Last week, after a great United States Championship match between Bobby Roode and Rusev, Randy Orton showed up and killed everyone. This week, Roode demanded that Orton meet him face-to-face. The Viper did so, and then Jinder Mahal showed up, because why not? Long story short, Jinder delivers Khallases to everyone.
The most interesting part of all of this is that Randy Orton is seemingly entering the United States title picture. What could be the consequences of this? Could the Apex Predator become the new United States Champion?
Short answer: no. Long answer: noooooooo. Orton is one of those veterans who is already so established that they could lose a match in 30 seconds and no one would really mind. He’s been around for that long. He’s a former World Champion, a two-time Royal Rumble winner, former Mr. Money in the Bank. Speaking in kayfabe, Orton is above the star-spangled championship.
Besides, the ideal purpose of the championship is to give midcarders and up-and-comers the chance to prove themselves. Recently, though, that’s not really been the case. Since 2016, ten different men have been champion. Of those ten, only four have never held a world title (Kalisto, Rusev, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Roode).
That said, the last few reigns have been kind of lackluster, to say the least. AJ Styles and Kevin Owens traded the title for a bit. Baron Corbin lost it after 70 days. Dolph Ziggler decided he didn’t want the title anymore. Roode’s been doing alright so far with his Open Challenges, but more can be done.
Randy Orton can do that.
Remember when John Cena was hosting the United States Open Challenge? He was putting on great matches with the likes of Neville, Zack Ryder, Wade Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Stardust, and many others. I like the idea of Open Challenges. You make the champ seem like a big deal, and it really shows how many people are gunning after the champion.
If Randy Orton were to become United States Champion and host an open challenge, he could do wonders for Smackdown. Even if he didn’t host an open challenge, he could still help the image of the title. Whoever can beat the 13-time World Champion Randy Orton could be cemented as a big deal.
Here’s the thing, though. It has to be a new guy, and WWE has to commit. Cena’s title reign ended at the hands of Alberto Del Rio, who did a whole lot of nothing. Styles traded the title with Owens for a bit before dropping it to Baron Corbin. The defeat was less impactful, and Corbin was dethroned just two months later.
If new blood, for example, Mike Kanellis, were to suddenly beat Orton and then defeat him soundly in a rematch, that would make him. Were he to defend it a few more times successfully, he’d be made even more.
If you’re going to give the United States championship to legends, then make sure that they’re used properly.
Think about that. In his 16 year career, Orton has never ever won the United States Championship. It’s similar to how Cena has never won the Intercontinental Championship. They just so happened to be on different brands, and by the time they switched, they were so established that they didn’t need the title anymore.
If Orton won, he’d be in an elite tier. He’d join the esteemed company of Kurt Angle, Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns. That would be pretty cool.