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WWE Championship Discussion

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There is a lot that someone could argue WWE has gotten wrong this year. The one thing they haven't is Kofi's booking. He has looked better as a champion than a lot of people had expected him to look, and he's been booked better as champion since Wrestlemania than some of the previous WWE champions had for a majority of their reigns. He has been a good face for Smackdown even during this recent time of change. Assuming WWE can handle it right, I'm hoping when it comes to an end it ends similar to when Daniel Bryan lost it to Kofi. Where I wasn't ready for the run to end yet but when it does it'll be hard to look back and say it was a bad run.

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Kofi facing Ziggler is something that is bound to lead to retention. The only reason Dolph is being used is that Owens refuses to go to Saudi, which is honestly sad because he is such an amazing, underutilised talent. Kofi's reign has been quite well booked, and while I think they'll be jobbing him to Kevin Owens in the near future (Summerslam?), they did Kofi the service of a good storyline, and a good reign. I hope they aren't having Brock cash in on Kofi, as much as I would hate the Universal Championship to go back to Lesnar.

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I think Kofis feud has been pretty good especially with what he has been given. He made the filler feud with Ziggler welll and so far him and Joe have done well. Hes constantly putting on good matches every week and i haven't been disappointed in any of this title defenses. Kofi has done hes shown he ddeserves his spot

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Image result for wwe championship

Time to tackle the big one, the WWE Championship. One of the most storied and historically relevant championships in the wrestling world, only the cream of the crop can think to win the WWE Championship. Currently, it can only conceivably be held by Smackdown's best and brightest names to lead the show, especially with their move to a different network.

So, avoiding any Wild Card chicanery from RAW, lets have a look at some superstars who could, and a few who I think should be in the running to win the WWE Championship.

 

Daniel Bryan

Image result for Daniel Bryan

Having had arguably the most engaging WWE Championship reign of the last few years up until Wrestlemania 35, Daniel Bryan is certainly one of Smackdown's top stars for in-ring talent, and in the character department. Having defied the natural babyface role set out for him on his long-awaited return, Bryan's talent and creativity managed to forego all of his fan adoration and channel it into that of a self-righteous, virtue-signalling heel. Resonating with the modern WWE audience, Bryan still holds some decent momentum despite now being lower on the card as Tag Team Champion.

I'd say that a possible fifth WWE Championship reign for Daniel Bryan is all down to how heathy and able Bryan's physicality is. He has definitely made strides to preserve his self life in the ring quite drastically, reverting back to his Ring of Honor days with a more grounded grappling style. However, given his previous years of performing his high octane, risky style, we still don't know when the next bump might be his last. Hopefully, Bryan does have another title run in him. It's quite fortunate that he is involved in a tag team so far in this regard, as he won't need to exert himself to the level of a main event singles star while he is away from the main event scene.

However, looking up and down the current Smackdown roster and who they have challenging for the title, they are a little bit light on the really big stars of the company. While he will likely be staying away from the main event for a good few months, Bryan's established stardom is going to be integral to the brand's direction heading into the FOX era. So don't be surprised if we see Bryan in an extended program for the title within the year.

 

Kevin Owens

Image result for Kevin Owens

Although, speaking of established stars, Kevin Owens is the master of generating his own heat. Currently riding a massive wave of momentum following his face turn and subsequent pipebomb on the current state of the product which rings true with a multitude of fan frustrations, Owens is in prime position to advance back up the card.

The main thing holding Kevin Owens back is his less than stellar booking in the past. Having a mediocre Universal Championship reign due to factors outside of his control (Balor's Injury, RAW's lack of main event stars and creative booking, Goldberg etc.). He would then be embroiled in holding the hot potato that was the United States Championship before feuding with the ever-infuriating Shane McMahon and allying with Sami Zayn.

Owens' luck with the WWE Championship hasn't gone well for him, falling into the same category of Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, of having several challenges (many of which consecutive in an extended feud), only to fall short on every occasion (Royal Rumble 2018, Fastlane 2018, Fastlane 2019, Money in the Bank 2019).

This combined with his unfortunate stigma of putting over the other star, as we saw in his brutal deaths at the hands of Braun Strowman in 2018, Owens hasn't been the recipient of strong booking for many years, something that if he was WWE Champion, he would need to gain, and quickly. Luckily, everything on KO's end of things were ready to take the reigns of the Blue Brand yesterday. Owens is the total package talent wise, and should be featured as a top babyface (or heel) on Smackdown.

 

.....Shane McMahon....

Image result for Shane McMahon best in the world pose

It's detestable that Shane McMahon is a regular mention in conversations about the WWE Championship nowadays. Following on from his feuds with KO and Sami Zayn, up to his tag team run with The Miz, and the baffling win streak that this non-wrestler has gained in the last few months, booking logic dictates that Shane McMahon is one of the top names to be considered for a World Championship Match. I whole-heartedly disagree with any idea of Shane McMahon going anywhere near a championship, but it's an unavoidable consequence of having him start to run through the roster.

Shane's in-ring style is that of a spot monkey with incredibly dodgy strikes (those damn punches will forever haunt me) and equally dodgy grappling. While his effort is apparent, and admirable, he simply should not be in the position he is in. Shane is in his late 40s, and has a finger in multiple storyline pies, making appearances on both shows. The very definition of overexposed and hogging finite air time that the bloated roster is in need of more than the Boss' son.

If I had my way, Shane would not be anywhere near the ring. He should not be wrestling, let alone going over the younger, full-time talent. The man needs to drastically step down his involvement on TV, as he is possibly the worst aspect of WWE programming right now. The prospect of a timeline where Shane is the WWE Champion, winning it from Kofi Kingston is terrifying. Kingston is already in a tenuous position of needing to defeat credible main eventers. Losing to Shane of all people would grossly damage his image.

 

Randy Orton

Image result for Randy Orton singh brothers face

The Viper hasn't been featured in the main event scene for quite some time, not since his.....divisive extended feud with then-champion Jinder Mahal. Since then, Orton held the United States Championship for a cup of coffee, finally making him a Grand Slam Champion. His recent programs have been mostly defined with his feud with Jeff Hardy, and his Wrestlemania match with AJ Styles.

Now solidified in his much more comfortable role as a heel, Orton is probably the most likely challenger to Kofi Kingston, ready to arise in the next month for go, especially given his history with the current champion. My hesitation on Orton is that while as a heel he is infinitely more entertaining than as a babyface, he has held various world titles on so many occasions that I'm not too sure what him gaining yet another would accomplish.

Orton's gimmick, demeanour and ring-work has notoriously stayed the same for over a decade, and it's very unlikely to change now. While he fills a great of an instantly credible title challenge, I don't see him winning the title. WWE needs to establish the next wave of main eventers, something that making Orton a 14-time World Champion would not achieve. His last reign was not a good or memorable one, and I'm inclined to think that a future one would ring the same tune.

 

Andrade

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A star on the rise in WWE, Andrade is someone who now needs a title around his waist to capitalise on his greatness. The former La Sombra is one of WWE's strongest in-ring talents, always tearing it up on Smackdown, his matches with Rey Mysterio notably garnering near-universal praise (rightly so). Andrade is basically a superior Alberto Del Rio, without all the unprofessionalism that Del Rio had. If WWE want to have a big latin star, Andrade is the best guy you could ask for.

With the big success that was his NXT run once aligned with Zelina Vega, and becoming a great NXT Champion, I don't see how he couldn't work the same as a great WWE Champion. The act of Andrade and Vega is something that just works, it clicks and brings something entertaining to the product. Also with Andrade's improvements in the english department will certainly get him in Vince's good books. He was also in the final four of the 2019 Royal Rumble, so clearly WWE hold him in at least a decent regard.

While Andrade has unfortunately not gained a championship in the mid-card as of yet, I think Andrade is a ready made main event star just waiting for the right time to shine. His overwhelming positive is his in-ring work, and when he's allowed to show his talent and charisma though his ring work, Andrade has very few equals. If he were to win the WWE Championship, I think it would be a huge breath of fresh air to see an NXT star fully elevated to the main event. Also I'm sure that Kofi Kingston vs. Andrade would be an absolute banger of a match.

 

Finn Balor

Image result for Finn Balor IC Champion

The current Intercontinental Champion has definitely had his ups and downs on the main roster. Hampered with the most ill-timed shoulder injury during the first Universal Championship Match at Summerslam 2016, and not returning until after Wrestlemania. Balor's trip back to a championship has been a long and arduous journey. Through his never-ending feud with Bray Wyatt, laying down for a returning Kane, and his beef with Baron Corbin, Balor was meandering around in the midcard up until 2019, where he finally started to be booked as a star. Even that was not without fault however, as he questionably lost the Intercontinental Championship back to Bobby Lashley, only to regain it at Wrestlemania 35 as the Demon.

In spite of this middling booking over the last couple years, Finn Balor remains one of WWE's most popular wrestlers in the entire roster. The fans are clamouring for Balor to rightfully return to the position he was earmarked for in 2016, as a main event champion. While WWE are still likely hesitant that he would become injured again in the process, I think Balor is most certainly in the running to win the WWE Championship once he drops the Intercontinental Championship. As a babyface champion, he can ride is existing popularity, and really spread his wings in the ring, something he excels at. 

Although, I think his real potential lies in a potential heel turn in the near future. As much as I despise the Wild Card Rule, Balor could act as the Smackdown leader of The Club, allying with Styles, Anderson and Gallows. Even in the event of the Wild Card Rule being given the death it deserves, Balor as a vicious heel would be some much needed freshness in Balor's character work. He has remained a babyface throughout his entire WWE run, including NXT. Sometimes, all it takes is a tweak in character, or a slight heel turn to magnify someone's momentum to the main event, and Balor's current standing is in need of that little jolt in the right direction.

One advantage of Balor being a heel is that he suits the booking of a long-term champion, being the one that's chased rather than the chaser. We saw this across in New Japan as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, making the title truly difficult to win. With the heavies of Anderson and Gallows, or perhaps some other henchmen really adds to Balor's threat as a villian, and it's something that I'm chomping at the bit to see play out in WWE.

 

Roman Reigns

Image result for Roman Reigns Smackdown

Probably the go-to choice to win the WWE Championship, and it's hard not to see why. As a 3-Time WWE Championship, former Universal Champion, Grand Slam Champion, Royal Rumble Winner and Multi-time Wrestlemania Main eventer, Roman Reigns is as established a star as you can get. Fan reactions aside, Reigns is where the company has invested, so much so that his presence makes any segment a bigger deal. 

Unfortunately for Roman Reigns, even going into remission and returning to the ring didn't result in rapturous cheers for the Big Dog, only middling indifference for his Wrestlemania match against Drew McIntyre. Recently, Roman has been chained up in a bloated feud with Shane McMahon and his new lackey, the Scottish Psychopath. Roman's standing isn't going anywhere while in this feud, and the addition of The Undertaker isn't going to help that. Reigns is in need of a character change, or to be paired with opponents that accentuate his positives, something that Shane McMahon does not do.

Another hurdle for Reigns is the issue of a well-loved wrestler in Kofi Kingston holding the gold. It would be unwise for WWE to push Reigns as a babyface to challenge Kingston. After the emotional build up to Kofi finally winning the title at Wrestlemania, and just how quickly the fans became invested in his struggle, Reigns would almost certainly be vehemently booed upon the interaction. Furthermore, with Andrade, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon floating around, the upper card is quite saturated for heels. So turning Roman heel right now would only serve to unbalance the heel/face dynamic in Smackdown's main event scene.

There are also rumours of Shane winning the title from Kofi only so Roman won't be booed when he takes it from Shane. I really don't think that this booking would work it if turns out to be true, Kofi losing to Shane would be all the damage done. And with Roman's crowd reactions sill being fragile, him being on top once again might backfire as it has in the past.

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