Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Sunday at SummerSlam. It was the most dominant performance in a championship match in the history of professional wrestling. It was surprising and a pleasure to watch.
But being the overanalyst that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder what the WWE was going to do next. After all, Lesnar just decimated the top babyface wrestling has seen since Stone Cold Steve Austin. Ideally, the biggest babyface in the company and the biggest heel in the company square off for the championship.
Tuesday it was announced that Lesnar will have a rematch with Cena at the Night of Champions show in September. The decision was surprising considering Lesnar was so dominant and the only reason to have a rematch would be for Cena to get his credibility back. It’s tough to see a scenario where Cena would win back the title considering the plan seems to be for Lesnar to have a lengthy title run.
Fortunately there is a way for Cena to gain some credibility without having him beat Lesnar. Considering how one-sided their previous match was, Cena could still lose and put up any fight whatsoever and it would make him look better than he does now.
I suspect they are using Cena as a time-filler opponent for Lesnar. It appears he will hold the championship until at least WrestleMania and that is six months away. While it would be wise to not have Lesnar defend the title monthly, it appears they are leaning toward using him a lot more than they have recently.
Part of what made Lesnar’s dominating win so enjoyable was the fans rarely get to see him perform. We haven’t seen him wrestle since he infamously ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Having him only wrestle three times a year makes it that more special when he does wrestle. Keeping Lesnar on a part-time schedule makes it a major event whenever he defends the title and that’s the way it should be.
But in case WWE is looking for challengers for Lesnar let’s do our best to try to figure out who the best candidates are. The name that the internet wrestling community instantly threw around as a title contender was Roman Reigns. The former Shield member is on a hot streak and defeated Randy Orton at SummerSlam. All indicators suggest that he will get a main event run sometime in the near future. It has even been suggested that he will be the next major star in WWE.
However, putting Reigns in a feud with Lesnar right now would not be best for business. Reigns is not ready for a main event program yet. His match with Orton was slow and he began to lose the crowd. He also does not sell moves for his opponent very well yet, and Lesnar needs opponents that will sell for him the way Cena does. If Reigns is really being considered to get a title run in the near future they should save that program for WrestleMania.
The only other healthy opponent that makes sense for Lesnar right now would be another former Shield member, Dean Ambrose. Ambrose is coming off a loss to Seth Rollins at SummerSlam but there was foul play involved. Ambrose has a connection with the crowd that is simply not there for any other babyfaces right now. They cheer for his offense and cheer his fabulous promos.
— WWE (@WWE) August 19, 2014
But WWE wrote Ambrose off TV on Raw after a brutal match with Rollins. The storyline is that he refused medical treatment and has gone missing. In reality, Ambrose is starring in a movie filmed by WWE Studios so that is why he will be off TV for a while.
I mentioned earlier that Ambrose would be the only healthy opponent that makes sense. I said that because Daniel Bryan, who is out with a neck injury, would be a great opponent for Lesnar. Bryan was the WWE Would Heavyweight Champion until it was stripped from him due to the injury. Bryan is entitled to a rematch when he returns since he never lost the title.
Bryan should make his return as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble in January. The crowd would erupt as his music hit and it would steal the show. He should win the Royal Rumble match guaranteeing him a title shot at WrestleMania. The storyline should be that Lesnar doesn’t respect Bryan due to his size and Bryan plays up the underdog narrative. He can sell for Lesnar and have a five-star match on the biggest stage at WrestleMania.
That would be the ideal scenario but nobody knows how Bryan’s health will be in January and if he can withstand the physical toll a match with Lesnar requires. Hopefully WWE does the wise thing and continues to use Lesnar sparingly and make his matches feel like major events.