WWE created their own emergency, and now they have to make a decision quickly.
Though it may not have been intentional early on, WWE spent
over 20 years building the ultimate push. We talk all the time about talents
getting their “push.” Generally, it starts by winning matches on TV and ends
with a belt around a talent’s waist. Whether it’s the IC, US, or World title,
it puts the talent front and center. Creative has a lot ways to highlight a
talent that they think has the potential to do big things. If a talent doesn’t
pan out, they can simply move on to another person. With the Undertaker’s
undefeated streak, however, they could only break it once.
The general consensus among both pundits and insiders was
that there were two options. One would see The Undertaker retire undefeated. People
argued that “the streak” was so special it should never end. The other option
was to use the streak as the ultimate push. Much akin to Hulk bodyslamming
Andre at WrestleMania III, the streak could be used to launch the next major
face of the company to instant notoriety. Neither happened.
At WrestleMania 30, Brock Lesnar was booked to join the list
of current and future Hall of Famers who fell to the Phenom. However, in a last
minute swerve, Vince McMahon made the decision to break the streak about four
hours before showtime. Jim Ross thinks it
was done to help promote the WWE Network, but the reason is almost irrelevant. In
spite of being a part timer, the Beast ended up breaking the streak simply
because he was the guy working with Taker that day, and now WWE has to figure
out how to avoid squandering a streak they spent over 20 years creating.
Honestly, there is only one way to book Lesnar without
dropping the ball, and that exactly what they are doing. Lesnar has to become both the irresistible force
and the immovable object. He has to be dominant beyond belief, crushing
everything in his path. Had they planned to break the streak in advance, Lesnar
likely would not have been the man across the ring from The Undertaker at
WrestleMania 30. Now, Brock has to be simply untouchable because he has to put
over that next “face of the company” by proxy, and he can’t lose until he does. This is the emergency that WWE created
Until the streak was broken, they had all the time they
needed to choose the next franchise man and get that person ready to carry the
mantle. Now, they are in a time crunch since they will likely have to make
their big move no later than WrestleMania 31. It would be absolutely insane to let John
Cena, or anyone else for that matter, beat Brock Lesnar until that is done. The
only question left is who that man will be.
All indications, both backstage on among the IWC, suggest it
will be Roman Reigns. There are
certainly a lot of good reasons to go that way. Reigns has the look, and fans
seem to want to stand behind him. His pedigree as part of one of the royal
families of wrestling works in his favor. Even though he did other things as
well, he has been around the business his entire life. He has seen
what it to takes to stand at the top and be responsible for drawing most of the
money. He is young enough that he likely has at least 10 or 15 years left in
him barring injuries. However, he has a
lot of work to do, and very little time to do it. Ideally, they could give him
a year or two to develop, but that time frame is compressed to just over six
months. Whether he can make it remains to be seen, but he has as good a
chance as anyone.
There are certainly other options. Daniel Bryan could be an
option, but we need to see how he heals up and whether he stays healthy. Cesaro also has the potential to fill that
role. Dean Ambrose could do it with the
right creative and the right mentoring. Dolph Ziggler has the skills and charisma,
though his size could be an issue.
There are several ways to go, but two things are certain. Brock
needs to be invincible until he does the job of putting over the next true
superstar, and WWE needs to decide conclusively who that is going to be sooner
than later. If I were a betting man, my
money would be on Roman Reigns. How about yours?
Who do you think is the next big thing (pun intended for the
wrestling nerds)? Is it one of the men I
suggested, or do you have other ideas?
As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.