It is quite astonishing to believe that the United States title is Samoa Joe’s first major championship since his explosive arrival on the main roster well over two years ago.
Joe will be making his WrestleMania debut this year when he puts his championship on the line against Rey Mysterio on the ‘grandest stage of them all’.
From his tussle with Brock Lesnar over the Universal belt to his deep and personal battle with AJ Styles over the WWE crown, Joe’s failure to win the ‘big one’ left fans wondering when his time would come.
His victory in a fantastic fatal four-way US title match against then-title holder R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and Andrade a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown was a fitting reward for a man who – even without a title – continued to make sure that his presence was felt on the show.
Look no further than his feud with Jeff Hardy as an example of the outstanding work of which Joe is capable.
With a devastating Uranage slam in the middle of the ring to Mysterio, Joe’s name was virtually engraved on the US title – it was academic.
His elation (and what seemed to be relief, more than anything) of finally winning his first title on the main roster was etched all over his face for the world to see.
Joe’s backstage promo following his title win on SmackDown was befitting of a superstar who had just won the world title. In Joe’s mind it didn’t matter to him which title he would eventually hoist over his head, to him that championship would become the number one in the business.
Samoa Joe is the ideal superstar to give the US title the much-needed spotlight it deserves. Given a lengthy title reign, Joe has the pedigree and ability to have a run with the title that could be reminiscent of the memorable Intercontinental title reigns of Seth Rollins and The Miz.
In the weeks that have followed since Joe won the title, the spotlight has been shone on one of the oldest and prestigious titles in WWE.
Joe, Mysterio, Andrade and R-Truth have delivered show-stealing tag-team and fatal four-way matches at Fastlane and on SmackDown.
But the sight of Joe’s menacing walks down the ramp while mean mugging his opponent while he waits in the ring with the US title on his shoulder is one of the best visual presentations in WWE today.