What Does The Future Hold for the United States Championship?
As any fan of the past year has deduced, the WWE Belts we not in the best of places. Many of us groaned as John Cena draped the six foot party sub that was the combined WWE Heavyweight and World Heavyweight titles around his mammoth neck for the fifteenth time. The Intercontinental Title fit the definition of a hot potato to the letter and most fans weren't aware that there was a United States Title active in competition.
Then... as the heavens split open, Brock Lesnar returned from the dead... Turkey Tom in tow as he proceeded to break John Cena's back, pay per view after pay per view. Brock Lesnar rescued the big belt from certain destruction and saved WWE. John Cena would fail on multiple occasions to win back the richest prize in wrestling, reserved to such shenanigans as attempting to expel The Authority... and we all know how well that ended up.
Fast forward to present day and John Cena is again in the title picture, however it isn't the title he is most accustomed to holding. John Cena is our WWE United States Champion, having originally taken the belt from Resev. If you remember though, it was Rusev that rescued the belt from the clutches of Sheamus.
Rusev had done more for the United States Championship than any wrestler since Kofi Kingston, and that's saying something. Through Rusev's desire to capture what he perceived as America's top prize, he brought a high level of passion and visibility to what was once an ignored piece of hardware.
The fact of the matter though, was that Rusev was, like all champions going to drop the belt. For his reign and character to progress forward, the endgame became obvious, Rusev could only drop the belt to someone huge. Enter one Johnathan Crandall Cena.
Despite riding into battle in a Russian Tank, John Cena would come away with the tile at Wrestlemania 31, holding the first title he had ever won in WWE. You may also recall that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was also determined at the show of shows, Seth Rollins cashing in Money in the Bank on Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
As you know, Cena would remain relatively undefeated, scoring victories throughout the roster with his bogus, United States Challenge gimmick. The United States Championship was visible and relevant again, even being defended in a main event capacity. This would continue until one very important loss at the hands of Seth Rollins.
Rollins would unceremoniously lose the belt around a month later, and continue to fail to defeat Cena through the months. Although Rollins carries the big belt, he continues to feud with Cena for a lesser title, despite facing a challenge in the shape of the Demon Kane and an Authority that appears to grow less and less confident in him as a champion.
However, from a booking perspective, what does Rollins, an accomplished wrestler and current Champion gain from losing to Cena repeatedly? If Rollins is allegedly the top of the mountain, why can't he beat Cena clean even occasionally?
What harm does having the number three wrestler on the roster take out the number one wrestler again and again? Does the health of the Heavyweight Championship become to be affected? Well, probably not, however it does continue to diminish Rollins as Champion.
Cena has done his job, and with the help of Rusev, he's done it exceptionally well. The United States Championship is relevant and exciting again. There is a large swath of the fanbase that actively looks forward to the United States Open Challenge on Raw each week. While I'm certainly not a fan open challenge gimmick, one can't argue that it does give stars a chance to wrestler with the captain on national television.
Why continue feeding Rollins to Cena? Is WWE brass this concerned and shortsighted about the chorus of boos the echo from the rafters that the thought that Rollins can somehow polish Cena's damaged goods.
Cena must drop the United States championship and do it very soon. With Cena's vacation looming, WWE can not afford to have the US Championship go undefended into the holiday season. It appears that WWE is setting up to give Heath Slater a chance to get a shot at the belt. While I can't imagine Slater getting the bump from beating Cena, someone needs to... preferably somebody that needs the boost.
My money is on Dolph Ziggler. With Rusev currently embroiled in a love rectangle alongside Summer Rae and Lana, Rusev could greatly benefit from wearing the white strap. Of course, Rusev's claim that he won't marry Summer Rae until he gets gold may be a big a clue as to the future of the United States Championship.
Will Rusev wear gold again, or does WWE have the faith in Slater or even Kofi Kingston to wear the Stars and Stripes? We likely have few United States Open Challenges left before Cena takes off for the rest of the year, tonight may be the night that we get some insight into the endgame of the United States Championship and the Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.