It’s here, the latest in our series counting down the greatest United States Champions. This time, we’re taking a look at the 2000’s: the time of flip phones, AIM and MySpace. In the wrestling world, we saw the acquisition of World Championship Wrestling by Vince McMahon, the devolution of the “diva’s” division and the end of both the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression eras.
The Ruthless Aggression Era was a great one for the U.S. Championship, filled with greats matches, feuds and title reigns. How will the list stack up? Join us as we count down the top ten United States Champions of the 2000’s.
10. Eddie Guerrero
As the first wrestler to hold the revived version of the belt we know today, Eddie Guerrero comes in at the number 10 spot. Guerrero defeated Chris Benoit in a tournament final to win the championship on July 27th, 2003 and would go on to hold it for 84 days. Eddie successfully defended the championship five times, including a great fatal four match at SummerSlam 2003. Guerrero would go on to lose the championship in October of the same year against Big Show.
9. The Miz
The Miz takes our number nine spot and was the wrestler who ushered the United States Championship into the 2010’s. The Miz would win the championship from Kofi Kingston and would hold it for 87 days before the 2000’s came to an end and would continue to carry it into the next decade. During his reign in the 2000’s, Miz would successfully defend the championship four times.
8. Kofi Kingston
Our number eight spot goes to current New Day member, Kofi Kingston. Kingston held the championship once in the 2000’s, holding it for 126 days. Kingston won the championship in June 2009, defeating MVP. Kofi would go onto successfully defend the United States Championship nine times. Kingston would lose the championship to The Miz in October of the same year.
7. Big Show
The Big Show comes in at our number seven spot. He had one reign throughout the ’00’s, lasting 147 days. Show won the championship from Guerrero on October 19, 2003. He would successfully defend it twice against Billy Gunn and Bob Holly, respectively. Show would lose the championship to John Cena six months later.
6. Orlando Jordan
Our number six spot goes to the JBL’s Chief of Staff and protege, Orlando Jordan. Jordan may be the least recognizable name on this list, but nevertheless, Jordan deserves to be on this list. Jordan won the championship from Jone Cena in March 2005. Jordan would successfully defend the championship a total of nine times. Jordan would lose to Chris Benoit in August of the same year.
5. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin comes in the number five on our list. Benjamin won the United States Championship in July 2008 at the Great American Bash, defeating Matt Hardy. Benjamin would hold the championship for 240 days, successfully defending it a total of four times against the likes of Hurricane Helms, Jeff Hardy, and R-Truth. Benjamin would lose the championship to MVP.
Our number four spot goes to “big match John,” John Cena. Cena held the championship three times in the 2000’s, holding it for 114, two, and 105 days, respectively. Cena would win his first championship at WrestleMania XX against the Big Show. This would also be Cena’s first title win in the WWE, not including OVW. Throughout his reigns, Cena would successfully defend his championship 12 times. Cena would be stripped of the championship after attacking then-Smackdown GM, Kurt Angle. Cena’s 2nd and 3rd reigns would end at the hands of Carlito and Orlando Jordan, respectively.
3. Booker T
Booker T takes the bronze medal for this list, holding the United States Championship a total of four times during the 2000’s. Booker is the only person on this list to have the belt in WCW in the 2000’s. Booker’s four reigns lasted 128, 68, 35, and 40, respectively, totaling 271 days. Booker successfully defending the championship a total of six times throughout his reigns, including a best of five series with John Cena and a feud with our number two entry.
2. Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit comes in at our runner-up spot for the 2000’s. Although Benoit is a controversial figure in pro wrestling today, we won’t be discussing any of his actions outside of the ring. Instead, we will focus on his three U.S. Championship reigns. During his three reigns, Benoit held the championship a combined 58, 42, and 222 days, respectively, totaling 322 days. During his collective reigns, Benoit defended the championship 13 times, defeating the likes of William Regal, Finlay, and Chavo Guerrero Jr.
1. Montel Vontavious Porter
We’ve made it to the number one spot, and who sits on top of the list? None other than Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP. With 419 days held over two reigns, MVP deserves the top spot as the best United States Champion of the 00’s. MVP’s first reign started after beating Chris Benoit in a two out of three falls match in May 2007. He would defend the championship six times before losing to Matt Hardy 343 days later.
MVP would win the championship again one year later, defeating Shelton Benjamin. During this reign, MVP would hold the title 76 days and successfully defend the championship twice against Dolph Ziggler and Matt Hardy. MVP would eventually lose his championship a second time against Kofi Kingston in March 2009. Overall a couple of great reigns, MVP is worthy of the number one spot.