When you’re an athlete, you want to rise to the top and be the best one at what you do. One of the most cherished and coveted titles in all of professional sports is the world title in WWE, and it is something that not everyone will ever be able to say they wore around their waist. Well, even though it has a very long history and a lot of huge names are associated with it, there has been a big-time change to it as the name has been altered.
Yes, the name of the coveted titled currently around the waist of AJ Styles on SmackDown LIVE has had its name changed. As pointed out by Wrestling Inc., the title is no longer called the “WWE World Championship” but is simply now known as the “WWE Championship.”
On the main page for the title on the official website of WWE, the title has indeed been rebranded as just WWE Championship. Looking through the list of championships on the page, the history of the title goes from 1963 to present time and does include a list of all the superstars/wrestlers who have held the title.
It is not the same as the World Heavyweight Championship which was a part of WWE from 2002 until it was retired in 2013. It also does not include the WCW World Championship which has a history of 1991 through 2001 when WWE bought the company. For those wondering, these two histories were those of the “Big Gold Belt,” as wrestling fans have come to know it.
The WWE Championship is the title that has a history of past winners including Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, the Iron Sheik, Bruno Sammartino, The Rock, John Cena, Bret “Hit Man” Hart, and many others.
Obviously, the name change of the title did not alter the history, but it’s just interesting that it was changed so randomly. No real explanation of any kind has been given by WWE and they haven’t even drawn attention to it, but just kind of did it.
Back in the summer, the WWE roster was split by a superstar draft as the brand extension returned to have separate rosters for Monday Night Raw and SmackDown LIVE. With that taking place, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was moved to Tuesday nights and that meant Raw needed its own top title.
At SummerSlam, Finn Balor became the inaugural WWE Universal Champion and that led to a bit of a change for the other title. At that point, the title on SmackDown LIVE had the word “Heavyweight” taken off of it and it was changed to just WWE World Championship.
When the brand extension first took place back in 2002, the Undisputed Championship was in place and it stayed that way until the belt was split into the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship. During that time, it was on SmackDown three times and Raw twice.
In 2013, then WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated then World Heavyweight Champion John Cena to unify the titles again. After a short while, the unified titles were renamed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and it had stayed as such until the Universal Championship was introduced back in August of this year.
There you have it. Just a couple of days ago, AJ Styles was the WWE World Champion, but now, he is the WWE Champion and will be until someone defeats him for the title.
AJ Styles is the current WWE Champion, and it will be interesting to see if the name of the title ever changes again in anyone’s current lifetime. Changing the name of a huge title such as this one is something that is quite unorthodox, but it’s the company’s championship, so they can pretty much do whatever they want. For now, it doesn’t make it any less or any more impressive, but it does make it a bit more distinct.
[Featured Image by WWE]