Just 48 hours after Dolph Ziggler captured his second US Title, he cryptically relinquished it on SDL. Leaving fans speculating on his status with the WWE, it seems that they have plans for Dolph in the future and he has not quit the company. Despite this, Daniel Bryan announced that there will be a tournament for the vacant US Title. Here are my top five picks to win the vacant title.
5. Bobby Roode
This past Tuesday on Smackdown, Roode defeated Corbin to advance to the next round of the US Title tournament, thrusting him one step closer to once again tasting WWE gold. Although I predict a Baron Corbin interference, Roode winning the title would grant him some much needed credibility and some creative direction. The Glorious One has been a top contender to the US Title for awhile now, however, now with a spot in the Final Four of the tournament, Roode as the new champ is a very real possibility.
While The Bulgarian Brute is enjoying his newfound popularity in his bizarre team with Aidan English, the US Title would be huge for Rusev’s career. While unlikely as he is in the Tag Division at the moment, imagine a day where Rusev won the US Title on Rusev Day! As one of the most dominant US Champions in the Title’s history, the charismatic Chicago crowd hijked SDL this week with chants of “Rusev Day”, solidifying the fact that Rusev should be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the prize.
As I am sure many of you heard, Kenny Omega blasted WWE this week over the handling of Nakamura. I agree that he hasn’t lived up to his hype, but what better way to turn that around than giving the King Of Strong Style the United States Championship? Nakamura as US Champ would be intriguing, unpredictable, and a perfect way to kickstart his reign as one of WWE’s main event players. He is a massive star and WWE needs to take advantage of the market he can open for them.
Imagine the scenario where Ziggler returns, asking what the hell is going on, and claiming he is still the US Champ. Whether this leads to Ziggler winning the tournament, or going CM Punk style and emerging as the second US Champ to face the real one, Ziggler winning (or re-winning) the title would serve as a huge statement to the locker room. If Ziggler could do it again, I believe he would instantaneously become a heat magnet, backing up his claim that he is a world class performer.
1. Jinder Mahal
I will be the first person to say: I am not a Jinder Mahal fan. It isn’t necessarily his fault either, but I just can’t take him seriously. However, I will admit that he is capable of receiving nuclear heat from the fans and eliciting the correct emotions when he needs to. He is improving in the ring and on the mic everyday, as well as developing as a character. The best thing for the US Title would honestly be to have Mahal capture the gold. What better way to develop his character than to have a US-hating, US Champion? The classic foreign heel angle would now be magnified as the title would be added to the mix. While many may disagree, I believe that Jinder would actually help restore prestige to the US Title, so long he is booked correctly.