Hopefully, Roman Reigns will make the United States Title great again. It’s not a campaign slogan of sorts, but beating the Bulgarian Brute Rusev should help put the former WWE World Champion on the fast track to another title opportunity.
It should also help him win over WWE fans who are still on the fence over supporting the guy they all love to hate. Once a regional belt, the United States Title was considered the second most important belt to the NWA World Title and later the second most important strap to the WWE World Title – thanks to John Cena.
Now, around the waist of the former Shield member, it has a chance to become as important as the Universal Heavyweight Belt, now worn by Kevin Owens. The United States Title has a rich history dating back to the old days of the NWA where names like Haley Race, Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper all wore the gold proudly.
Overall, there have been 83 different champions. Ric Flair holds the record for having the most reigns at six, while John Cena holds the record for most reigns under the WWE banner at five. Lex Luger holds the record for longest reign, with his third reign lasting a total of 523 days, while Dean Ambrose holds the longest reign under the WWE banner, at 351 days (overall the third longest in the title's history).
Only two men, Lex Luger and Rick Rude, have held the championship for a continuous reign of one year (365 days) or more.
Here is a look at the five greatest United States champions of all time.
One of the toughest, most rugged performers in the ring, Race was a mainstay in the old NWA before he moved on to the WWF at the end of his career. He won the NWA World Heavyweight Title on eight occasions, taking down the likes of Jack Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr, Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes.
Race was also the first ever United States Champion recognised by the promotion. In 1975, Race defeated Johnny Weaver in Tallahassee, FL to capture the title in its infancy. The title at the time was only defended in the Mid-Atlantic region. Race held the title for 187 days.