Hello Bleachers! This is my first article for BR ever, so feedback is certainly welcomed. Hopefully this will be my first of many articles to come!
It has been three long years since the WWE United States Championship had as much prestige as it seems to be potentially building. Matt Hardy was the last great US champion. I actually feel a little dirty saying that, but it's the truth. His feud with MVP was the last time the belt actually seemed to matter.
To give you the background, Hardy won a non-title match over MVP on an episode of Smackdown in July 2007 but lost the subsequent PPV match for the title. This awkwardly led to a series of competitions that somehow managed to keep me entertained for the simple ludicrousness of it all, including chess, arm wrestling and basketball. This went on just long enough until the traditional odd-couple pairing winning the tag belts story line occurred in August 2007 when still United States champ MVP and Hardy defeated the then-tag champs Deuce and Domino (anyone remember them?).
The entire time they held the tag belts with each other, Hardy still made it known that he wanted the United States title from MVP. When they dropped the belts to The Miz and John Morrison that November, MVP snapped and took Hardy out of commission for a few months (during which Hardy had a legitimate appendix issue). Upon Hardy's return in April 2008, he immediately went after MVP (which I really hope they let Morrison do with R-Truth) and finally gained the United States Championship, ending MVP's 11-month reign.
While Hardy's reign itself was nothing spectacular, the journey to getting the belt made it a worthy part of the title's history. Most importantly, throughout the rivalry the belt itself remained a part of the focus.
Since then, no one has really stepped up and given the title the attention it deserves, save Kofi Kingston in his first reign when he acknowledged the history of the title and the prestige that came with it—and that was just a blip on the radar in June 2009.
Fast forward to today. Dolph Ziggler holds the belt and he cut in my eyes one of the most overshadowed promos of all time. With everyone still high on CM Punk's promo (and rightfully so), Dolph's July 4 promo on Raw was brushed aside. But it actually may have been the best United State Championship promo in years. All for one line.
"Because as long as I am United States champion, THIS is the only title that matters and I am all you need to make Monday Night Raw perfection."
Sure, Kingston came out and make Ziggler look weak, but when was the last time you heard the phrases "United State champion" and "matter" in the same sentence? Let's just call that a baby step for Raw's mid-card.
At this point, here's what I hope will happen with the title:
Step One: Keep Ziggler off the Money in the Bank card—no last-minute add-on match (that honor I expect to go to Ezekiel Jackson and Ted DiBiase anyway).
Step Two: Kingston cannot win the briefcase so that he can chase the US title. Yes, this prolongs the Kingston-Ziggler feud, but keep reading. Besides, they put on a great match.
Step Three: Ziggler complains about being left off the MITB card, only to be interrupted by Kingston, who cuts a similar promo to his 2009 one about the prestige of the belt and how Ziggler is undeserving.
Step Four: Enter Drew McIntyre, who adds a more personal element because Ziggler left him high and dry against Big Show.
Step Five: McIntyre cuts a promo regarding how he deserves to join the history that Kingston talked about.
Step Six: Ziggler keeps the title for a long reign (ideally until the Rumble). Mostly cleanly, and hopefully dumping Vickie Guerrero along the way but staying heel (I mostly hope that part since I cannot fathom a face Ziggler giving a promo that wouldn't make Morrison cringe).
Step Seven: Kingston eventually snaps at his inability to get the win over Ziggler and his heel turn goes in motion, potentially with McIntyre turning face to balance things out.
While I don't like the idea of burying Kingston even more, the eventual heel turn could help him long term, along with the title in a Christian-like fashion as I find Christian's obsession elevating how important the World Heavyweight title is right now.
Just some thoughts. Share yours! Will the US title have glory days ahead? Is Ziggler the right person? Should someone else enter the feud?
Hope you all enjoyed my first article attempt, and I look forward to writing many more.