WWE Shockingly Crowns New United States Champion on SmackDown

Tonight’s card for WWE SmackDown was supposed to feature a United States Championship match between Champion Austin Theory and LWO star Santos Escobar, but things did not go as planned. Thanks to two ambushes from Theory, Escobar wasn’t able to compete in the match, which was all part of Theory’s plan. Adam Pearce would intervene and still book a match, and it would be Rey Mysterio stepping up to the plate. Mysterio ended up making the most of the opportunity, as he would defeat Theory and dethrone him, becoming the new United States Champion on Friday Night SmackDown.

The win is significant for many reasons, one of which being that Mysterio brings the LWO its first Championship Title. Not only that, but it also dethrones Theory, after a reign of close calls and some shady strategies to keep his Title. You could tell that Escobar, who was on a crutch to help him walk, was elated at Mysterio’s win and also heartbroken that he couldn’t defeat Theory himself, but hopefully Title gold isn’t too far out for him either.

The LWO has quickly become a fan favorite in WWE, though Escobar revealed that his initial pitch for the LWO reforming was shot down by Triple H. Escobar pitched the idea as far back as when he first entered NXT, but Triple H wanted him to be his own person without being tied to anything else at the time, and Escobar agrees the timing wasn’t quite right then.

“The very first conversation I had with Triple H, he asked me what do you want to do, and I told them, ‘Can I bring back the LWO?'” Escobar said (h/t Wrestling Inc.). “Before I said the letter ‘O,’ he said ‘No.’ [He said,] ‘I want you to be you and I want people to see you and not think of anybody else’ … That kind of shut down my initial desire, but Triple H was right. The time wasn’t right. It wouldn’t have been what it is right now. Also, it needed a very important ingredient: an OG. An original LWO [member], and that’s Rey [Mysterio].”

“[Legado del Fantasma] gave me the opportunity to do what everything I wanted to do,” Escobar later added. “Who I am, where I come from, what I’m about … every single time I was out there. Every promo, every backstage, every scene, every feud, every rivalry was letting people know that I’m all about lucha libre [and] that lucha libre is about tradition, heritage, culture, and familia. All the values that you have whether you’re Mexican, Latino, or not, are the values I have. We relate, and that’s how Legado got over. That’s how Santos got really over on ‘NXT,’ because everything I say is real.”

Time will tell if Theory gets a rematch, as most Champions do, but that could very well happen at Payback. We’ll also have to see how The LWO responds to the win and if we see the group win even more Title gold over the next few months.

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments!