There are four No. 1 contenders for the vacant WWE Universal Championship, but it’s still only one man’s to lose: Seth Freaking Rollins.
Rollins is the favorite to win the Fatal 4-Way for the title next Monday against Kevin Owens, Big Cass and Roman Reigns. Granted, Reigns may be out of the dog house and seems like the most likely alternate option. But not as much as Rollins, who many expected to beat former champion Finn Bálor in the title’s inaugural match at SummerSlam.
In an alternate timeline, Rollins would still be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. His knee would have never given out during last year’s European tour. He never would’ve had to vacate the title. And he’d still be carrying WWE on his back into the New Era during the time he spent rehabilitating.
However, that’s not how it happened and Rollins has since been fighting to stay in the title picture. Sure, in kayfabe he’s been handed numerous opportunities as the Authority’s hand-picked golden boy. But as far as star power, experience and every other intangible goes, Rollins is the obvious choice.
First of all, let’s eliminate Big Cass right now. No disrespect, but why is he in this match? Like, when his and Enzo’s music hit, why was it implied that he and not his teammate was challenging for the vacant title?
Don’t get me wrong, Cass totally deserves a title shot, but in the tag team division. There’s no reason to have either Enzo and Cass as solo acts this early in their main roster runs. Of the field, he’s the least likely to win the belt. But then again, he’s the typical WWE build, can wrestle well and – despite being overshadowed by Enzo – is capable of cutting a good promo. That’s a future star in Vince McMahon’s eyes, but perhaps at a much later time.
Then there’s Kevin Owens. Sure, we’d all love to see Owens as Universal Champion, but it doesn’t seem like WWE is ready for it yet. Although there is some hope of WWE building up another former NXT star after Bálor’s push was cut short. But he’s far less likely to win than Rollins or Reigns.
Speaking of “The Guy,” “Big Dog,” or whatever nickname he has these days, it seemed like he was back to basics on Monday. After spending the last month in the doghouse for failing a wellness test, Reigns was back to overcoming the odds and winning handedly over Chris Jericho in Raw’s main event. Yes, that means he has a really good chance of going back to demi-god booking. However WWE have alternate plans set up for Reigns post-SummerSlam that will take shape after Raw.
Now back to Rollins. We know he’s capable of carrying the torch, as he did for seven months. Rollins is popular enough to be an actual babyface and gets enough heat to remain a top heel. He’s capable of putting on stellar matches and continues to provide excellent promos.
Plus, he was one of the challengers for the title last Sunday. Obviously he was going to stay in the title picture regardless, especially with Stephanie McMahon in the back of his kayfabe pocket.
Also, Rollins gives the new belt more prestige. Neither Owens or Cass has ever held a WWE World Championship and Reigns’ multiple runs weren’t as memorable. Rollins’ lengthy past reign and name value will legitimize the belt more than any other Superstar in the match.
So yes, “The Architect” is still the favorite to win regardless of whether WWE is booking Reigns strong again, decides to finally pull the trigger on Owens as champ or wants to strap a rocket to Big Cass’ back. Having Rollins as champion is not only the easy decision, but the right one to make.