Hello guys! A year after I last discussed potential rivals to the Roman era, we’re back to talk about an inescapable truth. For a while, some of us might have asked questions like: Is it left to challenge the undisputed world champion? Can WWE build someone up as a viable threat? And what about part-time Reigns?
Fans acknowledged the tribal leader’s success, but what is staring us in the face is a future full of doubts. What can WWE do about it? Let’s talk about the possibilities and see if we can come up with any answers to these questions.
Before we look at who can challenge Roman Reigns, we should look at the list of everyone he has defeated so far:
- Braun Strowman & The Fiend becomes Payback 2020 World Champion.
- Ji Uso in Clash Of Champions 2020.
- Braun Strowman on SmackDown.
- Jey Uso in a Hell in a Cell You left a Hell in a Cell 2020 match.
- Kevin Owens in TLC Match at TLC 2020, a steel cage match on SmackDown, and the last man standing at the 2021 Royal Rumble.
- Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber and Fast Lane 2021.
- Edge and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 37.
- Daniel Bryan on SmackDown.
- Cesaro in Backlash 2021.
- Rey Mysterio in Hell in a Dungeon SmackDown.
- Edge at Money in the Bank 2021.
- John Cena at SummerSlam 2021.
- Finn Balor is on SmackDown and on Strict Rules 2021.
- Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel 2021.
- Sami Zayn on SmackDown.
- Lost to Seth Rollins by DQ at the 2022 Royal Rumble.
- Goldberg in Elimination Chamber 2022.
- Before WrestleMania, Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre (x5) at live events.
- Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 to become the undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
- Drew McIntyre (x8) at live events.
- Drew McIntyre and Big E at the “Champion vs. Champion” matches at Survivor Series.
Every great hero needs his equal. Ric Flair had several. Stone Cold Steve Austin had The Rock. Hulk Hogan had the Ultimate Warrior. At some point, another guy needs to show up and not just be a threat, he has to be able to hold the company in place as a hero. For a long time, this sounded like Brock Lesnar, but losing to Reigns once is no longer convinced. WWE could flip the switch and get Brock Lesnar back if, say, Reigns were to get seriously injured.
But realistically, the long-running game was Reigns’ ending, and we can’t deny its success. Love or hate, the tribal leader is finished all over the world. It took WWE eight years to achieve what they planned for in 2014. Now that Lesnar is back and defeating Reigns cleanly, it will only undo everything they’ve done. Since WWE was so focused on making Roman Reigns & Brock Lesnar their best players, everyone was fed leftovers. There’s almost no one left to defeat Reigns, so since WrestleMania, his part-time status wasn’t the smart booking, but the necessity.
Reigns himself said there was no one left, and that’s not just to keep warm. There’s no point in having him in every episode if there aren’t any surviving competitors. Fans will say he’s not defending his title enough, but in WWE you need to build someone up for these moments. Is there anyone left to be defeated? Well, there are some, but we have to scrape the barrel here, with one exception.
Yes, Orton is the exception. Among the entire WWE roster, the 14-time World Champion is the only man who can realistically threaten Roman Reigns. They’ve crossed their paths before, but that rarely happens in singles matches. Did you know? The last time they fought in singles matches was between 2014 and 2015, which included a steel cage match on Raw, and a match at SummerSlam 2014. They have rarely met since then.
Since the early pandemic, Orton has found the motivation to prove why he is considered one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. He recognized his veteran status and had to set an example. He’s done so well that he feels like he’s won the title. Instead, it helps get rid of the Riddle, while having the most fun of all. If it were to go after Reigns, then that focus would expire, and then if it failed, it would lose something when returning to the tag’s title scene.
Everyone knows he’s too good to be on a team, so keeping him away from Reigns is the right thing to do, which is why you could say WWE hasn’t “feed” him to Reigns yet. He raises the tag’s title scene with his presence. Also, there is the fact that his last nickname did not last long. Even if he defeated Reigns, it was unlikely that he would last for long, because it wasn’t really about him anymore. It’s not 2010, and he’s 42 years old. The future, as much as it may disappoint some fans, is not in Randy Orton’s favour. So if he couldn’t rape the tribe leader, who could?
As a Briton, there is nothing I would like more than to see McIntyre win the championship in front of a crowd. However, since losing the title to The Miz over a year ago, he has had to endure setback after setback. His feud with Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss felt like it had lasted his whole life, otherwise, what else did he do? Are we supposed to believe that they can push him out and defeat Roman Reigns, the guy who hit him so many times, it’s not funny? These guys fought at WrestleMania. Remember when Shane McMahon was McIntyre’s manager? Yes, that was a long time ago.
Drew is miles ahead of him at the time, and so is Roman. McIntyre defeated Lesnar at WrestleMania, as did Reigns. He also beat Goldberg, and so did Reigns. Everything McIntyre did, Reigns did too, and more. So it’s not impossible to build McIntyre up to this point, but man, if WWE hadn’t treated him as a bad joke for over a year, it would have been easier to do so. Can we really expect anyone, even MacIntyre, to stand a chance? That’s how strong WWE is in booking Reigns than anyone else.
As he likes to repeat, he is in “GOD Mode” now. And I’m not that much into it. If you think I say this because I adore Reigns, you are deeply mistaken. The facts, no matter what you think of Reigns, is that WWE has put him in another level of existence. How do you make a ladder so that someone can climb it and join them there? With McIntyre, this ladder was made. As much as it pains me to say, he pushed WWE halfway, so it’s not a believable option anymore.
AJ Styles. Bobby Lashley. Cody Rhodes. Seth Rollins. I can’t see anyone else who can challenge. With Styles, it seems his time is over. Despite Lashley’s age, WWE has fallen behind him in the past two years. His title reign was decent, but he’s since slipped back into the group. Sure enough, Cody Rhodes is back in the WWE world again. Many say he is the new elect.
Having watched his career in New Japan and AEW, I’m not completely convinced. He has all the motivation, but that’s WWE. Vince McMahon may be in favor of it now, but give him six months, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the change. Seth Rollins is the only man to have undefeated Reigns clean, but losing twice to Cody, combined with his heel personality, makes that more unlikely than ever.
The only surviving men who are baby faces and not spoiled goods are Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes, although the latter needs to be built up to the moment. It’s not like you have Rhodes against Reigns at SummerSlam and expect him to win. by WrestleMania? Sure, it’s possible, but it’s a long way off. What will Reigns do before then? Go to Brock Lesnar’s ranch and learn how to live his life? It may be. WWE has failed badly to build anyone, and Reigns has left him in the dust.
This means that the undisputed WWE Universal Championship won’t be around for a while, or at least as it has been…but that’s a good thing. The rest of WWE needs that carrot hanging out in front of them. Someone needs to catch the bull by the horns and struggle to the ground. There has to be an escalation somewhere, or we’re headed for Bruno Sammrtino-esque title by the man without competition.
It’s up to the fans to tell WWE what they want. Tell us what you want! Who is the next big star? Get WWE to do something, or else we’re headed into an era of confession like we’ve never seen before. They obviously don’t know who’s paying, so we need to tell them who we think has what it takes. With Roman Reigns as a mainstay, this is the current state of WWE. Thanks for reading!
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