were pissed because Daniel Bryan & Sheamus were the Dark Match to Wrestlemania 27 & they wanted to see them really perform while the casual fans felt either ripped off or cheated out of their money.  Never the less Sheamus had the title for awhile until he lost it to The Big Show.  Probably the reason why Big Show has the title is because this was payment from last year when he won the World Heavyweight title & held it less than 45 seconds from 2011.  Now that Big Show has the title which is good & bad news.  Bad news is like I stated for the Intercontinental Title Big Show has a history of being a “Title Killer” but the good news is that he’s carrying over to 2013 with a decent title reign which is something this title needs right now. 

That’s it for the WWE Title Histories and coming up next for the Title Histories is TNA & their respective titles.  2012 was a great year for TNA & their titles because most of their titles had record breaking title reigns!  We start off the TNA Title Histories with the TNA World Title!

TNA World Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Bobby Roode
Ending 12/31/12: Jeff Hardy
Number of times Title has changed hands: 2

2012 started with Booby Roode with the title & boy did he carry it!  Roode’s title reign with the TNA World Title was the longest in the company’s history beating the previous record holder AJ Styles.  Roode’s title reign didn’t last that long after he broke the record thanks to Austin Aries taking advantage of a new clause for X-Division Title holders (See “X-Division Title”) when he loses the title to Aries because TNA wanted to make sure the new clause for X-Division champions would work successfully.  Austin Aries would had a long title reign if it weren’t for Jeff Hardy & his TNA contract about to expire soon so Aries lost to Hardy.  Now Jeff Hardy has another shot with the TNA World Title.  When Hardy had the title in 2010 & the World Heavyweight Title in WWE there were a lot of questions surrounding him mostly because of his history with drug abuse & if it was the smart idea to have the title on him; but now with his personal demons behind him now the question remains is that if he will re-sign with TNA?  If Hardy does stay with TNA the question would be now how long will he hold the title in 2013?

Next up is TNA’s World Tag Team Titles.

TNA World Tag Team Titles:
Starting 1/1/12: Matt Morgan & Crimson
Ending 12/31/12: Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez
Number of times Title has changed hands: 5

2012 started with the random pairing/the ole “let’s make enemies the Tag Team Champions” shtick of Matt Morgan & Crimson.  Ironically enough they lost the titles to another random pairing, but a random pairing that was formed via a tournament, to Samoa Joe & Magnus.  But Samoa Joe & Magnus lost the title to another random pairing, but a random pairing that has a history, to former “Fortune” members Kazarian & Daniels.  Kazarian & Daniels, later named “Bad Influence” then lost the title to ANOTHER random pairing, but a random pairing that was put together due to AJ Styles cannot win the Tag Team Titles as 1 person, to AJ Styles & Kurt Angle.  Then it looks like Styles & Angle became “boomerang champions” right back to Bad Influence.  Bad Influence then lost the titles to ANOTHER random pairing, but a random pairing that was put together to push Chavo Guerrero & the Latino heritage, to Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez.  So far Chavo & Hernandez have just started out on their Tag Team title reign so it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to them in 2013.

Next is the X-Division Title.

X-Division Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Austin Aries
Ending 12/31/12: Rob Van Dam
Number of times Title has changed hands: 3

2012 started with Austin Aries with the title.  Not only did the X-Division was built around him but he broke the record for the longest X-Division Title reign.  The previous record was held by Christopher Daniels.  TNA decided to add something new to the X-Division Title by adding a new clause to it.  The current X-Division Title holder can earn a TNA World Title shot at the “Destination X” PPV but at the cost of surrendering the X-Division Title.  Aries decides to surrender the X-Division Title & in exchange he won the TNA World Title which left the X-Division Title vacant; an “Ultimate X Match” was determined who would hold the title & Zema Ion won the match & the title.  For some odd reason TNA decided to have Zema Ion lose the title to Rob Van Dam out of all people.  Why?  Some people think that like Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam’s contract is expiring soon so giving him the X-Division Title was a way to make him happy.  Then maybe the reason is to have a famous face behind the X-Division which is Rob Van Dam have in spades.  With just 2 months in the title reign it is a good guess what will happen to RVD & the X-Division Title in 2013. 

Next up is the Knockout’s Title.

Knockout's Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Gail Kim
Ending 12/31/12: Tara
Number of times Title has changed hands: 4

2012 was not a particular good year for TNA’s women’s division called “The Knockouts”.  New office staff hired into TNA plus cost cutting measures basically gutted the once proud division they built so well.  2012 did have a good start with the 1st ever Knockout Title holder Gail Kim back with the title.  Kim’s title reign was, like the TNA World Title & the X-Division Title, record breaking.  Gail Kim beat the previous record holder of, ironically enough, her Knockout Tag Team partner at the time Madison Rayne.  Kim lost the title to Brooke “Miss” Tessmacher because they wanted to build the hype of not only her winning the title but to exploit Tessmacher’s obvious sexiness which attracted a lot of male fans!  Tessmacher lost the title to Madison Rayne who got the title simply to introduce the new female referee for Knockout Title matches of Taryn “Tiffany” Terrell.  Rayne was a “boomerang champion” & she quickly lost it right back to Tessmacher.  Tessmacher soon lost the title to Tara to build up the debut of Tara’s “boyfriend’s” debut of “Big Brother” contestant Jessie Godderz but to end a nasty feud between her & Tessmacher.  Tara’s current Knockout Title win ties her with Angelina Love with the most Knockout Title wins ever with 5.  Tara’s Knockout Title reigns usually are short when she’s ending the year with the title so expect a very short title reign from her in 2013. 

 Next is TNA’s Television Title.

 TNA Television Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Robbie E
Ending 12/31/12: Sgt. at Arms Devon
Number of times Title has changed hands: 4

2012 unfortunately started off with Robbie E & the TV Title.  Robbie E’s current push, which included adding Rob Terry to the mix, failed miserably & the title was dropped to Brother Devon.  During Brother Devon’s title reign a new rule was added to the TV Title; now the TV Title has to be defended on a weekly basis on “Impact Wrestling” or any other TNA Television programming.  Brother Devon then was removed off Television which most of the pro wrestling community though that Brother Devon wasn’t re-signed to TNA so he was fired.  The pro wrestling community will find out later that Brother Devon was still in TNA after all this time but I’ll get to that later.  With Brother Devon “apparently gone” TNA declared the TV Title vacant & that a match had to be held to determine the new champion & it ended up to be Samoa Joe.  Samoa Joe joins a club that only AJ Styles & Abyss are in as a person that has won all of the TNA titles.  As previously stated we all thought Brother Devon was gone but instead he re-surfaced as a member of the “Aces & 8s” wrestling stable & he won the title back but this time under his new ring name as “Sgt. at Arms Devon”.  Devon just won the title back in December 2012 & with the addition of him being in “Aces & 8s” it will look like that he will keep the title for awhile now in 2013.

Finally we have the TNA Knockout’s Tag Team Titles.
Knockout's Tag Team Titles:
Starting 1/1/12: Gail Kim & Madison Rayne
Ending 12/31/12: ODB & Eric Young
Number of times Title has changed hands: 1

1 Title change for the Knockout’s Tag Team Title does look good on paper but in this case it is pretty sad.  We start off with Gail Kim & Madison Rayne as the Tag Team Champs.  Titles were soon dropped to ODB & Eric Young.  Now initially this was supposed to be a comedy angle but instead it turned into all sorts of ugliness.  ODB & Eric Young are supposed to be “married” but they are not & in addition it has been proven that a man holding a women’s title is the worst idea ever!  Before they can do anything about ODB & Eric Young all sorts of things happened: New Office Management which de-pushed the Knockout Tag Team Titles & Eric Young doing all sorts of off-screen stuff.  Eric Young went on the DL to have some serious surgeries that he needed in order to get physically better & in addition to being placed on the DL he got a TV Show on the “Animal Planet” channel called “Off The Hook: Extreme Catches” which wasn’t suppose to conflict with “Impact Wrestling” tapings but when TNA decided to start doing Live Broadcasts of “Impact Wrestling” that screwed up Eric Young’s schedule!  All of this mess ended up with putting the Knockout’s Tag Team Champions on hold.  Eric Young did appear now & then but it wasn’t enough.  TNA decided to remove Eric Young off TV because his contract was ending soon.  With Eric Young announcing on Twitter that he’s re-signed with TNA & the addition they now have the longest Knockout’s Tag Team Title run by breaking the previous record of “The Beautiful People’s” in the end it doesn’t really matter.  With the de-pushing of the Knockout’s Division along with lack of screen time the future of the Knockout’s Tag Team Titles are pretty vague.  In 2013 we don’t know if the Knockout’s Tag Team Titles will still exist or not since we had history of TNA slowly losing interest in these titles. 

Well that’s it with TNA & their Title Histories.  Finally we have Ring Of Honor & their title histories & first up is their World Title.

ROH World Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Davey Richards
Ending 12/31/12: Kevin Steen
Number of times Title has changed hands: 1

Nothing much to say because 2012 started out with Davey Richards & his rise to fame in ROH then he lost the title to Kevin Steen.  Can’t say anything bad here just Ring Of Honor’s usual way of respecting their World Title by having very low title changes.

Next up is Ring Of Honor’s World Tag Team Titles.

ROH World Tag Team Titles:
Starting 1/1/12: The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Ending 12/31/12: The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Number of times Title has changed hands: 5

Now 5 title changes as previously stated is usually a pretty average number in the modern era but in 2012 where there were not a lot of title changes but  5 is a lot especially for Ring of Honor!  We start off 2012 with those Briscoe Brothers.  Turns out that The Briscoes were nothing more than Boomerang Champions so they lost the titles right back to who they won them off from which were “Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team” of Sheldon Benjamin & Charlie Haas.  In little than a month they lost the titles to “The All Night Express” of Kenny King & Rhett Titus.  Now it was during this title run that Ring Of Honor experienced a little problem & that problem was Kenny King jumping ship from Ring Of Honor to TNA due to a contract dispute Ring Of Honor decided to force Rhett Titus to drop his Tag Title & declare them “Vacant”.  A Tag Team Tournament was decided to fill the titles & it was the team of Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino, better known as “S.C.U.M.” that won the tournament.  Then at the end of the year at the last PPV that Ring Of Honor has on “Final Battle” The Briscoe Brothers swoops in & win the titles.  This is not a good trend for Ring Of Honor & I’m hoping in 2013 that The Briscoe Brothers not only keep those titles for awhile but not have a lot of title changes as well.

Finally we have Ring of Honor’s ROH TV Title.

ROH World TV Title:
Starting 1/1/12: Jay Lethal           
Ending 12/31/12: Adam Cole
Number of times Title has changed hands: 2

We start off 2012 with the attention getter to the TV Title thanks to the new owners of “Sinclair Broadcasting” & that is Jay Lethal.  Lethal lost the title to Roderick Strong.  Strong barely had the title before he lost it to Adam Cole.  Currently Cole’s going into a 6 month title reign & is looking to beat Eddie Edwards for the longest title reign in this very young title. 

(End of Part 2) 

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