By this time last year, it was becoming obvious that the WWE was going to give the fans what they wanted. Nothing was settled yet, but by the time the Occupy Raw movement happened, it was pretty obvious that Daniel Bryan was going to walk out of WrestleMania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. This year, the Universe is clamoring for Bryan to get back the title he never lost. What will the WWE do this time around? Do they cave into the demands of the fan base for the second year in a row and put the belt on Bryan? Do they stubbornly refuse to capitulate to the fans’ demands and plow forward with their original plans for Roman Reigns as the next big thing? Or do they throw us all a curveball and flip the script entirely? Who is going to walk out of WrestleMania the champ? Lets handicap the race for the championship, shall we?
First, lets look at the not so obvious contenders. These are the guys who are not currently in the title picture, but could always be thrown into the mix at the last possible moment. A guy like John Cena could always leave any event as the champion because the WWE seems to think he is the only guy they have that can make them any money. However, I think Cena’s days a champion may finally be over. Randy Orton hasn’t been seen since he split from the Authority and Rollins took him out. Another veteran that the powers that be trust, but I think it is too late to get him into the title picture in time for Mania. Odds: 1000:1
Now, onto the major players in the title picture.
Brock Lesnar is the champ and would be the odds-on favorite to retain the title of not for his contract situation. With Lesnar only working about 20 dates a year, it is very tough to keep the belt on him for a long period of time. The champ as a special attraction that competes only a couple of times a year may have been able to work back in the day, but today’s wrestling fans demand more from their champion. The champ doesn’t have to wrestle every Monday night, but he does have to be there at least be there a couple of times a month. And he certainly has to wrestle in more than half a dozen matches a year. As dominant as Brock is when he is here, he is just not here enough. Add in the fact that there is a strong possibility he leaves after Mania because of “unfinished business”(UFC), and there is virtually no chance he is holding the strap when Mania fades to black. Odds: 100:1
Roman Reigns has appeared to be Vince’s hand picked replacement for John Cena since the Shield broke up last year. He has the look Vince loves and enough talent and raw physical ability to be a credible threat to Brock Lesnar. There are two things working against Roman right now. First, he doesn’t appear to be ready to carry the torch just yet. We still don’t know if he can work a long enough singles match to consistently main event pay per views. We do know that his mic skills leave much to be desired, so he can’t make up for his in ring shortcomings with great promos, especially if Vince keeps feeding him cringe inducing nursery rhymes. Second, and more importantly, he is not Daniel Bryan. The WWE Universe is clearly behind one man to win the title and that man is not Roman Reigns. If WWE really plans on Roman someday being the face of the company, he cannot win the title at Mania. Odds: 25:1
Seth Rollins is the wild card here. As long as he has the briefcase, he has a great shot to leave Mania with the belt. He has everything the WWE should be looking for in a champion. He is a phenomenal athlete and a great worker in the ring. He can give you anything from a 5 minute, non stop action packed match, to a 45 minute iron man grind. He is equally strong as a heel or a face, which is not easy to do. His promos, while not yet great, are light years ahead of Roman’s. The biggest thing going against Seth right now is WWE’s tendency to want to send the WrestleMania audience home happy. The bad guy never wins the main event at WrestleMania. That’s just the way it is. Odds: 10:1.
That leaves Daniel Bryan, everyone’s favorite underdog. He is really the only logical choice to leave WrestleMania with the title. He is the only possible winner that gives the WWE Universe what they want. The fans feel he got cheated out of his title run because of an injury, and that he deserves to pick up where he left off. This is the only way the WWE can avoid a Royal Rumble repeat. Odds :2:1
I think the WWE will have Bryan beat Reigns at Fast Lane. I think Seth Rollins interferes in the match, setting up Reigns v Rollins at Mania. I think Reigns beats Rollins at Mania, despite interference from J&J. In the main event, Brock dominates the match, but Daniel Bryan does what he does, and finds a way to get his hand raised in the end. Winner and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan!
Now, if only WWE had the guts to let Seth blind side Bryan and cash in right there, that would be something.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Falls Count Anywhere, fast lane 2015, Roman Reigns, seth rollins