10 Candidates To Replace Seth Rollins As WWE World Heavyweight Champion
It’s official. Seth Rollins will be stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight title after suffering what sounds like a horrendous injury to his knee in Dublin. This is what happens when you go to Ireland. You have one Guinness too many and think you can go to work, off your face on dry stout. The Architect’s absence leaves a gaping hole at the top of the card and comes at a particularly problematic time with so many Superstars out of action due to injury, pre-booked time off or old age. However, the show must go on, and WWE need to install a new champion as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders to the crown.
Yes, John Cena is technically on his holidays. Yes, he’s already a 15 time World Champion. Yes, this would be a slightly mundane option. But yes, John Cena is WWE’s only real full time superstar Superstar. Despite his detractors, he’s had a stellar 2015, helping elevate a host of up and coming talent while having Match Of The Year contenders in the process. Although it would take a herculean effort to tear him away from his vacation, Cena loves the company like a snail loves his shell, and could finally tie Ric Flair’s record by taking home the gold. He is the Face That Runs The Place, and while a Cena victory would no doubt garner a mixed reaction from fans, it’s a viable option if he can be convinced. With Nikki Bella also out of action, don’t count on it. If you could choose between working and travelling on a full time schedule or having a month of free time with Nikki Bella…
If you don’t think WWE is building up to an eventual Reigns title run, you’re just as deluded as WWE Creative. However, Seth Rollins’ injury has thrown a massive spanner in the works. It appears unlikely the Samoan Adonis would’ve won at Survivor Series, instead prolonging the feud of the former Shield brothers to make a concluding Reigns victory seem a more impressive feat and establish him as a top face against the top heel. Now that this is impossible, it’s just a little early to wrap the strap around Reigns’ waist. At the end of the day, the ratings can’t get much worse, so they might as well give it a go.
Pay the man, and he’ll do whatever the hell you want. If Vince has enough money in his coffers to lure the Beast out of his farm, then Lesnar as champion is entirely logical. Advocate Paul Heyman could once again bless us his with his holy presence and spin a wonderful yarn about how his client never got pinned for the title and is coming back to take what is rightfully his. Reigns then getting another bite at the cherry would also be a plausible option, as he never finished his match with Lesnar thanks to Rollins cashing in. This all makes way too much sense, so consider it unlikely.
On his return to action in March, complete with hilarious new Mohawk and beard braids, the Celtic Warrior was a heel of old – a no nonsense villain determined to wreak havoc without a shred of remorse, albeit with bizarre facial hair. After claiming the ever ridiculous gold briefcase, he’s been booked terribly. Half the time you forget he’s even on the roster, which is presumably to add suspense to the idea that he could cash in the Money In The Bank contract at any time. Currently in a tag team with King Barrett that should’ve come into existence and then been disbanded about 5 years ago, the Irishman is loitering in a mid-card plateau. With so few quality heels around, Sheamus is still a contender and there are two ways he could gain major heat in the title picture. Imagine if he cashed in his contract on a vacant champion. Amazing. Alternatively, imagine if he became the first man to hold the WWE World Heavyweight championship AND the MITB briefcase at the same time. Upon losing a match to an adored babyface for his title, he could then immediately cash in and reclaim. Genius.
I’ve just stated that there are few quality heels on the roster. This man shuns that declaration, throws it back in my face and then proceeds to bitch slap my face off my face, just so that he can shove it back in my face. Owens has been a revelation since stepping foot in NXT and is the only real ready-made heel who can slot in to the exact spot that Rollins held. He could quite easily become a member of the Authority and continue Rollins’ good work, especially with the Intercontinental Title draped simultaneously over his shoulder. He’s unproven in the main event, but WWE have got so little to lose and everything to gain by pushing newer talent, and Owens has proved he has everything it takes to be a top dog. He can work with anyone – he even made Ryback look half decent – and his promos are so naturally filled with the subtle yet arrogant nonchalance of a legitimate bad guy. It’s whether or not WWE have the balls to pull the trigger.
The Lunatic Fringe is in an interesting position. He’s one of the most over characters in the company, but it’s Shield brethren, Roman, who is currently getting the push. WWE have certainly teased a heel turn, and now could be the exact right time to execute this plan, if ever it was indeed the plan. If he turned on his bae, citing the success Rollins achieved after selling out, it sets up an immediate Ambrose / Reigns programme. The worry here is down to popularity. Would the majority of fans cheer Ambrose beating up Reigns regardless of face / heel booking? Probably.
Until the day he officially retires, I won’t stop hoping. Whenever there’s a mystery partner, a surprise open challenge participant, a vacant title to be won, hell, even a lumberjack match… I will always pray that the Yes Man will hit the curtain and delight us all.
Could the master take over from the student to avoid crisis? It’s an admittedly slim possbility, and although Triple H is doing a remarkable job generating first-rate young talent in NXT, I wouldn’t put one final run of narcissism beyond him.
What better way to vindicate the Diva’s Revolution than have Charlotte hold the top championship in the company?
Who else is there? This is the conundrum WWE find themselves faced with. The collection of absences on the main roster, combined with the patchy booking of the last few years, shows that WWE have failed to create new, viable contenders for the biggest prize in the business. Dolph Ziggler should be on this list, but every time he hits a high, they swat him away. If they hadn’t put the US Title straight on Del Rio and shoved him into the frankly stupid combination with Zeb Coulter, maybe he’d have shot. Cesaro has the ability, but the inconceivable notion in WWE hierarchy that he isn’t good enough continually holds him back. They have more faith in Ryback, which is baffling. Even Bray Wyatt has yet to win a singles title, which is odd considering how solid he is. Former champions Jack Swagger and Miz have become bit part players. There’s now no more names to really list…
That being said, from this potential catastrophe, the WWE have the opportunity to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. With the burgeoning new prospects they have at their disposal, this is a prime opportunity to not only elevate a brand new champion from the younger pool, but also to step up some of the outstanding NXT graduates in the positions the new champ and the injury stricken Superstars leave behind. Although NXT is becoming a strong brand in its own right, it is still a main roster breeding ground, and Rollins injury could see the likes of Finn Balor make the step up onto Raw to fill the void. If WWE play their cards right, the next few years could be incredibly exciting, and the next few years should start right now with the appropriate choice of champion.
Tags: Alberto Del Rio, Break The Walls Down, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor, John Cena, Kevin Owens, NXT, Roman Reigns, seth rollins, Sheamus, Triple H