This week's SmackDown Live was not exactly the most attention grabbing show we have ever seen. With Raw's 25th anniversary less than a week away and the Royal Rumble six days later it really did feel like Vince McMahon and the rest of creative had already checked out and were thinking ahead to a huge week in WWE. All of that being said Tuesday night's show wasn't a complete throw away. It revolved around the semi finals and the eventual final of the United States Title tournament. Jinder Mahal and Bobby Roode battled it out in the main event for the honor of being crowned the new champion and it was The Glorious one who emerged victorious, but why did WWE decide to pull the trigger on Roode right now?
For most fans Roode winning the title will have been a pleasant surprise. If anything his win over The Modern Day Maharajah is further proof that the push of Jinder Mahal is well and truly over. In this case however for one reason in particular it would have made so much sense for Mahal to win. The Indian-Canadian Superstar as WWE Champion was something people just thought was a stupid idea. The foreign heel as United States Champion however? That would have played perfectly into what WWE are seemingly trying to achieve with Mahal. Yes it is an outdated idea that we have seen time and time again, but he could have taken the angle that Kevin Owens started when he was US Champion and taken it to a whole new level.
That is all water under the bridge and fantasy booking of course as Mahal has already lost and Roode is the US Champion. If what's next for the title is what many of us are expecting then Roode was the only feasible option of that final two to be the new champ. Presumably Dolph Ziggler will return some time soon and claim that he never relinquished the title at all, meaning he is still the US Champion. For that storyline WWE needs a babyface holding the championship. Mahal and Ziggler battling it out for the crown of true US Champion is not one that would work considering both men are fully fledged heels at this point in time.
To bolster that belief of why WWE decided to put the belt on Roode, there only other babyface option in the final four of the tournament was Xavier Woods. The New Day member has done a terrific job of hyping himself during this tournament which is all well and good, but not something that Vince McMahon and co like. History dictates that WWE likes to dictate how popular their Superstars are. Woods going into business for himself may have been acknowledged by letting him make it to the final four but that was all WWE were ever going to give him.
On a completely different note there may be other reasons as to why Roode and why now. Fans who live completely within the WWE bubble may not realize how long The Glorious One has actually been around. The new United States Champion may have only been under WWE's umbrella for a little under two years but before that he made a name for himself in Impact Wrestling. Roode has been wrestling since the turn of the century and is now 40 years old. If WWE wants to get something out of him then they need to do it soon, and they have started the ball rolling on that.
It's a tricky situation for WWE as Roode is clearly a terrific talent but his age is probably stopping them from pushing him all the way. That's likely the reason for Roode's slow start since arriving on SmackDown Live. If the former NXT Champion was five years younger then he would likely be slotted into a WWE Title spot sooner rather than later. Unfortunately for Roode that time may have passed for him without actually being at the promotion. The US Title however? That's not a spot often occupied by a top guy in the company and WWE will likely hope that he can still bring some legitimacy back to the championship.
The be all and end all of Bobby Roode as US Champion is that this is likely the highest spot Vince McMahon envisions for The Glorious One. He is an incredibly talented babyface star whose time has passed to be WWE Champion so will have to settle for being a secondary champion. If given the right material then it is a great spot to occupy, but whether Roode gets that material or not is obviously yet to be seen.