FATP: The Curse of the WWE United States Championship
Thanks for joining me for the latest FATP here on PWMania.com! Well, WrestleMania’s done for another year. Did you enjoy it? I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. It was just kinda, meh. It wasn’t special. It didn’t feel like WrestleMania should you know? There was some good stuff, some OK stuff and some stuff I just didn’t care for, but everyone has their own opinions! I’m sure there were some of you out there who loved it!
This week, I’m going to talk about the WWE United States Championship. Aside from the Divas Championship, it’s probably the belt that WWE care least about, or at least that’s the impression they give.
Since MVP won the United States Championship way back in May 2007, there have been 16 different WWE United States Champions. You could argue that MVP’s near year-long reign was the last time that anyone cared about the US Championship. Shelton Benjamin had a pretty decent run with it between July 2008 and March 2009, but has it really meant anything since then? It sure as hell doesn’t seem like it. You could understand it if the guys holding the belt weren’t talented, or over, enough to make it mean something, but they have been.
Take a look at some of the wrestlers who have held that title in recent years: Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Santino Marella and the current champ, Antonio Cesaro. Over half of the men on that list went on to become, or had already been, WWE/World Champion. Talented guys. Wrestlers who could connect with the crowd. And yet, it’s as if WWE couldn’t care less about who the United States Champion is.
The champion is hardly ever showcased. The belt isn’t treated with respect by the people who construct the shows, so why should the people who pay money to sit their asses in the seats care? I suppose this kinda ties in with what I said the other week here on PWMania about the WWE’s midcard scene. If WWE don’t give the impression that they care about it, why should we? Don’t get me wrong. The WWE midcard is full of talented, charismatic wrestlers who can make the fans care about the title, and contenders for it, but instead of showcasing it, we get 4,583 replays on every episode of Raw or SmackDown, instead of seeing the champion.
Case in point – where was the United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro, last Sunday at WrestleMania? Are you seriously telling me that someone as good as Cesaro didn’t deserve to be on the card? We got 5 or 6 different video packages on Rock/Cena and a ridiculous 6/7 minute Diddy concert, when some of that time could’ve been allocated to the US Champion. It’s a joke.
Cesaro has been the United States Champion since SummerSlam, when he won the belt on the pre-show. Since then, he’s had some pretty high profile matches on Raw and SmackDown, yet WWE hardly ever present the title as if it means anything. Why? If they seriously don’t care about it and have no interest in investing any time in it whatsoever, why don’t they just retire it? It’s effectively meaningless now, so would anyone miss it if it were gone? I don’t think so.
I’m a firm believer that if there is a championship for a certain level (if that’s the right word) on the roster, then you should at least give the belt some TV time. If you don’t, it’s pointless having the belt in the first place. Sometimes, it comes across as if WWE have no clue what to do with certain midcard talent, or what direction they want the talent to go in, so they just throw a title on them and hope for the best.
I’m not for one second saying that the wrestlers themselves are to blame, because they aren’t. They’re given a direction and they do what they can with the time that they’re given. However, if one of your six champions can’t even get on the biggest show of the year, then there’s something far wrong. It’s something that I can’t quite understand. And I probably never will. If I was being totally cynical, I’d probably say that WWE don’t care about the United States Championship because it was never “theirs”. For all intents and purposes, it was a WCW title.
Is the United States Championship cursed because it wasn’t created by WWE? Only one man knows the answer to that, and it sure as hell ain’t me – it’s Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
That’ll wrap things up for this week. What do you think? As usual feel free to send me your thoughts/comments/feedback by leaving a comment below or sending me a tweet @george_sltd. If you’ve got any ideas for future columns, you can send them to me that way too. I’ll see you back here next week.