Some guys need the title to really establish them or if they are going to be the face of the company, but in the past most guys would get over without the title. Look at Piper, Roberts, Rude, Perfect, etc.
The fact that Rick Rude never got the big one has always been a mystery to me. He was booked as a real threat, was great on the mic, put on great matches, and (to my knowledge) didn't have the kind of problems that held back guys like Jake Roberts or Razor Ramon. I dunno, there was no reason for him not to have won the WWF title at least once, imo.