Now that Seth Rollins has gone down with an injury, all signs point to Roman Reigns being not just the favorite to win the title, but essentially a guarantee. However, even if he’s the right man for the job, that doesn’t mean WWE has to go that route.
If Rollins is going to be missing WrestleMania, WWE can’t book things the same way they originally had planned. For instance, if Reigns was going to win the title, have a rematch with Rollins at TLC, and then move on to someone else for WrestleMania while Rollins feuded with Triple H—as often rumored—the TLC match, nor the Triple H match can happen and alternative suggestions need to be brought up.
As such, what if WWE skips the Roman Reigns title reign and gives the belt to someone else? Who might those people be?
Since information is scarce as to how WWE is handling this for Survivor Series and speculation is at an all-time high, I figured I’d take a guess at the top five names that are probably being considered right now.
1) Dean Ambrose
Rumors that Dean Ambrose would be turning heel have been going on for months on end. Originally, I was expecting Ambrose to win the Royal Rumble and challenge Reigns at WrestleMania, but even if those plans were in the mix before, they could be gone entirely now.
For the past few pay-per-views, Ambrose has taken a backseat to Reigns, being more concerned with cheering him on than wrestling his own matches. Maybe it’s time for The Lunatic Fringe to step out into the spotlight and take charge on his own? He’s clearly popular enough with the audience to justify having that top spot, and since he’s unpredictable, there’s a chance he could sway back and forth between heel and babyface depending on who WWE wants him to feud with over the next few months.
There’s a built-in storyline by having Roman Reigns look like the obvious winner, only to have his position usurped by his best friend. That will only create jealousy, which will lead to an inevitable feud. I still wouldn’t be too shocked to see the two of them go at it, but their positions in the feud just may have switched. Perhaps the plan is that Ambrose wins the belt, the crowd warms up to Reigns even more, he wins the Royal Rumble for a second time (with this one being accepted by the audience) and finally wins it at WrestleMania.
As much as I’m not a fan of The Celtic Warrior, he’s far, far too likely of a candidate to take this title for me to ignore out of my own biased opinion. Not only has he held the title multiple times, he’s also the current Mr. Money in the Bank. Sheamus doesn’t even need to be entered into a tournament to be able to leave Survivor Series as the champion. In fact, that might be how things go down, actually.
How simple would it be for Roman Reigns to go through a grueling tournament and win the championship, only to be cashed-in on moments later and lose that belt so quickly after finally obtaining it? I don’t know what WWE would have planned for WrestleMania, but a Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns feud could work very easily after that cash-in for TLC and even the Royal Rumble, if not Fastlane as well. For that matter, Reigns vs. Sheamus could end up being the world title match at WrestleMania itself, as underwhelming as that might seem to some.
Don’t rule out the possibility that Sheamus has gold around his waist come November 23rd. He’s proven in the past that he has friends in high places who are willing to give him the belt no matter what his current position on the roster is.
3) John Cena
Poor John might have to call his vacation short, as WWE has way too many injured stars to function without him. Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and even Rusev are gone along with Cena, but the latter isn’t on some 10-month waiting list to get back in the ring or anything of the sort. Rest assured, if there’s a way for him to come back sooner than originally planned, he’ll be coming back, and since he’s John Cena of all people, he’s a perpetual #1 contender.
There’s no need to argue the case for why John Cena would be a potential option as the next champion, as everyone is fully aware of his credentials. The only argument fans would have is whether or not he was the right choice at that moment, and there’s bound to be people that meet this idea with thoughts of “same old shit” and “not another Cena reign!” just as much as there are people that would welcome a reversion back to the status quo. It’s been a little over a year since Cena last held this belt and since then, he’s had arguably the best championship run of anybody in the company with his United States Championship Open Challenge matches being incredibly entertaining.
4) Bray Wyatt
If there was ever a time for Bray Wyatt to win this belt, it’s now. He’s at a fever pitch with his character, feuding with The Undertaker and transitioning to be the baddest heel on the roster. Whatever the plans may be for the match between The Wyatt Family and The Brothers of Destruction may have to be put on hold or altered to allow Wyatt to stand tall at the end of the night not only as a dominant heel, but as the champion of champions.
The biggest question regarding a Wyatt title reign would be who he would feud with, which makes me think that this isn’t as likely of an option as those listed above. He just got done facing Reigns and Ambrose numerous times, had an extended feud with Cena, and doesn’t really have many other faces on his level. Something like Cesaro vs. Bray Wyatt would look out of place, as would any feud that would require Wyatt to no longer be a heel. Of course, there’s always Sting, but we have no confirmation that he is 100% cleared to compete. Then again, if The Undertaker is healthy enough, we could see one last title reign from The Phenom around WrestleMania time, and to do that, who better for him to take it off than Bray Wyatt?
5) Brock Lesnar
Finally, there’s always the mercy option. Brock Lesnar is the most credible person on the roster by far, and there already was an extended period of time with him as the champion from SummerSlam of 2014 until WrestleMania this year. WWE could be considering going back to that model, where he wins the belt and essentially is missing for the next few months while they hope fans don’t get too antsy without a champion. Whoever he was lined up to face at WrestleMania could still be in play, and it might just be for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship instead of a regular singles grudge match.