Roman Reigns retained the Undisputed Universal Championship at Clash at the Castle on Saturday, and it looks like he’ll keep the belt for quite some time.
The title defense came against Drew McIntyre in Cardiff, Wales and was aided by his real-life cousin and brother of The Usos, Solo Sikoa. It looks like the NXT 2.0 wrestler will be moving up to the main roster to join his family members as part of The Bloodline.
While Reigns’ faction grows, where does the champion go from here? Well, in an interview with Jimmy Traina on the “Sports Illustrated Media Podcast” on Aug. 25, Reigns confirmed he signed a new deal and will be working a lighter schedule. He’ll still be working the main shows, but the 37-year-old has appeared to have earned himself time off when he needs it.
This leaves any potential challenger feuding with The Usos, Sikoa and Sami Zayn, who is an honorary “Uce” and part of Reigns’ faction. While Reigns’ assured he’ll be on television to help build the feud, it leaves a lot more to WWE to build up challengers and provide them credibility.
It’s unlikely Reigns will defend his titles at Extreme Rules on Oct. 8 since the event hasn’t been revered as an important show by WWE. Survivor Series on Nov. 26 is most likely when Reigns will defend the Undisputed Universal Titles.
As for who will challenge him, it looks like Karrion Kross will be the next man up. The former NXT Champion’s SmackDown debut was a confrontation with Reigns, and he was present ringside at Clash at the Castle, along with Scarlett.
The biggest question for Reigns will be if WWE chooses to split the titles. With Reigns working a lighter schedule and holding both world title belts, it leaves a big hole in the main event scene. WWE has tried to rectify this by trying to boost the reputations of the Intercontinental and United States titles, but a wrestling company is defined by its world title.
With the way WWE has built up the fact Reigns has held the Universal Championship for over two years, it’s likely the belts are split apart. It’s clear the company is building up the idea of “wrestler who beats Reigns” as a big deal.
The problem is there isn’t a lot of people with the credibility to beat Reigns to make that concept a big enough deal. It appears Paul Levesque is trying to bring back wrestlers who WWE released during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has been accused of tampering by AEW President Tony Khan.
Given who is on the roster, Cody Rhodes seems to be the favorite. WWE ran a video showing the former AEW TNT Champion’s progress in his rehab. The timeline on his return would make Royal Rumble a likely date for Rhodes. He could win that to get a shot at Reigns at WrestleMania 39.
The problem with that is WWE is reportedly hoping for a main event match with Reigns and his cousin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson due to WrestleMania being held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. To further compound problems, The Rock is a busy person, with his star roles in movies and his many business ventures, including the XFL. There’s no guarantee The Rock will be around for WrestleMania, and will movie studios sign off on him wrestling after he got injured in his last WWE match?
Regardless, it’s a big-money match WWE is building toward. The company has built up Reigns as the “head of the table” of the Anoa’i family, and the one WWE family member he hasn’t faced off against in the ring is The Rock.
These are self-created problems that WWE has to deal with, and the direction it goes in for Reigns’ title reign could make or break its ability to bring in new fans and bring back lapsed fans.