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September 9, 2002 Observer Newsletter: PRIDE/K1 Shockwave reviewed, new WWE title introduced

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Following up on the angle where Brock Lesnar went exclusively to Smackdown, Raw opened on 9/2 in Milwaukee with Eric Bischoff announcing HHH as the new Raw world champion and giving him the old WCW heavyweight title belt.

There are a lot of different ways of looking at this in theory. You can say with two champions, there are twice as many potential title defenses and you can have the world champion at every house show. On the other hand, the title itself was just rebuilt enough to where it finally appeared to have drawn at SummerSlam and a new top star was created. Now, that title is diluted. You may call it two world titles, but it in reality becomes two IC titles instead of one world title. The argument is that this finally establishes the Raw/Smackdown split. But what made the title special is that it meant something being the one thing above the split.

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