WWE United States Championship
|WWE United States Championship|
Rusev, two-time champion
|Date established||January 1, 1975|
|Date won||April 11, 2021|
The WWE United States Championship is a professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was originally a National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling title. It has mostly been the exclusive secondary championship of WWE's weekly TV show, SmackDown Live since April 2017 when the champion at the time Kevin Owens was moved to the show in the 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up.
History[change | change source]
The WWE United States Championship was originally known as the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling run by Jim Crockett Promotions. Following the title's introduction in 1975, Harley Race became the inaugural champion on June 14. The title became "Undisputed" in January 1981 when no other United States title was recognized in other promotions governed by the National Wrestling Alliance. In 1986, the title became a secondary championship in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling when Jim Crockett Promotions gained control of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The title was renamed the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) United States Heavyweight Championship in 1991 when Jim Crockett Promotions became World Championship Wrestling.
In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation purchased World Championship Wrestling from AOL Time Warner. Soon after, "The Invasion" took place in which the WCW/ECW Alliance was ultimately dismantled. During this time, the title was referred to as the WCW United States Championship. At Survivor Series 2001, the title was unified with the WWF Intercontinental Championship. The United States Champion, Edge, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Test, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion while causing United States Championship to become inactive.
In July 2003, the title was reactivated as the WWE United States Championship by SmackDown General Manager, Stephanie McMahon, and was commissioned to be a secondary championship to the SmackDown brand. This was done shortly after the WWE Intercontinental Championship was recommissioned by the Raw brand, making the title its equal counterpart.
The United States Championship was drafted to ECW as part of the 2008 WWE Draft on June 23, 2008 when then champion Matt Hardy was drafted to ECW. It then followed Shelton Benjamin back to SmackDown the following Sunday at The Great American Bash. One year later it was brought to the Raw brand when then champion Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) was drafted to Raw as part of the 2009 WWE Draft.
On August 29, 2011, the "brand extension" that was in effect ended when all WWE programming became "Supershows" that featured wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown. All WWE titles, including the United States Championship, could then be defended at any WWE event.
In July 2016, Rusev was sent to SmackDown Live in the 2016 WWE Draft, bringing the championship to that show. In April 2017, the 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up happened at the champion at the time Kevin Owens was drafted to Raw. Since then, the championship has been on that show except for when day when then champion Jinder Mahal was sent to SmackDown Live in the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up. The next day, he lossed the title to Jeff Hardy who was drafted and brought the title to Raw.