Just 48 hours after Dolph Ziggler captured his second U.S. Title, he cryptically relinquished it on SmackDown LIVE. Leaving fans speculating on his status with the WWE, it seems that they have plans for Dolph Ziggler 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 LIVE, Bobby Roode defeated Baron Corbin to advance to the next round of the U.S. Title tournament, thrusting him one step closer to once again tasting WWE gold. Although I predict a Baron Corbin interference, Bobby 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 U.S. Title for awhile now, however, now with a spot in the Final Four of the tournament, Bobby 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Title on Rusev Day! As one of the most dominant U.S. Champions in the Title’s history, the charismatic Chicago crowd hijacked SmackDown LIVE this week with chants of “Rusev Day”, solidifying the fact that Rusev should be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the prize.
3. Shinsuke Nakamura
As I am sure many of you heard, Kenny Omega blasted WWE this week over the handling of Shinsuke 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? Shinsuke Nakamura as U.S. 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.
2. Dolph Ziggler
Imagine the scenario where Dolph Ziggler returns, asking what the hell is going on, and claiming he is still the U.S. Champ. Whether this leads to Dolph Ziggler winning the tournament, or going CM Punk style and emerging as the second U.S. Champ to face the real one, Dolph Ziggler winning (or re-winning) the title would serve as a huge statement to the locker room. If Dolph 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 U.S. Title would honestly be to have Jinder Mahal capture the gold. What better way to develop his character than to have a US-hating, U.S. 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 Mahal would actually help restore prestige to the U.S. Title, so long he is booked correctly.