One of Smackdown’s superstars could be looking to win big in the Bobby Roode lottery, as it was announced today that Roode will have his first United States Championship defense as part of this Sunday’s Royal Rumble kickoff show.
Who will it be?
Who will answer the first EVER #Glorious #USOpen Challenge at #RoyalRumble?
You’ll have to tune into the Kickoff to find out. The door is open, who’s going to walk through it? #USTitle
— Bobby Roode (@REALBobbyRoode) January 26, 2018
Roode won the title two weeks ago on Smackdown Live in a match that was originally slated to take place at the Rumble but was seemingly cut for time. However, with Enzo Amore‘s firing leaving the fate of the Cruiserweight Championship in flux, a spot on the card opened up for Roode to hold his first ever “Glorious US Open Challenge.”
Answering the Challenge
There are a few obvious choices as to who could answer the challenge, the first of which is Jinder Mahal, the man who Bobby Roode beat in the finals of the tournament to crown a new champion after the title was vacated.
The man who vacated said title, Dolph Ziggler, is another possible challenger, given he never lost the championship in the first place. Ziggler has been off TV ever since he vacated the belt last month and the talk is he will come back to claim the championship at some point. This open challenge, while spur of the moment, could be the perfect place for him to do so.
Then there is Baron Corbin, who lost a triple threat against Ziggler and Roode, which cost him his title, and followed that up by losing to Roode in the championship tournament. Corbin is officially entered into the Royal Rumble but stars have pulled double-duty at the rumble before, that most recently being done two years ago by Dean Ambrose, who wrestled an Intercontinental Championship last man standing match before entering the 30-man battle royale later that night.
Other likely options could include Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder or Tye Dillinger, all of whom participated in the tournament, or someone like Rusev, who is as over with the fans right now as he’s been in quite some time. Randy Orton, while also entered into the rumble, could be another choice as the United States Championship is the only WWE title he has never won in his storied career.
Given that the Royal Rumble is a co-branded show, WWE could even opt to have someone from Raw answer the challenge, with the distinction made that if said person won, the United States Championship would move to Raw or the winner would move to Smackdown. Someone like Matt Hardy, Elias, Finn Balor or Apollo Crews. Or perhaps, with the NXT roster being on hand, someone will make their main roster debut in a losing effort in the challenge. Roderick Strong comes to mind, especially given his issues with Bobby Roode from their time in NXT.
There’s also the possibility WWE turns to a returning or re-debuting star, like EC3, to be the one to answer the challenge or Bobby Lashley, a former United States champion in his own right.
— WWE (@WWE) January 23, 2018
There is no shortage of candidates to answer Bobby Roode’s Glorious US Open Challenge but like the man himself said, guess fans will just have to tune-in to the kickoff show to find out.