The history of the us championship
by, 12-05-2011 at 07:13 PM (2653 Views)
Now first of all for the know it alls let me get one thing straight - I didn't watch much wcw. I thought it was crony, and when it was the new cool thing to like I thought it was even more corny hence my only 2 or so years away from living the product. So I guess I'm a bit of a WWE Mark, like it or not.
The US Championship first gained prominence in the territories then all the way up to dubya c dubya, and the list of title holders are like a who's who of wrestling. Harley Race, Terry Funk, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter and that is only in the early years. Many more legendary names achieved the belt as time wore on like "Stunning" Steve Austin and Goldberg. In later years wCw was title changing crazy, just one of the many many things led to the promotion shutting it's doors in 2001.
It briefly participated in the InVasion storyline and was passed around like a hooker at a frat party, netting reigns for Booker T (who brought the belt over), who handed it to Kanyon, and to Tajiri, to Rhyno, to Kurt Angle and to Edge, phew. It was officially retired at Survivor Series 2001, when Edge unified it with the Intercontinental belt. And it was dead...Until..
A NEW TITLE FOR SMACKDOWN!
In 2003, Smackdown was missing a secondary title. Briefly the newlt invented tag team titles, introduced in 2002 were like a secondary title, however after the initial hype they were just normal tag team titles. The Cruiserweight title had been around, and well like, but it just wasn't "WWE" enough to be considered as a serious first stop for the main championships. In July 2003, at Vengeance, the US Title was reborn.
A SERIOUS TITLE
The new US Championship had the right people involved from the get-to. At the end of a tournament, fans were given a treat they were delighted with as Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit faced off in the final. Eddie Guerrero won the strap, and an upward trajectory began.
Eddie feuded further with Benoit and a very over heel thug named John Cena, with the US belt the centrepiece. Shortly after losing the title to The Big Show in a very entertaining feud he would win his only WWE Championship. His credibility of being the US champ showing his credentials.
The Big Show feuded for his US title reign with John Cena. Cena had just turned face at this time and he was a big fan favourite, they built a solid feud which got it's sendoff off at WrestleMania 20 when Cena won the belt to much fanfare.
Cena as US Champion was truly a baptism of fire. He carried that belt and made it seem important as hell. Even though he made it the original spinner at the time it just fit in with his character and people weren't as disgusted. He partook in a lenghty feud with Booker T which included a best of 5 series where Cena fought hard for his title back. Carlito would briefly hold the belt before Cena took it back. It was flying until suddenly Orland Jordan somehow ended up with a 5 month reign.
The title immediately regained it's lustre however after former World champ Chris Benoit captured the gold. Booker T would be the first challenger in a lenghty and credible feud that involved the strangest best of 7 series you will ever see (Booker was injured for the majority of this and Randy Orton substituted). This ended after several months with Chris Benoit once again being champ. By the time he lost to JBL at WrestleMania 22, the title was worthy again. Like Cena, Booker T would be a heavyweight champion within the year.
Bobby Lashley beat the hated JBL to much joy for the belt, before losing it to the vicious Finlay. He was followed by Mr Kennedy and once again Chris Benoit in a respectable pattern of champs. Benoit's feud with the rising MVP would be the making of the superstar and the title was a big part in that.
Montel Vontavious Porter gave the US Championship it's greatest holder. As the only title of his career MVP is easily associated with the belt for this fact and the fact that he held on to it for a very long time in modern wrestling. He was one of the biggest heels in the company at the time and his feud with Matt Hardy was one of the better one's of the last decade, culminating in Matt ending a nearly year long reign.
Matt was a big face at this time that people really got behind so him having the belt was a scene that really got over. When he met Shelton Benjamin, my possible favourite wrestler of all time, the belt had credibility, the arrogant Benjamin holding it with esteem for several months in which he was pushed as a semi-main player.
When MVP won the US title back things were different. MVP had undergone a massive losing streak that turned him into a "humbled" face, so when he got it back people didn't really buy it. The failure to build on MVP as a face was a deathnail of sorts for the championship. Kofi Kingston was champ but he was as bland as the new MVP, Miz was very entertaining as champ (another who would be promoted to WWE gold after a decent US belt reign) which included a one time only loss to Bret Hart , before it was switched with the excruciating rapper R Truth. Miz gave the belt a decent showing and the feud with Daniel Bryan was hot. When Bryan won it, it was relevant again but not for very long. A forgettable reign (as in you would have forgotten Danielson wasn't a WWE superstar by the lack of TV time) ensued before Sheamus and again Kofi Kingston had bleak reigns.
Dolph Ziggler has been the saving grace of the title belt. The man has been champion for about 6 months now and he has been stealing shows, and defending his title regularly. Where is the belt going to go from here, who knows? But it's in very goods hands again.