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WWE Payback: The Slow Death of the United States Title

There is a reason Mauro Ranallo continued to recount the history of the United States Championship.

The belt has meant nothing since John Cena dropped the belt to Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell last year. While poor booking cannot be blamed solely on Cena exiting the company at the end of 2015, there is some blame to be had, given the fact it was the 15-time world champion who had put the strap back on the map and made it important again.

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A title that has been worn by the likes of Ric Flair, Stan Hansen, Wahoo McDaniel and Lex Luger does not deserve the fate it has been dealt. No disrespect to Kalisto, who put on a good show in his win over Ryback at Payback. It’s not about talent, it’s about billing and promotion.

Right now, WWE doesn’t give a hoot about the title that Cena helped to rebuild. And until there is a major push once again for “Old Glory” to once again become prominent, it is likely we aren’t going to care about it, regardless of who is holding it in the air in a squared circle.

You have herd me rant before about the “forgotten” titles in this company. While I am railing against WWE for its lack of a plan to push Kalisto and the United States Title, the same thing can easily be said for the Intercontinental Title. But for now, let’s stick to the belt that Cena rebuilt. No title, regardless of who is wearing it, should be in a pay-per-view preshow. It shows the complete disregard for the title, the lack of respect for the wrestlers in the match and the idea that right now, belts really mean nothing in this company. If they did, there would be a better push for the Luchadore and a stronger commitment to bringing back the mighty Mexican and Latino wrestler. Eddie Guerrero must be doing back flips right about now.

Ryback ranted last week about his direction with this company and his place on the WWE food chain. He has a point. While the “David vs. Goliath” scenario has always been a key part of any promotion, Ryback should have been pushed a bit harder in this program. Kalisto is by no means Rey Mystero, or Eddie or Chavo Guerrero or Billy Kidman. At the same time, his own style should have been highlighted with the title in hand – not lowlighted for the actual event started.

If WWE wanted to build the title back to the state it once was – pre Cena exit – it should have put the title on Ryback and booked him as a menacing beast. The Big Guy should have run through competition, squashing everyone in his path. Kalisto should have been a bump in the road, a short diversion until Cena made his triumphant return on Memorial Day, where he once again would stake his claim to a title he never got another shot to reclaim what was his.

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As of now, Kalisto is a temporary solution to a major problem within WWE. Booking this belt should mean more than what it has been given. When Ranallo talked again and again about the greats who held the title, in effect he was declaring the company’s impotence at scripting a solid feud. It’s a shame it takes Cena once again to save WWE from itself, therefore discrediting the “push” Kalisto is receiving.

We should all stand for a moment of silence and remember the United States Title as we once saw it. In a match between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. In a strap match between Flair and McDaniel. In a series of matches between Cena and Rusev. Right now, it is nothing more than a belt with red, white and blue. And regardless of who wears it, its meaning is very little to a company that did its best to promote it only seven months ago.

WWE: The US Championship: A Legacy of Greatness Season 1

WWE: NXT’s Greatest Matches Vol. 1

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