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The WWE United States Championship is a second tier championship in WWE. It was originally a championship promoted in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (later known as Jim Crockett Promotions and World Championship Wrestling.

The WWE United States Championship was originally known as the United States Heavyweight Championship and began as a regional championship created by and defended in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling run by Jim Crockett, Jr. Following the title's introduction in 1975, Harley Race became the inaugural champion on January 1. The title quickly replaced the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship as the top singles title in the promotion. While the National Wrestling Alliance recognized only one World Heavyweight Champion, there was no single undisputed U.S. Champion as a number of NWA regional promotions recognized their own version of the title and champion. That all changed, however, in January 1981 when the NWA territory based out of San Francisco, the last remaining promotion outside the Mid-Atlantic territory that recognized its own U.S. Champion, folded.

The title remained the primary championship within the Mid-Atlantic territory until 1986 when Crockett gained control of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The U.S. Title then became the secondary championship of the promotion. After Ted Turner bought the company and renamed it World Championship Wrestling in November 1988, the title continued to be used and recognized as secondary to the World Championship. WCW eventually began to slowly pull itself away from the NWA, demonstrated by the company changing the name of the title to the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) United States Heavyweight Championship in January 1991.

In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) purchased World Championship Wrestling. As part of the purchase, the United States Championship became WWF property. Throughout 2001, the title was referred to as the WCW United States Championship, as this was during The Invasion period. At WWE Survivor Series 2001, the title was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The United States Champion, Edge, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Test, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion and the United States Championship was then deactivated.

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. Eddie Guerrero became the first champion after months of having been vacated through a tournament in the finals at WWE Vengeance 2003 vs Chris Benoit. This was done shortly after the WWE Intercontinental Championship was recommissioned by the Raw brand, making the title its equal counterpart. The title remained on SmackDown until April 13, 2009, when reigning champion Montel Vontavious Porter was drafted from SmackDown over to Raw during the 2009 WWE Draft, moving the title with him. On April 26, 2011, reigning champion Sheamus was drafted to SmackDown during the2 011 WWE Draft, briefly bringing the U.S. Title back to the brand. Five days later, Raw's Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus for the title at WWE Extreme Rules 2011, returning it to Raw. Since August 29, 2011, when all WWE programming became "Supershows" featuring the entire roster, the U.S. Title has been defended on both Raw and SmackDown.

Championship Lineage

NWA United States Heavyweight Championship

  • Harley Race: January 1, 1975 - Race was awarded the title with the explanation that he defeated Johnny Weaver in a tournament final.
  • Johnny Valentine: July 3, 1975 - NWA Live Event

Vacated — October 4, 1975

Vacated — August 12, 1979

Vacated — September 1, 1981

Vacated — July 1, 1984

Vacated - May 29, 1986

Vacated - April 15, 1988

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

Vacated — July 14, 1991

Vacated — January 16, 1993

Vacated — May 29, 1993

Vacated — March 25, 1995

Vacated - November 25, 1996

Vacated - July 6, 1998

Vacated — March 18, 1999

Vacated — July 5, 1999

Vacated - January 16, 2000

Vacated - April 10, 2000

Vacated — July 9, 2000

Vacated - July 24 2001

Unified — November 18, 2001 - Survivor Series with the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE United States Championship

Vacated - July 8, 2004

Vacated — November 25, 2005

Vacated — May 24, 2010

VACATED - Declared Vacant by Daniel Bryan on December 26 2017 after Dolph Ziggler abandoned the title in the ring.

VACATED Rey Mysterio voluntarily relinquished the title back to Joe due to Mysterio suffering a shoulder injury.

See Also

WWE Championships, WCW, NWA Championships