Drew McIntyre I assumed would be the guy, and I imagined Clash At The Castle would be his British Bulldog moment, and I imagined we would have an iconic celebration image that would live forever in every highlight reel honoring the Scottish Warrior. No. It wasnt meant to be. Roman Reigns extended his over two-year run with the Universal Championship and added another fantastic item to his already impressive resume.
Im happy for Roman Reigns. He's been the greatest wrestler in the last two years, and if you're the greatest star in WWE, you should carry the belt most of the time. Over the previous few decades, though, it's certainly not always the case.
He will still need to lose at some point. WWE cannot keep -- in my opinion -- both the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship on someone who has publicly stated that he is taking a step back. And there are just too many other good guys willing to take the reins. Part of being a champion is being on television most weeks.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart started their WWE careers as members of a good tag team, but I think the Street Profits have had a modern day equivalent of The Rockers, and when they break up, itll be interesting to see how much of Montez Fords the WWE wants. He's one of the more athletic guys on the roster, and his fans love him.
The timeline just doesnt match up. First, the Street Profits need to go their separate ways. Second, he must win over the fans as a singles competitor, which is, by the way, not easy. Third, he must reach the point where he is main-eventing. Thats likely to take years.
Happy Corbin is set to have a rough few months as he loses to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 38, and his character is certainly going through a slump of confidence. Over the next few months, I expect Triple H to start building him up again, and when that happens, there's a non-zero chance he'll end up in the main event.
Corbin was the last person to pin Roman Reigns back in November of 2019. So, im not saying this will happen, but I do believe Corbin should be placed at 24.
Punk is out for six months or more, and is likely to miss the next six months or more. Here's why he's on this list ahead of many other wrestlers who are actually in WWE.
So yeah, the whole wrestling business would be interested in CM Punk and Roman Reigns. You could host a stadium show with that match. With all of Punks' umm... issues with AEW, that sliver certainly has a small amount of light coming through.
Some wrestling fans are quite convinced Triple H's WWE creative will be beneficial to Finn Balor long-term. Maybe that's true. They certainly have a long history together from their NXT days, but I'll need to see him doing programming other than Dominik Mysterio to believe that.
Balor is a former Universal Champion and is excellent inside the ring. If given the opportunity, he might put on some banger matches, but there's still an Andre The Giant-like gap between that level and winning both belts over Roman Reigns in a big premium live event spot. Maybe they could begin by giving us his bangin' entrance music more often.
It's probably a stupid move to include MJF on this list. His contract will not expire until January 2024, as he has repeatedly stated, and even if he decides to enter the WWE, which he probably will, there's no guarantee he will immediately enter the championship picture. He might end up doing a three month program with The Miz where they just come out and roast each other every week in like a passing of the heel torch thing.
But MJF is one of the best engaging promo guys I have ever seen, and while I'm not going to make him a slew of Mr. Perfect, I happen to think his in-ring work is excellent. I wish we had had him working the crowd into a frenzy during a major WWE stadium performance. So, yeah, I think he belongs in the top 25 here.
More than a few wrestling fans have been anointing Bron as the next big name for a while now, but dominating NXT is a whole other world. Talking to your average fan is a whole other world.
Is it possible to imagine a situation in which he goes onto the main roster and completes a huge winning run, and lands himself in the championship picture semi-quickly? I don't think it's very likely in the immediate future. Nor do I believe that at this point in his career, he's done anything close to enough to deserve the honor of taking the belts off Roman.
Some of you will lash out at me for including The Miz on this list, but he makes the most of every single single storyline presented. They want him to do comedy stuff, and he does a great job. He just loves it. Over the last decade, he's reclaimed the top spot on the card now and again, when the right storyline calls for it.
Do I think The Miz will defeat Roman Reigns? No. It would be about as good as Goldberg defeating The Fiend. However, I do believe there are 19 other people who are more likely to defeat Roman Reigns than the Miz.
Edges comeback has been a joy to watch. He's still sharp in the ring and as good on the microphone as ever. If he were going to win the title, it would have already happened. After winning the 2021 Royal Rumble, Vince McMahon chose another route, and nothing about Triple Hs booking decisions since he took over suggests Edge is moving up the card.
A title championship is more than just establishing a fixed moment, or at least it should be. Edge would be fantastic the night of the event, if it had the proper build-up, but at this stage in his career, I'm not sure I buy him as the regular champion everyone is trying to dethrone.
Karrion Kross, the all-time WWE legend who won the championship, has come to an end. I think his black and white creepy performance with Scarlett is already one of the best in the WWE. He was also immediately dropped into the main event picture, which is a big vote of confidence.
But come on. It's ridiculous for him to take the belts off Roman Reigns in a fun swerve kind of way, but in a late WCW, now you're just being weird for the sake of being weird. Let this guy pay his dues for a while on the main roster, and then we can talk about him being a credible threat for a career-defining moment like that.
I think Riddle is at a bit of a crossroads with his character. His laid back stoner has been more intense during his time with Seth Rollins, and itll be interesting to see whether or not he reverts back to the extreme levels of intensity he injected into the character initially.
Back in June, Roman Reigns defeated Riddle in a heated match on Smackdown. It was so successful, in fact, that a lot of fans were enthralled. I felt the same way as Randy Orton's. They should have done it right after Randy Orton was first hurt.
I think AJ Styles is the person I had the hardest time ranked on this list. He's done absolutely nothing recently to warrant a spot this high on the list. He's also a AJ Styles. There's a reason he still gets random AJ Styles chants in a lot of his matches.
AJ Styles has no two-plus-year Roman Reigns-like run at the top left in him, but I think wed all like to see him get a few more incredible moments in big spots at some premium live events. Right now, he is certainly not the guy to win the Romans championship, but with a few smart creative choices by the writing team, he might be back on top in a hurry.
If John Cena was the one to take the belts off Roman, can you imagine how many keyboard fights wrestling Twitter would go through? I suspect he will return at some point, and I doubt it will be just for one match. He has been very clear that he will take on any and all WWE titles.
If you are still not convinced that John Cena should be at number 14, try doing a quick thought experiment. Let's say WWE announced that he would be appearing on Raw or SmackDown every week for three months. Do you think that would generate a lot of headlines outside of the wrestling bubble? How much coverage do you think it would generate?
Im still enraged by so many Bray Wyatt booking decisions. Vince McMahon was unconcerned about what he had here, and he ultimately slammed his lead in what has to be one of the greatest WWE releases of all time. But now Triple H is putting his own words out there, saying that Bray is one of the most creative individuals he ever worked with.
Im pretty sure Bray would most likely be back in the top spot at an upcoming premium live event. There would need to be some build-up, although its difficult to imagine a scenario in which Bray and/or The Fiend would appear almost immediately.
Braun Strowman is a big returning player who has had some great results in the world championship game in the past. Hes also the most physically demanding dude on the roster, aside from Omos and maybe Brock Lesnar, and he has had some solid crowd reaction so far. All of that screams for a main event.
Braun Strowman, over all of the others on this list, should be the guy to take the Roman belts, according to me in the long run. I just don't think his win would really tell enough of a story. It's just that there are so many others that are more appealing.
The Rock is the odds on the way to host WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, and if/when that happens, The Rock is a strong possibility to win. He is currently one of the most well-known individuals in the world, and he would easily take it. His cousin, Roman Reigns, would almost certainly take him over.
The Rock's participation in wrestling is a huge accomplishment, and while he might stop making movies and stick around, I don't think it would make sense from a narrative standpoint. It's also hard to imagine him would be excited about immediately dropping the belt on Raw or Smackdown. So, if this match does happen, it likely won't be for the titles, which means Roman would have to lose them to someone else.
Sheamus would have been way down on this list prior to Clash At The Castle, but his match of the night performance alongside Gunther resulted in one of the finest post-loss ovations in the history of the business. And somehow that momentum carried over to Smackdown. The Celtic Warrior was getting some Attitude Era-like crowd pops last Friday, and people are going to start buzzing about the Fella getting another run at the top.
Sheamus has been putting on banger after banger for a decade now in WWE, and while many have praised him for it, few have recognized his Hall of Fame career. However, the crowd will have to play a major role here, as Sheamus will thrash his way through better and better competition.
Randy Orton was hot before he fell ill with an injury. There were rumors WWE was considering a program in which Riddle fought and lost to Roman Reigns and then Randy came back to challenge the Tribal Chief at the next premium live event.
We do not know what WWE will do with Ortons whenever he returns. Its possible theyll send him back to the tag-team scene with Riddle or put him in a feud with someone outside of the title picture. However, if he returns with anywhere near the same push as he left, you should expect him to be involved in major plots ASAP.
Vince McMahon isn't just a wrestler, but everyone who watches wrestling should pay attention to Austin Theory. The guy is fantastic in the ring, is especially good on the microphone, and has a face that is almost as punchable as The Miz, which is a plus point in a wrestler. He has to be considered, given he holds the Money In The Bank briefcase.
Triple H and his company have made two major premium live events and he has lost to Kevin Owens on television. He lost his US Title to Bobby Lashley. All of these events appear to be necessary components to securing a victory over a top-tier Roman Reigns. That being said, there is certainly a possibility that Triple H and his company may use the briefcase to secure a triple threat match.
Bobby Lashley is well-known among WWE fans. I thought changing him baby face was a bad move and the crowd would not react. I'm certain you're mistaken about the second part. His performances are excellent and among the finest in the company. But is he over with fans like Randy Orton or Drew McIntyre?
The question is what to answer. Lashley is adept at MMA and looks like he's about to crush everyone in the room. He's also really elevating the US Championship, and alongside Gunther, making the secondary championships a reality again. As a huge mid-card belt fan, I could see putting one of the belts on him again, but he's not the guy I'd want to be the single focus of the company.
Kevin Owens' main evented out night one of WrestleMania 38 with Stone Cold Steve Austin in an match that everyone Ive ever spoken to had a great time watching. Then he turned the most talked about storyline on social media for like two months, with Triple H resurrecting him in title contention.
I'd honestly rate him higher than this, but I think the title picture he'll end up in is the Tag Team Championship. He's destined to make a comeback against The Usos for their own unified belts, and then challenge the Usos for their own unified belts. Imagine how loud that crowd would be if WWE can build properly for that match.
Clash At The Castle didnt end with Drew McIntyre raising the belts, but Triple H and the company had other plans. He is clearly still a formidable player, and if they were going to drape the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on him, that would be the time.
Drew McIntyre isn't going to dismiss him on any given night. He's still a credible threat to thrash Roman Reigns on any given night. Not many people have been built up to the point where they could pin him without any shenanigans, but the odds of him being the guy decreased dramatically after that defeat earlier this month.
I understand what you're about to say. But Brock Lesnar has just lost to Roman twice. Why is he ahead of Drew McIntyre in this sport? Because if Brock Lesnar had told WWE that he'd defend the belt for six months at least once a month, I'd have won. He's either the largest or the second biggest attraction in the entire sport, and even though he's lost a bunch this year, this is the most I've ever enjoyed.
Im not too keen on Brock Lesnar as a champion if he wont be on TV every week, but if he wants to come back and do another run, slap the belts on him once more. Id love to see him pummel challenges each month at the premium live event.
Clash At The Castle was one of my favorites matches in years. It was brutal, but it also told a compelling story and had a wonderful flow to it. Gunther is entertaining, and his portrayal, particularly with Imperium back together, is fantastic. The New Age Outlaws are also wonderful.
If it sounds like I'm marking out for this guy, it's because I am. He's amazing. But I don't think he needs the big belt right now. Let him continue to dominate fools for another 6 months or a year at the Intercontinental level. Then, at some point down the road, he might be in WWE and/or Universal Title contention.
Seth Freakin Rollins is the best wrestler in the world, for my money. He does everything very well, and he has put in the effort over the last year. More often than not, his match is the best of the night whenever he is wrestling. That doesnt mean he has to give up something that is bigger than himself.
The crowd is growing and singing Seth's theme song more and more. The pops on Burn It Down are becoming more louder each time. I'd love to see all that fan support come together to create an all-time moment.
Cody returned to WWE to huge fanfare and gave us a spectacular match against Seth Rollins, his path to the championship seemed so clear. After he gave us that wonderful video where he talked about his dad and winning the championship for him, it all seemed destined. He then got hurt. He gave us a spectacular and grotesque match for the ages on the way out, but at the time, it still felt like someone else would definitely step up and defeat Roman.
Rhodes is expected to return to The Royal Rumble in the near future, and there is a good possibility, he will win and cement his title shot at WrestleMania.
Is there anyone else on this list that might make more of that moment? I don't think so, and until a better candidate is found, he'll be number one.