Prestige or prop?

My friends Kevin and Chad raised this question this morning on the Facebook page for their blog, My 1-2-3 Cents, as it pertains to championships within WWE.

It's not hard to find a legion of people who believe the same titles once held by wrestling legends like Harley Race, Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino have been devalued and turned into something resembling a toy.

Often times, it seems WWE wants to play a rousing game of Hot Potato with its championships, which should be presented as the company's top prizes.

When a person wins a championship, especially if it's their first, they're rarely booked to look like a strong and deserving champion.

In the eyes of many, these elements of planning, managing and executing title tenures does nothing but lower the value of any respective championship.

Many will point to Santino Marella's United States Championship victory on Monday's Raw as another example of that particular title being treated as little more than a joke.

Yes, Marella's victory over then-champion Jack Swagger seemed less important than it should have because the match faded into the background of a scuffle between Raw and Smackdown General Managers John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long.

But, no, I don't agree with the armies of haters who spew rhetoric about Marella's win decreasing the value of the United States Championship.

Let's face facts. The title hasn't meant much in recent years. This is a title that was bumped from the WrestleMania card last year and, before that, was held by Bret "The Hitman" Hart... in 2010.

Sure, Zack Ryder winning the belt in December provided a feel-good moment, but he lost the title less than a month later to Swagger, who then proceeded to disappear from television.

I compare Marella's win to Ryder's. Listen to recent crowds during Marella matches, especially during the World Heavyweight Championship match at Elimination Chamber.

The fans want to see Marella, and they want to see him succeed. There's nothing wrong with giving a midcard championship to a man who has been loyal, hardworking and dedicated to the company.

Marella's run with the Intercontinetal Championship - in which he unveiled the Honk-a-Meter - was a fun ride while it lasted, and I expect no different from this reign.

Despite what many assume because of his character, Marella is an extremely gifted in-ring performer. Maybe this title run will help people understand that. Yes, he uses comedy most of the time, but that doesn't take away from his abilities.

Marella's first title defense in a steel cage match against Swagger set the stage for what could be an entertaining title run.The two men put together a good match.

No, it won't go down in history as one of the best cage matches of all time, but it gave these two television time and put the title at the center of a televised match, which is better than where it was during Swagger's reign.

The contest also furthered the ongoing - and seemingly never-ending - issues between Swagger, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler.

Let's just hope Marella isn't cut short and forced to drop the belt to David Otunga to help further the battle of the general managers...