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Top 5: Candidates For WWE United States Champion

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The WWE United States Championship carries a longstanding history going through WWE, WCW, and the NWA. Today is represents a world title-like caliber, having recently been around the waits of former world champions like Seth Rollins, John Cena, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Chris Jericho and others. Who is the ideal candidate to wear this title? Here are the Top 5 candidates!

5. Elias

While the Intercontinental Championship would also be a nice fit around Elias’ waist, the United States title may be a better prize to fit his character. Elias does more character work than wrestling, and while his skill between the ropes is nothing to sneeze at, character-based superstars typically go after the U.S. belt. As one of the few superstars that can have the fans eating out of his hand, Elias deserves a reward for his work.

4. Lars Sullivan

Historically, larger men typically run the route of the United States Championship rather than the I.C. Title. Other than foreigners, the U.S. belt has been used to build monsters. From superstars like Goldberg to some like the Big Show, Lars Sullivan could be heading down the same path. While he may not win gold in NXT that most likely won’t stop him from capturing at least one of the mid-card titles, and the one on SmackdownLive seems a better fit for him.

3. Jinder Mahal

If Jinder’s WWE Championship run went like it did, just with the United States Championship instead, fans might be more accepting of his raise up the card. He was close to capturing it last week, and he seems to have his sights set on it going into the future. A run with the mid-card belt would likely be more well received than his main event push. Time will tell if he is able to continue momentum and stay in title contention.

2. Rusev

As the commonplace foreign heel, Rusev was a perfect match for the red, white, and blue strap. However, even when shedding that characteristic, the Bulgarian Brute may be tied to the championship. Even if he does, someday, reach the main event scene, there will be the chance that he returns to his roots and captures a third U.S. title.

1. Woken Matt Hardy

Despite his quick and underwhelming match with Bray Wyatt there is still a lot left in the Woken Universe. The loss to Wyatt may catapult Hardy into a more woken state, bringing with that more crazy antics. While perhaps this type of character is above championship gold, a run with the U.S. title would be fitting despite his having held it before. He could even put a broken spin on the title while he has it. A feud between the Hardy Boyz may be eminent, and one over the United States Championship would indeed be wonderful.

 


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Opinion

When Will The Roman Reigns Experiment End In WWE?

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Two weeks ago, Roman Reigns walked in to the Mercedes Benz Superdome and thought he would walk out of WrestleMania 34 as the new Universal Heavyweight Champion.

Brock Lesnar’s new deal with WWE ended those dreams as the current champion on Monday Night Raw destroyed the “Big Dog” and retained his title. Reigns gets another shot at glory at the Biggest Royal Rumble show in Saudi Arabia, but the chances of a different outcome may be slim of not possible at all. Still, WWE continues to push Reigns, a three-time WWE champion, as the future of the company. Watching him lose to Lesnar time after time hasn’t endeared him to the fans, who would still rather see a new performer atop the leaderboard.

WWE’s love affair with Roman Reigns must come to an end at some point, right? This isn’t a soap opera where you can stop watching for a year, come back and see the same storyline, is it? Apparently, Vince McMahon wants to get as much out of the Reigns as he can.

The main event picture on Monday nights got a little more crowded with the arrival of Bobby Lashley last week. Reigns, Lashley and Braun Strowman figure to be front and center on this carousel while Lesnar walks in and out of the company’s backdoor. The lure of WWE and UFC at the same time will leave the “Beast Incarnate” with deep pockets and decisions to make.

Having the Universal Champion on Monday nights showing off red gold would benefit everyone involved, including the man who has beaten The Undertaker and John Cena in the past year. If WWE wants to continue Reigns’ path as the new leader of the company, it must put the strap on his waist soon. Fans have become restless and disengaged. Strowman gets the biggest pops on television. Seth Rollins is the Intercontinental Champion and could elevate himself to the main event.

Lashley will have fan support any time he gets in the ring.

It’s a no-win situation for Reigns, who didn’t ask for this kind of response. Had he beaten Batista in the 2014 Royal Rumble, this might be a different story – the kind where fans cannot get enough of the former Shield member. 

I almost feel sorry for Reigns. A big, strong wrestler born into the business with a look of a champion. He falls victim to the social media age of this business and fan sensibilities that change from day to day. If Reigns had been a champion in the 1980s, he and Hulk Hogan would have torn down Madison Square Garden. If he had been part of the Attitude Era, no doubt Steve Austin, Triple H and The Rock would have come knocking on his door.

Had he been part of the NWA in the early 1980s, I would have loved to see him in matches with Barry Windham, Lex Lugar and Ric Flair. This is the hand he has been dealt. For that reason, he and the fans must live with it.

As long as McMahon is pushing the button, Reigns will be the center of attention. Lesnar may hold the belt now and there are rumors Bobby Lashley may soon take it from the current champ. But front and center on the mind of WWE’s “machine” is a way to finally get Reigns over as the champion of the red team and as a favorite with the steadfast fan base.

It’s a relationship that will continue to remain toxic as long as Reigns is pushed down fans’ throats.


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Opinion

The NXT North American Championship Is A Good Thing

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Chairshot Edit Adam Cole WWE
Pro Wrestling Wikia/Chairshot Edit

A few weeks ago William Regal announced that NXT would be unveiling a brand new championship at TakeOver: New Orleans. This lead to a six man ladder match to crown the first ever NXT North American Champion. A match I think we can all agree was excellent.

But the big question is though: Does NXT need another title?

Short Answer: Yes. Let me tell you why.

Now I know that a lot of people myself included like the clear structure of a TakeOver event. Just over 2 and a half hour show with just 5 matches allowing for more stories outside the title picture. This is good in theory but it doesn’t always work. In the past we’ve had the odd match on a Takeover that while great from an in ring standpoint in terms of story had no reason to exist.

Perfect example of this is Kassius Ohno vs Velveteen Dream from TakeOver: Philadelphia. Not a bad match by any means but the story behind hit felt rushed because they need another match to fill the card. The North American title has already partly taken care of this problem as the ladder match had a clear story behind it. Each man involved wanted the right to be known as the first champion.

Now look at the first ever NXT North American Champion: Adam Cole Bay Bay!

Since picking up the win for his team at War Games, Cole hadn’t won many big matches and was in danger of losing his appeal. Looking back he was the perfect guy to win it because he can lord over everyone like the cocky heel that he plays so well. His title win along with the inclusion of Roderick Strong into the Undisputed Era they once again feel like a dominant faction. Honestly they haven’t felt this hot since their debut.

Cole isn’t one who’s been made to feel big by the belt, who watching the ladder match didn’t feel like anyone in that match could have won? If you said you didn’t you’re a liar. He’s already defended his title at Mania Axxess against Akira Tozawa and is set to defend it on next weeks NXT against Oney Lorcan.

Which brings up my next point: more championships means more opportunities.

NXT’s roster is larger than most people realize. There are a lot of people who only work live events and have to wait months to get on TV. Even when they do it’s mostly to get squashed by someone.

Oney Lorcan despite being a very talent worker and over with Full Sail crowd has unfortunately fallen into the role of jobber to the stars. This match with Adam Cole is his first real shot at a championship in NXT. Hopefully this means that more talent in NXT like Lorcan who don’t get a lot of TV time get an opportunity.

You know most of them won’t win but if they can put on a great match they can get over in defeat. Similar to John Cena’s US open challenge. You knew he won’t lose to Zack Ryder or Stardust but he still put on a really good match with them.

The North American title has already given us great matches with the ladder match even getting the full 5 stars from Dave Meltzer (our own Andrew Balaz gave the match 3.5 stars). WWE matches don’t get those very often.

Finally as I said the NXT roster is quite vast meaning not everyone can win the top title. Before the North American title you had guys like Strong & Ohno wondering around the mid card aimlessly because if they weren’t going to win the title there wasn’t much else for them to do. Having a secondary belt gives certain superstars purpose. Instead of making Ohno a glorified jobber have him challenge for the North American title.

It’s also a great proving opportunity for certain stars. Stars who a little younger or they’re not sure if they’re ready for the main title have them win the North American Title and see what they do with it.

They’re way of saying “Here’s an opportunity, sink or swim with it”. It’s for this exact reason I was sure Velveteen Dream was going to win it. He’s incredibly over put maybe too young for the main title. In essence it could become what the Intercontinental Title use to back in the day. The up incoming guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and even The Rock got at least one run with the IC title before they were ready to become World champion.

You have to think this partly Triple H had in mind for this title as it’s an old school concept and he clearly loves old school wrestling. You can tell with NXT’s old territory set up and the design of the North American title itself.

With all that it’s hard to see how the NXT North American Championship can’t be a success. I see it possibly being on par if not bigger than the NXT Championship.


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Opinion

Bray Wyatt Has Found His Niche With Woken Matt Hardy

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Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt

Matt Hardy is sharing his Woken wisdom with the world. The first man to fully accept that wisdom is Bray Wyatt and the two men are now a tag team in WWE. Many fans saw this coming, as Wyatt’s character had peaked for the most part. There was only so much ground WWE could cover with him in his Eater of Worlds persona.

It was indeed time for a change and Hardy facilitated that change. Now the two men are sharing the same air without trying to destroy each other, which seemed to be their fate. Like Undertaker and Mankind, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt seemed destined to feud forever. But they are much better as a team.

That was perhaps not what fans expected. Though the signs of a potential partnership were there, no one could have predicted just how well they would mesh together. Fans watched them fight for so long that any union between them could have fallen flat.

But they are clicking together quite nicely at this point. Their personalities compliment each other and they have a great chemistry together. Wyatt has slid into the No.2 spot, which is a change of pace for him. He was always the man at the head of The Wyatt Family. He was always the one pulling the strings.

Therein lays the disbelief among many fans when it comes to this new team. Wyatt spent his entire WWE career as a heel. There was never any reason for anyone to trust him, because he was always playing mind games with everyone around him. He had no history as a babyface and he never really crossed into that area at any time during his run. He always had an agenda and that agenda was usually trouble for whoever crossed him.

Then there’s the fact that he was such a twisted soul. Bray Wyatt was never really hated like other heels around him, but he was booed. At his best Wyatt was creepy and sometimes even frightening. At his worst, he was a babbling madman. Somewhere in the middle, he found his niche.

The WWE faithful often didn’t understand what he was talking about but they knew it was psychological. Wyatt often seemed to talk above everyone’s head, as if he was already three steps in front of them. Fans took what they wantd from his promos and though the point wasn’t always clear, the intent was. Bray Wyatt wanted to be worshipped. He needed to be.

His character’s existence needed validation. The only way he could get that was by controlling others and making them need him. They were subservient to him and he led the way. Wyatt’s opponents wanted to shut him down but they were being played as well. Bray thrived on funhouse horror and expected everyone else to live that life with him. In that world, only he stood at the top.

So when fans now see him alongside Matt Hardy, they immediately have doubts. How could such a megalomaniacal figure like Bray Wyatt actually step aside and give control of his fate to a man that was beneath him? Wyatt did try to destroy Hardy and was convinced that he could do it. How could one brawl completely change his mind and indeed his very essence? Is that even possible?

In the world of WWE, Bray Wyatt is Marvel’s Loki. Like his comic book counterpart, Bray is devilish and conniving, always ready to use others for his own personal gain. He is a trickster, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a man that wants to slide in and take whatever he wants before anyone knows he was there.

Neither man is concerned with obliterating everything around them; they would much rather rule it all. Complete power is intoxicating and both men are indeed addicted to it. Loki has betrayed his brother Thor numerous times in order to get that kind of power. Is it only a matter of time until Bray Wyatt betrays Matt Hardy for the same reason?

The biggest problem with that theory is fans just saw it happen. Randy Orton once followed Bray and then turned on him. It was obvious from the start that Orton was up to something; he’s called The Viper for a reason. But no matter how many times it seemed as if Randy would leave Bray, he stayed. He even began to fit. Suddenly Randy Orton looked like he belonged with Bray Wyatt. Fans accepted it. But as soon as everyone relaxed, Orton made his move.

This could happen again of course. Wyatt could betray Hardy and leave him for dead in the middle of the ring. He could even take control of SAniTy and possibly even remake them in his own image. Many fans believe that would work and it quite possibly could. But is that the right move for Bray Wyatt?

Right now he and Matt Hardy are just getting started. Some guys are better enemies than friends but that just doesn’t apply to this situation. Hardy and Wyatt have gone to war many times before. Fans have seen that. It was fun and it worked for them. But it was time for something new. The same is definitely true for Wyatt.

Bray needed a change. He may have the same look and he may have the same move-set in the ring but he has evolved. Wyatt reached his apex and needed to do something fresh in order to keep moving forward. That’s exactly what he’s done now. Wyatt was a compelling heel but he can be a dynamic character babyface. This is what he perhaps should have been all along.

Matt and Bray are not The Hardy Boyz. They’re also not The Wyatt Family. These two Superstars are something more, something different. Hardy revitalized his pro wrestling career with his Broken and Woken personas. Bray Wyatt is now doing the same. The time for twists and turns may come. But now the time is right for this duo. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are bizarrely fun together and that fun is just beginning.


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