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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The United States Championship
December 21, 2004 by Ashley Daniels


At No Mercy 2002 the Intercontinental Championship was retired during a bout between HHH and Kane, however to quote the Undertaker 'You can not destroy that, that does not wish to perish' and to the delight of many wrestling fans, the Intercontinental Championship made its triumphant return at Judgement Day 2003, to be contested in a Battle Royal which pitted former Intercontinental champions (with the exception of Booker T) against each other. The Intercontinental Championship was exclusive property of Raw, so in an attempt to outdo the rival show, Stephanie McMahon introduced the United States Championship to Smackdown. The United States Championship had been represented in many different promotions; however this would be the first 'WWE' version of the United States Championship. To crown the new United States Championship there would be a tournament; which featured stars such as Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Billy Gunn and Chris Benoit. The finals pitted Eddie against Benoit in what could only be described as a classic. Eddie won the match and went on to become a great United States champion, defending his championship against talented wrestlers like; Tajiri, Benoit, Cena, Rhyno... Eddie's championship reign sadly came to an end in a match with the Big Show and in my opinion the United States Championship has lost much of its prestige since. In this article I shall look at some of the problems I feel are associated with the United States Championship, as well as explain what I feel should be done to rid the United States Championship of its problems, restoring its prestige in the process.

Problem no.1: The Championship does not seem that important. The best way to make a championship seem important is to inform the fans of the history of that title. We are often reminded that Pat Patterson was the first Intercontinental champion, winning a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, we are reminded that Buddy Rogers is the first WWE Champion, even NWA TNA inform us that the NWA Championship has a lineage spanning 50 years, although we are hardly ever reminded that the first United States champion was Harley Race, winning that championship in 1975 making it 4 years older than the Intercontinental Championship. So the best way to solve this problem would be to teach the WWE fans the history of the United States Championship, as it is one of the most decorated championships in wrestling.

Problem no.2: With the exception of Eddie Guerrero the United States Championship has never been held by a worthy champion in my opinion. The Big Show has a sparkling reputation in the world of wrestling; he is a former WCW world champion, former WWE Champion, Hardcore champion and World Tag Team champion, however he was a lacklustre U.S Champion to say the very least. In his five month championship reign, I can recall him defending the U.S Championship twice, against Hardcore Holly and John Cena. The next United States champion was John Cena. John Cena is probably the most dominate WWE U.S champion, winning the championship three times; no other person who has held the WWE United States Championship has been able to repeat as WWE U.S champion. However every time John Cena defended his championship, I personally never felt he was in any real danger of losing his championship. Even though he squared off in matches with great wrestlers such as Renee Dupree and RVD. The only real threat to Cena's championship reign was Booker T. This brings us to the next United States champion, Booker T. Booker T had the potential to be a phenomenal U.S champ, however I feel the only reason Booker T was given the United States Championship was to make John Cena repeat as champ. The same could be said about Carlito's reign, as it seems the only reason Carlito was given the United States Championship was to make John Cena a three time U.S champion. The solution to this problem would be to give the championship to a worthy wrestler, possibly Kurt Angle. He could bring established wrestlers like Big Show, Taker, Guerrero etc... to the United States division, or bring new talent to the forefront of the WWE, such as Charlie Haas. There is also the fact that no one is as red, white and blue as Kurt Angle, 'It's true, it's damn true'.

Problem no.3: The third and final problem I have with the United States Championship is that, we rarely ever see the United States Championship defended in some sort of gimmick match. The only solution to this would be to have the U.S championship defended in some sort of gimmick match, the ladder match worked wonders for the U.S championship's counterpart, the Intercontinental Championship, and I am sure a ladder or any other type of match could work wonders for the United States Championship. Another way to re-establish the prestige the U.S championship once had would be to have a bout over the U.S championship be the main event at a pay-per view. Similar to Bret Hart vs British Bulldog at Summerslam 1992, this match was over the Intercontinental Championship which only added to the prestige of that Championship.

In conclusion I hope that the U.S Championship is able to once again go back to being a prestigious championship, held by some of the greatest wrestlers ever such as Harley Race, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Greg Valentine, Bret Hart... (the list is endless) and not 'bling, bling' for John Cena.

by Ashley Daniels ..


XtremeFalls43 wrote:
first good Column, second I think your a little off about how you think about the title. The Belt has always Sucked in the WWE, Eddie beat Benoit in Match Number 5555. They wrestled to much it was just not entertaining, and then the Big Show was Champion for I believe 6 Months but only defended it like 2 times on TV and thats Including the Match where he lost it thats where you know it wasn't a serious title, but then Cena got it yeah he was a cool champ but he was wrestling Kenzo, Booker T, RVD, and Rene Dupree in the Same matches for 6 months and they were mostly Bad matches with the same spots. Booker T getting the belt was a Mistake and took any thunder the belt got from it. then Carlito got hurt thats why he lost it, it wasn't planned. Carlito could of been a Great Champ
Greets from Germany ... Smi-48 wrote:
I agree to both of your oppinions. Ashley is damn right in the interpretation of Big Show`s US-Championship run. He hardly did anythink making himself a proud champion, he was given the title only to keep his monster-status without any good storyline. Bad job. I also agree to XTremeFalls43 - Carlito could have been a good heel-champ, comparable with Shawn Michaels first IC-run in 92/93. Bad luck for him ... let`s hope he is not going to have the same problems with injuries as Michaaels had, causing some unexpected IC-title losses. In my oppinion no one on SmackDown! (I mean the writers and officials) is able to treat any championship in the right way anymore. The most important brand-championship is wasted to JBL and the US-Championship is, as mentioned, not on the level it could be. There are no real tag-teams left like the LOD, Steiner`s, Outlaws, etc ... except the Basham Coneheads (ppfftt), making the title a come-and-carry thing for single wrestlers without stories (again a problem of missing creative ideas). It`s only X/Y team-ups wearing those belts. And now look what they have done with the Cruiserweight-title .... Spike & Funaki instead of talented AND entertaining wrestlers like Kidman, London, Chavo, ... let`s pray for better days on the B-brand (canīt imagine since Heyman nearly left)
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