WWE Books MAJOR Title Change On Latest SmackDown

Literally nobody could've predicted that THIS man would win WWE gold on Friday.

Rey Mysterio WWE United States Title 2023

Rey Mysterio defeated Austin Theory to become the new WWE United States Champion on Friday's episode of SmackDown in Calgary.

The legend was a last-minute replacement for LWO cohort Santos Escobar; despite hyping Escobar vs. Theory for weeks, WWE's creative team pivoted to book an injury angle for Santos that stopped him from working the bout. Rey stepped up to put Austin in his place and end the heel's 258-day title reign.


For reference, that run places Theory third on WWE's own lineage for the US belt. He's behind only Dean Ambrose (351 days) and MVP (343) on the list. Other long-running United States Title stints happened in the NWA/WCW. Lex Luger sits atop the mountain at 523 days, then Rick Rude (378), Nikita Koloff (328) and Barry Windham (283) round out the best of the bunch.

So, Theory sits in seventh place on the all-time list, but he's third in modern WWE lineage.


This is Mysterio's first run with the US Title since 2019, and his third overall. He's a bit of a surprise champ though, and might not end up having the gold for too long. Will Theory win it again at Payback next month? Only time will tell.

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Lifelong wrestling, video game, music and sports obsessive who has been writing about his passions since childhood.