Bobby Roode captured the WWE United States championship during the Jan. 16 episode of Smackdown Live – possibly ushering a new era for the title – a glorious era.
Roode defeated former WWE champion Jinder Mahal in the finals of the United States title tournament. During the match, Roode hit a spinebuster and countering Mahal’s Khallas with a Glorious DDT.
— WWE (@WWE) January 17, 2018
Prior to facing Mahal, Roode won his semifinal match against Mojo Rawley. After the match, he was attacked by was later attacked by Samir and Sunil Singh. After the attack, Mahal taunted him, resulting in Roode requesting their U.S. title match taking place the same evening. Mahal refused, but Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan ordered the finals to take place in the main event.
He began the tournament with a victory against former United State champion Baron Corbin. After the match, Roode posted a tweet of his reaction to winning the championship.
— Bobby Roode (@REALBobbyRoode) January 17, 2018
This is the first singles title for Roode since he made his main roster debut back in August.
The Glorious One was widely known for his run in NXT, which included a 203-day reign with the NXT Championship that ended at NXT Takeover Brooklyn III. Anyone who has followed Roode’s professional wrestling career knows the WWE United States title is another piece of hardware for his large trophy case.
Fans were excited when Roode made his Smackdown Live debut, but there have been concerns from fans about his lackluster feud with Dolph Ziggler in the beginning weeks of his run.
Roode’s first championship feud saw him challenging Corbin for the U.S. title in what would be a triple threat match with Ziggler, who went on to win the title. Ziggler would later relinquish the championship, resulting in the tournament.
Now that Roode has the title, he’ll have a big target on his back. Potential feuds for his first few months for his title reign include Mahal and Corbin. Xavier Woods, who lost to Mahal in their semifinal match, may throw his name in the hat. There is also a chance Ziggler could return to Smackdown Live and challenge Roode for the title.
2018 is shaping up to be a big year for Roode. Not only has he captured his first taste of WWE gold, he is also set to tag with Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair in WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge. The two will have title belts to along with their robes.
Flair was one of many superstars who congratulated Roode on his title win.
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) January 17, 2018
In all seriousness, the United States title is akin to the WWE Intercontinental Championship on Raw in that it is the midcard championship, but it can be used in high profile storylines. It also carries a long history with many WWE Hall of Famers holding onto it at some point during their careers.
A who’s who of wrestlers have also held the U.S. title on their way to winning a WWE world title.
Will Roode be one of the superstars who captures a world title after holding on to the U.S. championship? Only time will tell, but the fact that he has the United States championship is a good first step.