Ever since John Cena dropped the United States Championship and with it his weekly open challenges, the title has lost some of its shine and prestige. Cena’s injury has resulted in Alberto Del Rio and Kalisto playing hot potato with the belt, but the latest rumors indicate that Kalisto will indeed defend the U.S. Championship at Wrestlemania. The top three matches on the Wrestlemania card were all made official on the first Monday Night RAW following Fastlane, and the subsequent weeks have all featured the builds to those main events and hints as to how the rest of the card will shape up.
Kalisto and his United States Championship have played minor roles each week with no significant indication on his direction for the big show in Dallas next month. But according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and as reported by Wrestling Inc., Kalisto will put the title on the line, although his opponent — or opponents — have not been made clear yet.
One superstar who doesn’t appear to be on the short list of potential challengers to Kalisto is Alberto Del Rio. As mentioned, Del Rio and Kalisto have been entangled in a mini-feud, which saw both competitors win the championship from the other on multiple occasions since Del Rio initially won the title from Cena at Hell in a Cell back in October. The U.S. Championship has been defended a total of four times between the two already, with the most recent coming on the Fastlane kickoff show in February.
Since Kalisto’s latest successful title defense, he has teamed up with his tag team partner, Sin Cara, to reform the Lucha Dragons. They, along with Neville, have competed against Del Rio and other members of the League of Nations on RAW in various combinations of matches with little significance. The report suggests that Kalisto and Del Rio will not face off in a singles match, but it doesn’t specifically rule Del Rio out of a potential multi-man match. There have already been reports of a multi-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, so it would seem unlikely that both secondary titles be defended in the same fashion.
So that brings us to Ryback. While the Big Guy isn’t quite penciled in for a championship match with Kalisto at Wrestlemania, he is being booked in triple threat matches with both Kalisto and Del Rio for WWE live events. That can be read any number of ways, but it’s often a good indicator of near-future programs. Ryback’s recent attitude change and possible heel turn (if it hasn’t happened already) are also good signs, though, with no interaction with Kalisto, it’s tough to call.
Kalisto and Ryback have some minor history together, as recently as the 2015 edition of Survivor Series. Seth Rollins’ injury forced the WWE to create a tournament to determine a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion who would be crowned at the pay-per-view. Preliminary rounds were held on RAW and SmackDown, with the semi-finals and finals reserved for Survivor Series. In a first-round matchup, Kalisto upset Ryback to advance to the quarterfinals where he was eliminated by Del Rio.
Kalisto and Ryback were actually also on the same team for a traditional five-on-five elimination match at the event, teaming with Sin Cara and The Usos. They’ve since gone their separate ways but could collide in a David vs. Goliath match at Wrestlemania. Ryback has been fantasy booked in a myriad of matches since his recent gimmick alteration, in everything from the multi-man Intercontinental Championship match to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Perhaps we’ll get more clarity as to the direction of Kalisto’s United States Championship in the next several weeks.
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