The United States Championship has been an important midcard title over the course of wrestling history, but it has lost much of its prestige in the WWE over the past couple years. Now that a rising star in Antonio Cesaro is holding it, there is some hope for a brighter future.
Cesaro seems to have all the tools necessary to be a major player in the WWE. He has a rugged, unique in-ring style, he is well-spoken on the mic and he has a wealth of experience on the independent scene that has prepared him for the big stage. However, none of that guarantees Cesaro will find success.
Just like in dancing, it takes two to tango and you're only as good as your counterpart. Cesaro has immense potential, but he hasn't been put in a position where the fans are truly going to care about him. Cesaro won the United States Championship by beating Santino Marella at SummerSlam, however, he hasn't had a real feud since.
When a guy like Cesaro is given the United States Championship, it is usually meant as a vote of confidence for his future prospects. That may be the case with Cesaro, but it almost feels like the U.S. title is meaningless at this point because there isn't anyone on the roster who is actually gunning for it.
From a kayfabe perspective, every single wrestler in the company should be chasing a title at all times. If we're to believe that these titles are actually important, then why hasn't anyone challenged Cesaro? He has scored impressive victories over Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel and Ted DiBiase over the past few weeks, but none have been made to look like legitimate challengers.
If the rest of the WWE roster is content with allowing Cesaro to hold the title uncontested, then that United States Championship isn't going to seem relevant again for a very long time. Cesaro may very well be the right guy to bring it back to prominence, but that is being overshadowed by a complete lack of competition.
The WWE's midcard face depth is nonexistent at this point. I initially wanted to see Cesaro feud with Christian since he is a well-respected veteran with main-event experience, but he is nursing another injury, so it isn't an option. Aside from Christian, there really aren't many guys who would pose a credible threat to Cesaro.
I realize that a belt is technically just a prop, but they used to have a lot more meaning. In Cesaro's case, the United States Championship is little more than an accessory that he carries to the ring. He rarely defends it and he hasn't had one meaningful angle since winning it, so Cesaro is just some guy on the roster who happens to have some hardware.
The writers have definitely been building Cesaro up recently as he has blown away his competition, but making things look so easy probably hurts him more than it helps him. Cesaro has been pretty dominant as of late, but the fact that nobody has given him a run makes the United States Championship division seem weak more than it makes Cesaro seem strong.
If booked correctly, I have no doubt that Cesaro can restore the United States Championship's luster, but he may not be given that opportunity. I believe that the creative team has the title on the right guy, but that doesn't mean much if there is no dedication from the WWE when it comes to making the strap seem important.