Roman Reigns will be the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion for a staggering 1000 days on May 27, which is also the day of the Night of Champions PLE from Jeddah. Reigns is set to make an appearance on this Friday’s SmackDown from Knoxville, TN, where it could be revealed who his next opponent will be.
It’s dubious to assume that person will dethrone Reigns, as it seems WWE is hinting at that position for someone else, and it’s not Cody Rhodes.
It seems unlikely that Reigns’ dominating reign will end anytime soon after the events of WrestleMania 39, where most thought he would lose the title to Rhodes. But WWE has to have a plan for someone to take the title off him in the somewhat near future, right?
Rhodes seems to be the rightful successor, given the story that’s attempting to be told by making him earn his way back to a title match and suffering through the adversity of the likes of Brock Lesnar. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that will happen. There was an unsuspecting player added to the mix on the Raw before WrestleMania.
Rhodes took on Solo Sikoa in what ended up being Sikoa’s first defeat. Ever since then, Sikoa has received a significant push by main eventing more Raw’s and SmackDown’s. Not only that, but his character is evolving weekly as he’s been placed higher on the card and in meaningful other segments on weekly shows. What seemed like a solid, logical main event for Raw heading into WrestleMania 39, now looks like a foreshadowing of Solo’s future.
Has Rhodes been a red herring this whole time? It would certainly be an interesting route to take creatively if that is in fact what WWE is doing. There would be a lot of backlash (no pun intended) from fans with most likely suggesting that it’s another dreaded Vince McMahon decision. But, honestly, the way that Paul “Triple H” Levesque is booking, it seems like something he would do as well.
Levesque is all about long-term storytelling and character development, per the WWE’s Q1 Financial Media Call on May 3. In the time since he’s taken over creative going back July 25, there has been a real change in WWE.
The storylines are more coherent, crisper, and told with a longer form narrative. The stories still aren’t perfect by any means. There are still goofy, eye-rolling moments that would make anyone question why they’re watching, but seeing the development of someone like Solo Sikoa gives reason to believe there are bigger ideas ahead.
One idea may be to have Sikoa dethrone Reigns, not Rhodes, for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
This all feels like a familiar storyline in the making and one that Levesque is all too familiar with. Back in 2004-2005, the stable of Evolution (Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista) was pretty much running the Raw brand. The purpose of the stable was to establish future stars in Randy Orton and Batista. When Orton was pushed a little too quickly, Batista became next in line to challenge Triple H for the title. Which he did at WrestleMania 21, winning the World Heavyweight Championship.
If you look back at that story, it’s in the same vein that WWE could be leaning toward with Reigns and Sikoa. Right now, Sikoa is like any good James Bond henchman for his boss — which ironically enough Batista played the part of in Spectre — and taking on all the grunt work, making sure Reigns stays supreme as champion. But the henchman is only the henchman for so long until he gets fed up with his villainous boss.
Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa fit the roles perfectly of Triple H and Batista back in 2005. With the addition of Paul Heyman playing a similar part of who Flair was to Triple H, seeing the story unfold, although similar, could make for exciting television. Whether we get the thumbs down from Sikoa, we’ll have to wait and see.
WWE has found itself in an odd predicament with Roman Reigns. Unlike The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak where he didn’t have to lose, Reigns’ streak as champion has to have a conqueror. He can’t be champion forever; he’s already starting to run out of opponents. Rhodes is the most logical but Sikoa is a bigger surprise and maybe even a greater story.
The Bloodline storyline has been one of the hottest angles in recent WWE history. It would make sense for the company to finally cash in on this angle — even if it wasn’t in the ways of Sami Zayn or Cody Rhodes — by having what this story has been about the whole time: the one royal family of wrestling.
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