US Championship Invitational Begins On WWE Smackdown

wwe smackdown santos escobar

A unique mini-tournament began on Smackdown that will reward the winner with a US Championship match in the future.

The United States Championship moved to Smackdown during the WWE Draft when Austin Theory was drafted to the blue brand. The Intercontinental Title moved to Raw during the draft as well when Imperium’s GUNTHER was drafted to the red brand.

Austin Theory has held the United States Championship for over 200 days going back to Survivor Series last November. It is Theory’s second reign as the US Champion. As Theory likes to remind us, he’s also the youngest US Champion in WWE history.

On Smackdown from Raleigh, the first of two Fatal 4-Way matches took place in something called the US Championship Invitational match.

The format is that there would be a 4-way match this week and a 4-way match next week (July 21st). The winners of those matches will meet in a singles match on the July 28th edition of Smackdown. Whoever wins that match will get a shot at the US Title held by Austin Theory.

There was a Fatal 4-Way with WWE Champion AJ Styles, Santos Escobar, Austin Theory and Butch. It looked like Styles was going to get the win, but he was distracted by a video of Karrion Kross beating up The OC in the backstage area. Styles left the ring, so Waller knocked him down. Escobar eventually got the win with a Frog Splash on Theory.

The Fatal 4-Way match next week on Smackdown is Rey Mysterio vs. Sheamus vs. Cameron Grimes vs. LA Knight. Rey and Sheamus are multi-time WWE World Champions while Knight is a star on the rise and Grimes is a newcomer on the blue brand.

As you can see in the video below, LA Knight has the crowd behind him as he makes it clear that he is coming for the US Title.