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If Roman Reigns wins this Sunday, his title reign will reach the unprecedented 700-day mark. Nearing two years on top, The Tribal Chief is the longest reigning World Champion in WWE’s modern era by far and he’s looked nearly unstoppable with his cousins, The Usos, and legendary manager Paul Heyman by his side.
If Reigns loses, however, the new man holding the title would be Brock Lesnar. Coined, “the alpha male of our species,” Lesnar has been nearly impossible to beat since his 2002 debut. Either way, whoever walks out of SummerSlam as champion poses a monumental task for the new challenger.
Reigns and Lesnar combined have beaten almost everyone. Regardless of who wins on Sunday, WWE is left with a major task — finding a fresh and credible challenger for either man.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the roster and see who could be next in line for a shot at the World Titles.
Seth Rollins is arguably doing the best work of his career right now. He has achieved a rare feat in the world of wrestling and that is to be so good, you don’t even need a championship. Rollins is above gold right now and his revolutionary character and connection with the crowd tell the whole story. Fans serenade Rollins as he walks to the ring by singing his theme song, go crazy on social media about his eccentric outfit choices and buy his merchandise at a higher rate than most of the roster.
The Superstar is connected to the crowd in a way that no other heel on the roster is. He is a beloved villain, a performer that is so good it doesn’t matter that he plays the role of a bad guy.
Rollins has earned the right to challenge Reigns or even Lesnar for the title. Adding a title to Rollins in the next few months would be the only way WWE can raise his star power. He is already at the top of the mountain and one of the only superstars on the roster that seem dangerous and credible enough to realistically take the title from Roman or Brock at any given time.
Drew McIntyre is a freak of nature athlete who has earned the right to challenge for the world title at any moment. After his initial departure from WWE, McIntyre became all business and hasn’t looked back. Since returning in 2017, the six-foot-five Scottish Psychopath has left a trail of destruction behind him. Over the last few months, McIntyre actually confronted Reigns a few times on Smackdown, which led many fans to believe the two would start a program.
Instead, McIntyre teamed up with RK-Bro in a losing effort in the six-man main event of WrestleMania Backlash. Mcintyre can easily move from the program he’s currently in with Sheamus to take on the champion in a singles match.
This is probably the most likely scenario to occur since Mcintyre is already in a program with The Bloodline and Sheamus. Mcintyre is believable as a real threat to any champion’s title and a viable option for WWE to choose as the next challenger.
Speaking of Sheamus, The Irish Warrior has looked rejuvenated over the last few months. With the new formation of The Brawling Brutes by his side, Sheamus has wrestled with a little pep in his step as of late, turning up the physicality and intensity in the ring. At Clash at the Castle, Sheamus will take on Drew McIntyre in a number one contender's match for the World Title.
If Sheamus wins, he could be one of the champion's steepest challenges to overcome. The current champ will have the numbers game going against them, as well as this new, hard-hitting version of Sheamus to deal with inside the ring. Sheamus has been doing great work with WWE for over a decade and he always seems credible and intense enough to make a run for the title. As a former World Champion, Sheamus is always a safe option for a new challenger and he can hopefully keep up this great streak of work.
Since Riddle’s best friend and tag team partner, Randy Orton, has been sidelined with a serious back injury, Riddle has been on a vengeance tour in WWE. He's been chasing both The Bloodline and Seth Rollins for a few months now so directionally, this move to challenge for the title makes sense. Riddle swore that he would get vengeance on The Bloodline for injuring Orton and has since made it his mission. Many fans were concerned that Orton’s injury would stunt Riddle’s momentum, but Riddle has turned up the intensity in the ring and looks as though he’s learned a thing or two from Orton.
The best way for Riddle to get revenge for his best friend would be to defeat the unstoppable Roman Reigns or the Beast in Brock Lesnar. He seems like a credible challenger and fans are buying into the laid-back character and skills that Riddle has. He is a popular superstar who is improving both on the mic and in the ring as well. He has earned an opportunity to challenge for the title.
Make sure to watch SummerSlam Saturday, July 30 on Peacock to catch all the action!
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