In honor of Chris Jericho’s “historic” United States Championship victory over Roman Reigns this week, we decided to take a look back at the history of the US title and highlight some of the biggest moments in its 42 year history. The US title is actually older than the Intercontinental Championship making its debut way back in 1975. However in terms of the WWE it is actually only been around since 2003. With 81 different champions in its history it is one of the belts that has changed hands most often. (Side Note: Ric Flair tops the list of title reigns with 6, because of course he does.)
Where it all began
The legend Harley Race was the inaugural champion when the new title was created by NWA territory Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on January 1. 1975. The title would be a regional championship until all the NWA territories recognized it as the undisputed title in 1981. Race defeated Johnny Weaver on a house show (not like there were pay per views back then) to win the title and would go on to hold the title for 184 days before dropping the belt to Johnny Valentine.
Roddy Piper, who many wrestling fans consider one of the best talkers ever, became the first undisputed US champ when he defeated Ric Flair. This would be Piper’s first run with the title, which would last 193 days before he lost to Hall of Famer Wahoo McDaniel. Piper’s victory would bring Flair’s fifth reign to an end. Flair would have to wait another 15 years for his last reign with the title.
The “Total Package”
No article about the US Championship would be complete if it didn’t feature Lex Luger. Luger holds a couple of distinctions when it comes to the US title. His third title reign from May 1989 until dropping the strap to Stan Hansen at Halloween Havoc in October 1990 lasted 523 days, which is still the longest reign in the titles history. He and Rick Rude are the only two champions to have had title reigns that lasted longer than one year. (Side Note: Someone at WWE creative will realize this eventually and have a WWE superstar break the record in the next 2 years. I’m calling it.) Luger was also the first WCW US Champion when WCW split from the NWA back in 1991. Luger also shares the distinction along with Raven, Goldberg, Chris Benoit and Terry Funk as title holders who’s reign lasted for 1 day. Steve Austin holds the record for shortest reign as he won and lost the title in the same night at Fall Brawl 1994: War Games.
He added it to his List
He may be one of the most decorated champions in WWE history. He was the first ever Undisputed WWF Champion, 3 time World Heavyweight Champion, 9 time Intercontinental Champion, 1 time Hardcore Champion, 1 time European Champion, 7 time Tag Team Champion and now finally he’s won the United States Championship. Honestly, I’m surprised that he didn’t win it in WCW, but I guess he was more in the Cruiserweight scene during that time. Say what you will about how the WWE got us to this point, if I never see Jericho vs. Reigns again I can die happy, but this seems like a great way to progress a couple of stories that have been a bit stagnant lately and it’s a nice tip of the cap to a Superstar that has experienced a career resurgence over the last year.
Who’s your favorite US Champ of all time? Tell us in the comments.
Image from wwe.com