There's a new WWE United States Champion and the title change aired on what will almost surely be one of the least-watched WWE television events of the year.
This week's WWE SmackDown, which aired on Christmas night, saw Rusev defeat Shinsuke Nakamura for the U.S. title. The show was actually taped last Tuesday night so that the WWE crew could be home with their families over the holidays.
December 25th is also Rusev's birthday, which made the air date of the title switch even more significant for the Bulgarian Brute. It marks the third time he has held the U.S. Championship.
RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! @RusevBUL is your NEWWWWW #USChampion on #SDLive! pic.twitter.com/ExKh7mxBaT— WWE (@WWE) December 26, 2018
Nakamura had a healthy run with the championship, winning it back on July 15th from Jeff Hardy. However, the win at the time was seen as a bit of a step back as Nakamura had finally started coming into his own with WWE after a much needed heel turn at WrestleMania 34.
While great in NXT, Nakamura's main roster run has never quite clicked but the heel turn gave him some new found success. He had a series of matches with AJ Styles for the WWE Championship that turned out well but never achieved the level of their all time classic from New Japan's WrestleKingdom a few years ago. However, it seemed at the time that Nakamura would get a run with the WWE Championship but that never came to pass.