It’s that time, time for the next iteration in our series ranking the best United States champions from each decade. This time. it’s the 2010’s. With smartphones, tablets and self-driving cars, the decades proved to be filled with some astounding technological feats. In the 2010’s, the wrestling world has seen the end of the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak, the formation NXT and of a resurgence in popularity for the independent wrestling scene.
For the United State championship, the decade has a bit mediocre with short, quick reigns taking up most of the decade with longer reigns sprinkled in. This decade has also seen a few era changes within the WWE, starting with the PG era coming off the heels of the 00’s, fading into the reality era and finally settling into the “New Era” in 2016.
The United States championship has gone through some up and downs and that brings us to today, where we count down the ten champions of the decade…so far.
First on the list, ranking number 10, Kalisto. The former Luch Dragons member has held the championship twice, hold the belt for one and 119 day(s), respectively, an obvious 120 days combined. During his second reign, Kalisto successfully the championship four times against superstar such as Neville, Alberto Del Rio, and Ryback.
Both of Kalisto’s reigns were during a feud with Del Rio, winning and losing his first reign against the Mexican native. Kalisto won his second from Del Rio in January 2016, only losing it 5 months later to Rusev.
9. Daniel Bryan
Our next spot on the list goes to the American Dragon, Daniel Bryan. Bryan has had one reign with the championship in the decade, defeating the Miz in September 2010 to win the title. Bryan would go onto to hold the championship for 176 days, successfully defending it only two times. Bryan would lose the championship to Sheamus on an episode of Raw in March 2011.
8. Santino Marella
The Canadian-born Italian, Santino Marella comes in at our number eight spot. Santino is another superstar on our list to only hold the championship once. Santino won the championship on the March 12, 2012, episode of Raw, defeating Jack Swagger.
Marella would hold the championship for 167 days, successfully defending it 6 times including a steel cage rematch against Swagger and a triple threat defense against Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Santino would lose the championship six months later to Anontio Ceasro, as he was known at the time. Overall, a pretty good reign for someone usually used a comedy act.
7. The Miz
Our number seven spot goes to the Miz, who has held the championship twice in the decade. Although the Miz’s first reign lasted 224 days, he won it in 2009, therefore, he only held it for 137 in this decade. His second started after defeating R-Truth in June 2010. He would hold it for 97 days, making his combined days held 234. During his first reign, the Miz successfully defended the championship twice and in his second reign, he would defend the championship once, totaling three defenses across both reigns. The Miz’s second reign would end at the hand of his NXT protege, Daniel Bryan.
6. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler, a former World Champion, and a Triple Crown winner comes in at the number six spot. Ziggler held the championship twice throughout the decade. his first win came against Kofi Kingston in June 2011. Ziggler would hold the championship for 182 days and successfully defend it five times. Ziggler’s 2nd reign came after defeating Baron Corbin (c) and Tye Dillinger in a triple threat match at Clash of Champions in Decm=ember, 2017. Nine days later though, Dolph would vacate the championship and take an indefinite hiatus.
The number five spot goes to the Brogue kicking Fella, Sheamus. During the decade, Sheamus held the title twice. His championship win came against Daniel Bryan in March 2011. He would hold the championship for only 48 days before losing to Kofi Kingston in a tables match.
Three years later, Sheamus would win his second U.S. championship by winning a 20-man over the top battle royal which included the then-champ, Dean Ambrose. After winning the battle royale, Sheamus would hold the championship for 182 before losing to Rusev six months later. Through both of his reigns, Sheamus held the championship for 230 days and successfully defended it seven times.
4. John Cena
Big Match John or the Doctor of Thuganomics, whatever you call Cena, he’s coming in at our number four spot. Cena had two reigns with the championship during the decade. His first reign started at Wrestlemania 31, defeating Rusev in the midst of a feud with the Bulgarian. Cena would hold the championship for 147 days, in which he would start the United States open challenge. Cena successfully defended the championship 14 times during this reign including a bull rope match and an ‘I Quit”, both against Rusev. Cena would lose his championship to Seth Rollins, then the WWE champion, in a ‘Winner Take All’ match.
A month after losing his championship, Cena would regain it in a rematch with Rollins. This reign would only last 35 days. Although the reign was short, Cena would defend it five times after bring back the open challenge. However, the open challenge would prove to be Cena’s downfall when Alberto Del Rio answered the challenge and would go on and win.
Our bronze spot goes to the Swiss Superman, Cesaro. Then known as Antonio Cesaro, he won his only US championship in August 2012, defeating Santino Marella. He would go onto hold the championship for 239 days and successfully defend it 14 times against the likes of The Miz, Kofi Kingston, and even Sgt. Slaughter. Cesaro would also defend the championship on the 20th episode of NXT against his future tag team partner, Tyson Kidd. Ceasro would eventually lose the championship to Kingston on an episode of Raw in April 2013.
The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, comes in as our runner-up. Rusev has held the championship twice during the decade. His first reign came after defeating Sheamus in November 2014. Rusev’s first reign lastest 146 days and had 5 successful defenses including a 20-man battle in which Rusev won. Rusev’s reign would end at the hand of John Cena at Wrestlemania 31.
Rusev would take back the title two years later, defeating Kalisto at Extreme Rule 2016. The time, Rusev would hold the championship for 126 days, bringing his total to 272 days held. During this reign, Rusev defended the championship a total of 7 times. Rusev’s second reign would end after losing to Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions 2016.
1. Dean Ambrose
Finally, our top spot goes to the Shield member, Dean Ambrose. Ambrose held the title just once for almost a year. Ambrose held the championship for 351 days, ranking at number nine on the all-time list for days held. Ambrose successfully defended the championship 14 times including a fatal four way with Ryback, Curtis Axel, and Alberto Del Rio. Ambrose’s reign would come to an end after being eliminated by Sheamus in a 20-man battle royale.