WWE Over the Limit 2012: Who Can Save the US Championship?
With the Over The Limit Pay-Per View, another night went by where the United States Championship came even closer to obscurity.
Christian chose to battle Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental title, and Santino Marella got a night off. This just further emphasises the point that since the current champion defeated Jack Swagger in the buildup to Wrestlemania, there have been no meaningful contests for the one prestigious title.
Santino is a comedy act, and while he is entertaining, having him hold on to one of the company's major honours for such a length of time only serves to run the belt down. With the title being put on Santino after the Milan Miracle’s huge pop at Elimination Chamber, I can see why it made sense at the time. However, we now need a change.
Recently the US belt has been used as a method of letting superstars like The Miz, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler grow into main-event talent and eventually holders of the top titles.
But what now for the title? How do the creative team recover it? Here are 10 guys that could save the gold.
10. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett is currently on the sidelines of WWE with a shoulder injury; therefore, he is the least likely member to be taking the title from Santino's waist.
However, when he returns from injury, giving this British Brawler the title would be a great way to build the push he has been craving for so long.
It’s hard to believe that Barrett only has one title reign to his name (a forgettable run with the Intercontinental strap), and giving him the US title would set up an array of British-versus-America heel promos to build his push.
9. Tyson Kidd
If ever there is an underappreciated and underutilized superstar, it’s this man.
Tyson Kidd has been in desperate need of a push since the implosion of the Hart Dynasty, and putting the title on him could be exactly what he needs.
Kidd is a technically gifted wrestler—as well as being hugely exciting to watch—but has been mainly limited to appearances on Superstars and NXT.
If you caught a glimpse of him in last night’s Royal Rumble or the Wrestlemania pre-show, you know his talent merits a higher standing in the WWE.
8. Drew McIntyre
Remember him? Remember when he held a belt?
Yes, this is the "Chosen One," Drew McIntyre.
While he had a brief resurgence on Smackdown (I say resurgence—he lost to everyone minus Hornswoggle) and managed to get a Wrestlemania moment with Team Jonny.
McIntyre has fallen miles behind the man who was at one point the most hated heel on Smackdown. The Sinister Scotsman now has a permanent room in the WWE doghouse, and it’s really difficult to see someone so talented forgotten about.
A face turn would manage to covert this stale character, but defeating Santino would also lead to bigger and better things.
7. Antonio Cesaro
Why not give some of the new FCW talent making the breakthrough the midcard belt?
While it could be seen that someone like Damien Sandow gets the belt first, I think it would be smart of WWE to put it on Antonio Cesaro.
After honing his skills in Ring Of Honour, the man formally known as Claudio Castagnoli has an abundance of talent that if used properly could fit neatly on Raw. And while we wait or Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero) to come up to the main roster and reform the Kings Of Wrestling, Cesaro needs something to do.
In his current storyline an angle against Santino (former captain of Team Teddy) could occur with Aksana being Cesaro’s manager.
6. Zack Ryder
As a Broski, it hurts to say it, but Zack Ryder is slowly becoming irrelevant.
Since his United States Title victory, he was lost in the mix of the Cena-Kane feud, and his career has paid the price.
He has been humiliated at ‘Mania by Eve and been featured less and less on Raw, while his internet show is being butchered by the WWE.
At the point where Ryder had the title, he was on top, now with the whole WWE turning away from him, give Ryder a heel turn and reclaim the title that he STILL hasn’t had a rematch for.
WOO WOO WOO, NO NEED FOR COBRO.
5. The Miz
Of all the superstars on this list, the Miz’s fall from grace is the most severe.
From holding the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania to glorified jobber. Heck, even at Survivor Series he was in the ring with the Rock, but now he’s getting batted around like a fly by Brodus Clay.
Miz has already failed to claim the US Title off Santino at Extreme Rules, but who’s to say he shouldn’t have another shot? While he was champion he legitimised the title and made it something that people cared about.
With that said, the main reason people wanted to see him defend the title is because they hoped he’d get beaten. But although there are many Miz haters out there, he would undoubtedly make a good US Champion at this time.
4. Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is a man famed for his forgettable title runs.
With title runs with the now-deceased ECW title, a World Heavyweight Championship run that not may people will remember, it won’t be much of a shock that his recent U.S. title run won’t live long in the memory.
That highlights Swagger's greatest problem; the creative team never gave him a chance to really grab hold of his title and get confidence in it. After losing the belt to the current champion, this is clear.
"The All-American United States Champion" does have a good ring to it, so his potential shouldn’t be limited because of a severe lack of airtime.
Just one good spell with a belt could be all he needs.
3. Dolph Ziggler
After revitalizing the United States Championship before, the WWE needs Dolph Ziggler to do it again. Maybe now more than ever.
After performing double duty at Pay-Per-Views, holding entertaining feuds with many less talented wrestlers and just generally carrying the midcard, Ziggler was repaid with a WWE championship shot.
Fast forward to now and he is regularly being beaten up by Brodus Clay and kicked in the head by Kofi Kingston.
For the talent that Ziggler is, this just seems unfair, so give him the title he carried so proudly and let him bring the division back once again.
2. Cody Rhodes
After claiming he was a better champion than Santino, he is now the one without a title. Therefore, it would make sense for Cody Rhodes to try and become the next US champion.
Rhodes had such a positive effect on the Intercontinental championship that it would make sense for him to "legitimize" the Raw brand's midcard title.
His push to the upper card has been eagerly awaited, and with Rhodes expected to move to Raw sooner rather than later now, would be as good a time as any to move him to the main show.
With regular appearances already on the Supershow, and Rhodes clearly feeling comfortable in midcard, keep him there for a few more months with the U.S. title and help build Raw's midcard.
1. Chris Jericho
If you’re looking for the best short-term fix, look no further than Chris Jericho.
After losing and being pinned at last night’s PPV, it is difficult to see how he recovers his credibility from this point.
Easy, by giving him the United States Championship.
With Jericho famed for his success with the Intercontinental Championship, it is clear it’s a level he is comfortable with. And while he could be put in a meaningless feud for some upper card's superstars, his time would be better spent building up younger wrestlers in U.S. title matches.
With all the buildup to his return, and with him already set to leave by Summerslam, give Jericho and the whole midcard a push in the right direction—and something to remember this part of his career by.
Thanks for Reading.
The best of our current champ.
Thanks for reading my first piece for Bleacher Report. Who do you think are the next in line for the US Title?
You can contact me @markpirie on Twitter for any more info, ask me questions, or give me your views. https://twitter.com/#!/markpirie