US vs Them: In Praise of the US Title Open Challenge

Kevin Owens John Cena

Craig Wilson

Since being crowned United States Champion, John Cena has taken on all comers in the weekly Open Challenge on Raw. That segment has gone on to be one of the best parts of Raw each week and has seen a number of entertaining matches and surprise debuts.

We’re not often all that fulsome in our praise for Raw as a show. Regular criticisms are aired such as the length of the show itself and how routine it has become – a lengthy talking segment generally seems to start and end the show.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t the odd gem thrown in there too. One particular highlight has certainly been John Cena’s Open Challenge for his US title.

This has been a success on a number of fronts. You’ve got a bona fide main event talent carrying the golf, defending it regularly and making it come across as a title that means something.

That’s not a dig, in the slightest, against Rusev as his gimmick added a lot to the title but having it defended regularly is a great thing for a belt that for a lengthy period of time served as an accessory rather than a competitive championship.

But now it’s front and centre of every Raw broadcast and what a breath of fresh air it has been and has helped introduce two of the biggest stars in NXT to a wider audience. Namely: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

For me, and it was a point Jamie made in a previous post, John Cena’s open challenge is the perfect way to introduce someone to the WWE faithful and introduce them with a bang: stepping up to the main roster and in their first outing defeating Cena for his US title.

Could this be the role of Kevin Owens?

Quite possibly, leaving Cena lying on your very first appearance on Raw is one way to introduce yourself to the WWE Universe, that’s for sure.

Owens is destined to succeed although his remarks about the length of time it took him to get there doesn’t scream big league player but that’s just a small point. Regardless, the open challenge has provided a great platform for superstars to be able to debut in a meaningful way and an important segment on Raw and that’s very good for business.

Ultimately, the US Title open challenge is a great platform to launch a major star for the years to come but in the short term, attaches a great deal of significance to the US title which will be good in the long term for whoever it is that steps up and takes the gold from Cena.

It’s been a welcome addition to a show that’s needed some fresh content for a long long time and the benefit it has provided to the US title can’t be overstated.

In fact, it’s become one of the segments on Raw that I most look forward to. Long may it continue to be part of Raw.


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