Monday, December 29, 2014
Who should take down Brock Lesnar?
As we head into 2015 and the Royal Rumble upon us, the big question is who will end up facing and ultimately defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 to become the new champion? Will it be old faithful (you know who), the anointed one (Roman Reigns), one of the new favorites (Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins), or one of the people's champions (Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler)? There are reasons for each one to get the shot and for each one to be denied. Let's run through them, shall we?
Reigns got on the fast track as soon as the crowd openly wished for him to win last year's Rumble instead of Batista when they were the final two, and his performance in that match was an obvious indicator that he is the future. You put him in the match and give him the victory because you want him to be the man. He looks the part and his limitations in the ring are more along the lines of the Rock than someone like Sid Vicious. He can work a good match with the right dance partner, but you can't ask him to carry someone like Ryback for 15 minutes. So why shouldn't they go with him? The backlash potential is huge here. In the second half of the year, when it became obvious what kind of push he was getting, some dissatisfaction began to surface among the fanbase because of the old 'don't force this guy down our throats' philosophy. And even though those people are the same types who will demand someone be made champ and then not support them after they get the title, they are vocal and will show up at RAW or a pay per view event just to rain boos down on management's choice and will write troll commentary on their own blogs or in the comment sections of other people's work. These are the same people who hate John Cena but when you ask them for a good reason why, they got nothing other than 'feelings'. But if the performer they're trashing doesn't have a strong enough base of support they infect the rest of the fans. Having Reigns win the Rumble and beat Lesnar will incur the wrath of these fans more than any other decision the company could make right now so it might be a wise move to hold off that for little while longer.
Ambrose is on a roll with the fans over the last few months, positioning himself as a 2014 Steve Austin-style rebel. An Ambrose title shot and victory would not piss anyone off, and he can absolutely work well enough with anyone to carry the championship mantle in the ring. There are two problems. One, he doesn't exactly look like he could take an imposing figure like Lesnar straight up. And two, will he be able to generate the kind of post-WrestleMania support needed to be the face of the company even for a short time? I just can't picture a world where kids and their parents go to see Ambrose headline a house show like they do with John. And what happens when you have that May pay per view where the champ has a foregone conclusion title defense against someone like Mark Henry or the Big Show? Can he sell that kind of show? Your guess is as good as mine.
Bryan already proved he can headline a WrestleMania, and a chance to do it again and get the post-event period right would be a big hit with the fans I'm guessing. But given that he's been out for several months his ongoing health is a real issue that can't be ignored going forward. Another title win followed by another serious injury would be a major setback for the company and you just don't want to risk that again.
Rollins is as hot as a heel as Ambrose is on the face side, but him getting the shot would require a face turn that makes zero sense given his current position. A Money in the Bank cash-in right after a victory by someone else is a remote possibility, but to end the big show of the year with a heel winning the title and in that kid of way is a departure from conventional wisdom that we're not likely to see.
Dolph is another people's champ like Bryan, and I do think he could deliver in the post-event period. The only thing holding him back is management, really. You just get the feeling that they don't see him as main event material despite all the great work he's put in over the last three years.
We know why not, but why would you? Because he's reliable. Period. If you want a sure thing who can carry the load until Summerslam he's your man.
Now this is my bit of longshot fantasy booking. Having him come back to avenge his only WrestleMania loss then retire as champ would be a great storyline in my opinion. You can play up the over the hill angle the whole way up to the match for added drama, too. The only reason not to do it would be that the match itself would not be very good. Take out the shocking finish and last year's match was nothing to write home about. You would have to book a killer show underneath it or else you could be looking at a checked out crowd for real.
This would only happen if you're going to do the Rollins cash-in. It seems like Rollins and Orton should have some kind of feud going on once Orton gets back based on what last happened between the two on RAW. So an Orton win followed by a Rollins cash-in to add some heat to it would be interesting. Without the cash-in, forget it. Orton has been tried as champion and did not draw.
So those are my ideas. If I was in charge I'd go with the Undertaker. And when he surrenders the title and calls it a career you can move forward with the future in some kind of tournament. But that's just me.