If you're still with us, let's do a quick recap. John Cena accidentally knocked the referee down and hit Seth Rollins with the Attitude Adjustment. With the ref out, no one was available to count the pinfall. Rollins recovered, kneed Cena in the face once more, and both men collapsed. Here's where things got interesting. The host of SummerSlam, Jon Stewart, ran down to the ring with a steel chair. As both competitors stood back up, Stewart did this:
This provided Rollins with the opportune moment to take out a wounded Cena using the Pedigree, resulting in Rollins retaining the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and for the first time, gaining the United States Championship. This brings us to our question: what happens to the United States title now? Let's take a look at some of the possibilities, along with arguments for why they should and should not come to fruition.
Option 1: Unification
It's sad, but this may very well be the end of the United States Championship as we know it. When WWE made the decision a few years back to permit superstars and divas to compete on either show, the brand segregation more or less ended. With that, slowly yet surely, the Women's Championship, World Tag Team Championship, and the World Heavyweight Championship were all unified into their respective counterpart titles. Currently, the Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship are the only two redundant titles remaining, both assuming the role of a secondary title.
Now that Rollins has the United States title, is he really supposed to defend it along with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Not only does this force Rollins into a crazy wrestling schedule, it also slightly devalues the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Before the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was the coup de grâce of the WWE, whereas it would become just another title needed to be defended in this scenario.
|Not that coup de grâce...|
On the flip side, John Cena spent so much time redeveloping the United States Championship's credibility these past few months. Are we really to believe that the WWE would simply let it all go to waste now?
Option 2: Two Titles, One Champion
In the past, one person has been able to defend multiple championships with the best example actually coming from TNA Impact when Kurt Angle held the TNA World Heavyweight, X Division, and World Tag Team Championship at the same time. If you want an example from WWE's past, take a look at the Power Trip (Triple H and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). At one time, both men held together all of the gold in WWE (except for the Women's Championship, of course).
|That's a lot of gold!|
WWE has done it before and can find a way to make this two-title man angle work again. Just spitballing here, Rollins could alternate title defenses (Defend one title at one pay-per-view and the other at the next), he can defend the US title exclusively on Raw and save the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the pay-per-views, or he can defend both at every pay-per-view moving forward. The second notion is my preference when offered a choice of the three because it retains prestige for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by only having it defended at the pay-per-view events. Pay-per-views flat out feel more exclusive than regular Monday Night Raw episodes, and this would rub off on the title, making it seem even more coveted than it already is. My least favorite idea would be to have Rollins defend both titles at every pay-per-view event. While I'm a big Seth Rollins fan and usually enjoy his matches, the schedule would burn out the poor guy. Wrestling one match must be exhausting enough, but going twice every pay-per-view till you drop a title seems absolutely brutal.
Playing devil's advocate once more, take into consideration all of the wrestlers on the main roster. There's quite a few of them, right? With all of the current titles divided, a total of five men can hold a title. Keeping the belt on Rollins omits one of the already-limited slots, and prevents another wrestler from further climbing up the totem pole. This brings me to our third and final option.
Option 3: Lighten the Load
This is the biggest cop-out of the three and renders this entire article moot, but what if Rollins immediately drops the United States Championship? Past title holders have held titles for a day or less. Kane, Mankind, and Rey Mysterio all come to mind off the top of my head. Rollins wouldn't have to worry about managing two belts, other members of the roster could compete for the freed up title, and WWE wouldn't have to eliminate any more championships. So how could this scenario play out? More importantly, if Rollins has to sacrifice a championship, does it have to be the United States Championship?
I can think of five scenarios right now:
A) WWE books a battle royal or a tournament to declare the new United States Champion after Rollins vacates the title.
B) John Cena immediately wins the United States Championship back.
C) John Cena wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Rollins.
D) Seth Rollins continues the tradition of the United States Championship open challenge, and loses it quickly to some young buck.
E) Sheamus cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Seth Rollins, winning his fourth world title.
So as you can see, Rollins has multiple opportunities to lose a title in the near future. The issue with going down this route is that it may weaken either Rollins or the US Championship. Rollins could be weakened if he lost the World title to someone without a cash-in attempt. He would then be relegated back to the midcard, defending the US title against the likes of Cesaro, Ziggler, and Neville, all of whom are great wrestlers, but aren't yet main eventers in WWE. If Rollins lost the World title, his win would be meaningless, and the title would revert back to being passed around like a hot potato.
Based on these options, I personally would unify the United States Championship for the reason that it currently feels redundant and it adds to Seth Rollins' legacy as the next consistent main eventer. WWE may feel differently, but whatever option they pick, we'll all know that the United States Championship achieved a great deal of recognition over the years, and was a prize worth fighting for.
What are your thoughts on WWE's direction of the United States Championship? Are you happy Rollins won the belt? Do you have a different scenario in mind for how this plays out? Comment below, and let us know. Thanks for reading!