The U.S. Championship currently defended in the WWE dates back to 1975 and the National Wrestling Alliance. In some instances, exact dates of title changes and the 16 vacancies and tournaments to fill the vacancies were impossible to determine because records were not kept accurately. Sources used include WWE.com, onlineworldofwrestling.com, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac.
Traditionally, this title was seen as a stepping stone to the NWA World Championship. This is exactly what the title was for Lex. From 1987 - 1991, Lex was seemingly always either the U.S. Champion or the number one contender for it. Over an 874 day period, he was only without the title for 65 days. While champion, he was involved in a feud with Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship. In 1991, he vacated the title when he won the vacant NWA World Championship from Barry Windham.
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Prior to becoming the 16-time world champion, Flair was a U.S. Champion. In the late '70s, Flair feuded with Ricky Steamboat for the title and the belt changed hands several times between them. History would go on to repeat itself a decade later as Flair and Steamboat would swap the NWA World Championship.
3. Blackjack Mulligan - 498 Days
The WWE Hall of Famer is most famous for his legendary tag team with Blackjack Lanza. The highlight of his singles career was his three U.S. Championship reigns in the mid '70s. Many younger fans will know him best as being the father of Barry Windham
and Kendall Windham. He is also the father-in-law of Mike "IRS" Rotundo(a).
The late Rick Rude is most famous for his stint in the WWE as the guy that would tell the fat sweathogs in the audience to keep it down while he showed the women what a real man looked like. His act of kissing the women in the audience caused him some trouble when he went after Jake Robert's
wife. After leaving the WWE, he joined the Dangerous Alliance in WCW. He won the U.S. title from Sting in November '91 and held the belt until January '93 when he lost the belt to Dustin Rhodes.
MVP won the title from Chris Benoit at Judgment Day 2007
and held it for close to a year. While US Champion, he also found the time to win the WWE Tag Team Championship with his arch-rival Matt Hardy
. He wound up losing the title to his former tag team championship partner at Backlash 2008
. His second title reign started when he beat Shelton Benjamin
on the March 20, 2009, edition of SmackDown
. He lost it to Kofi Kingston
on the June 1, 2009, edition of Monday Night RAW
The WWE Hall of Famer held the title twice in the early '80s. His most famous feud during this era was with Roddy Piper. The two men fought in a classic Dog Collar Match at Starrcade '83
. Shortly after this feud ended, he joined the WWE where he went on to win the Intercontinental Championship from Tito Santana and become a tag team champion with Brutus Beefcake.
I'm going to avoid discussing the obvious and just discuss his U.S. Championship title reigns. He is one of a few men to hold the title in both the WWE and WCW. His WWE reigns saw him win the title for the first time in less than a minute from Orlando Jordan. He lost the title to Booker T and eventually regained it from him in a best-of-seven series that saw Randy Orton
substitute for Booker T
in a few of the matches. He lost the title for the final time to MVP
Dean Ambrose won the title from Kofi Kingston at Extreme Rules 2013. At the same event the following year, The Shield beat Evolution. Out of spite, Triple H punished Dean by forcing him to defend the title in a 20-man battle royal which he lost when he was the final competitor eliminated by Sheamus.
The Cold War heated up during the summer of 1986. The vacant title was up for grabs in a best-of-seven series between Magnum T.A. and "The Russian Nightmare" Nikita Koloff. Nikita took a 3-0 lead in the series but Magnum came back to even it up. With the help of his Uncle Ivan's chain, Nikita won the title. While he was the most hated man in the business, a terrible tragedy occurred. Magnum was involved in a life-threatening car crash that ended his career. Nikita dedicated the rest of his title reign to Magnum and joined forces with "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. Nikita wound up losing the title to Lex Luger.
10. Wahoo McDaniel - 322 DaysThe late Wahoo McDaniel held the title on five occasions in the early '80s. He won the title for the first time from Roddy Piper in 1981 and his final title reign was ended by Magnum T.A. in 1985. Prior to becoming a wrestler, Wahoo was a professional football player. Without a doubt, he is the most famous Native American wrestler ever. He was legitimately Native American, unlike Chief Jay Strongbow.