4 superstars to step up during Roman Reigns’ reported summer absence | Launderer’s report
0 out of 4
The wrestling world buzzed last week when WWE has released its summer live event schedule with undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns conspicuously absent for 10 weeks.
How could WWE survive over two months of television, premium live events and house shows without its biggest star and biggest draw, many have understandably wondered. After all, the company has spent the better part of the past two years building him into the most dominant force in sports entertainment and the undisputed star around which the entire WWE Universe revolves.
While Mat Men Podcast Andre Zarian eventually reported that Reigns should not be taking an extended leave from TV and PPVs, Reigns was removed from Hell in a Cell promotional material and should not appear on that show, per David Meltzer from F4WOnline.com.
This begs the question: whether or not Reigns is taking time off this summer, which four Superstars could really step up to the plate and become the central figure in WWE programming?
1 of 4
Cody Rhodes has already replaced Reigns on the Poster Hell in a Cell and expressed his desire to win the WWE Championship. He’s been massively pushed since returning to WrestleMania and is already taking on the role of Monday Night Raw’s top star.
Although Reigns is a SmackDown Superstar, something as small as brand loyalty and exclusivity has never been a concern for WWE Creative, as we’ve seen over the past month with the many RK-Bro’s appearances on the blue brand despite being the Raw Tag Team Champion. .
Rhodes is hot, fans are responding positively to him and he still feels like a big deal. If he were to be able to step in and appear on Friday night to help build star power on SmackDown, he could do so seamlessly.
Like all the other names on this list, Rhodes is a babyface. Without Reigns, the blue brand would be sorely lacking a Main Event heel to schedule against Rhodes.
Perhaps that’s where his recent Raw rival comes in.
2 out of 4
Seth Rollins beat everyone to beat on Raw except for the aforementioned Rhodes. He’s been on top of the mountain, fought former world champions and future Hall of Famers, and is perpetually with WWE audiences.
Dragging him to Raw, perhaps in a fit of rage after losing another high profile match, would help fill Reigns’ spot in the short term. He would also feature Friday night audiences with matches against Drew McIntyre, Ricochet and even a burgeoning Madcap Moss, all of which could be some pretty damn good matches given Rollins’ status as one of the best wrestlers on the planet.
Best of all, SmackDown audiences know him. Just six months ago, The Visionary was a member of the Friday Night roster, battling Edge in one of the best feuds of 2021. Last January, he emerged as Reigns’ top title contender ahead of Royal Rumble.
Rollins is the most obvious option to seamlessly replace Reigns, as he is a heel and provides star power at this position on the roster.
WWE may not want to look to Raw to improve the roster in the event of Reigns’ absence, forcing them to watch the SmackDown stars available to them, including two former WWE Champions.
3 out of 4
Momentum was on Drew McIntyre’s side after WrestleMania 38.
The Scottish Warrior returned to the main stage of the event entering WrestleMania Backlash and immediately targeted Reigns, much to the fans’ approval. The former WWE Champion had taken a back seat over the previous year, but returned to main event relevance by targeting The Head of the Table.
After being driven through a table by Reigns during the last premium live event, McIntyre will likely be looking for revenge, which means the program with Reigns isn’t over yet.
Already a seasoned main event star, who has proven his ability to put on an entire show in the past, McIntyre could easily become the central piece of the SmackDown puzzle. Like Rhodes, the problem lies in the decided lack of credible hookers in front of him.
Could McIntyre work with Sami Zayn, Happy Corbin, Sheamus and Gunther to get great results? Absolutely.
Are any of these considered by fans to be legit high heels that could oppose a mega-over babyface and spark interest? Outside of the uncharted Gunther, probably not.
The return of a man McIntyre defeated for his first WWE Championship, who has proven capable of representing both heel and babyface, may be the best option for a blue brand looking for a real star to build if Reigns disappears for a significant period of time.
4 out of 4
The last time we saw Brock Lesnar on WWE television, he was a babyface badass smashing and crushing anyone and anything in his path. At WrestleMania 38, he lost a title unification to Reigns and has not been seen since.
Although he may have had the fans on his side in his battle with The Tribal Chief, Lesnar can easily explode on WWE television as a heel. All it takes is a well-placed F-5 on a babyface like McIntyre to turn fans around and embark on another run as WWE’s top villain.
With three massive in-stadia shows scheduled for this summer, the likelihood of Lesnar being involved in WWE programming is improving exponentially anyway. If Reigns is really taking time, or would be looking to down the line, Lesnar re-emerging as a kickass villain is as solid an option as any.
Best of all, he’s a real box office draw and carries the kind of star power that Fox would demand from WWE if they suddenly didn’t have Reigns at their disposal.
That Lesnar vs. McIntyre is a feud that hasn’t been explored to its full potential, and hasn’t been revisited since, only makes this option all the more intriguing.
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