WWE: Zack Ryder, the United States Championship and the Art of Storyline Build
I do not remember when last I cared so much about a United States title match.
Dolph Ziggler, the current United States champion, has had a pretty good reign, having held the title for six months now. Zack Ryder seems to be his natural successor and has had two previous failed attempts at capturing the US championship.
Ryder is currently the number one contender again. He has another opportunity at the TLC pay-per-view to challenge Ziggler for his title, and I am confident enough to say he is a shoo-in for the win.
That being said, the point when titles change hands is supposed to be something momentous, something big. To really make it that way, the competitors have to work hard to show that they are really interested in the title; the challenger has to want to win it and the champion has to want to keep it—no matter what.
This strong interest in the championship is what makes fans interested too, and is a big part of the anticipation for title matches.
Over the past few months, Zack Ryder has done a completely amazing job of keeping the fans invested in the feud between him and Ziggler. I think it’s safe to say the fans want to see Ryder win the championship—what with Ryder’s petition and his constant insistence on getting a title match.
Ryder’s devotes a lot of time on Z! TLIS talking about how he wants a shot at the US championship. He has gunned for Ziggler on Raw, week after week. To put it simply, Ryder’s interest in getting the title makes the fans interested in him getting the title.
During the Survivor Series pay-per-view last month, John Morrison was thrown into a random match with Ziggler for the title. It turned out to be an amazing match and was one of the best of the night. You could also hear the crowd constantly chanting for Ryder.
Granted, the event was in New York, but that doesn’t change the fact that the crowd was interested in seeing Ryder take down Ziggler any way he could. That had a lot to do with Ziggler and Ryder’s amazing work in making the US title seem like it was all that mattered. That’s how all titles should feel.
Last week, we saw Ryder basically rail on Cena. He was far from delirious as he watched what he called his "one shot" slip through his fingers. It is this sort of passion surrounding titles that make for better stories. It also makes the fans feel invested.
I found myself smiling widely and celebrating as later that night Ryder stumbled out of the ring, having just being declared the number one contender for Ziggler’s US title. The investment that the fans have in a feud is as a direct result of the investment the wrestlers have in that feud—Ryder seems to have mastered that.
Hopefully, Zack Ryder will stand tall as the winner and our new United States champion on Sunday.
He can play a full game of basketball and score the most points—while sitting on the court. He is Jo-Jo Carvin. Stay thirsty, my friends.
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