Now that we know Undertaker is going to be in the Royal Rumble it sets up a lot of scenarios for who will face off with “The Dead Man” at Wrestlemania 33 in April. Rumors had been swirling that Vince McMahon wanted Taker to wrestle John Cena at Mania but now those plans are up in the air and it looks like Undertaker will get a new opponent for the big show in April.
In addition to the Rumble match we will also see Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens at Royal Rumble. Reigns dropped his United States title to Chris Jericho in a handicap match Monday night which means it’s very likely we will see the former Shield member win the belt from “KO” later this month in San Antonio.
So, if Reigns wins the title from Owens who will he defend it against at Wrestlemania? Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are out of the picture since they are facing each other. Seth Rollins is off the table as he will finally get his match with Triple H. That really only leaves a handful of names big enough to challenge Reigns for the belt at Mania on the RAW roster. Finn Balor vs Reigns would be fun but we already saw that match in the summer before Balor got hurt. And coming back from injury I think the WWE wants to keep “The Demon” looking like a million bucks, not jobbing to the champ. Big Cass vs Reigns would be a lot of fun but I think he and Enzo Amore will be winning the tag belts in Orlando instead of participating in single matches. Braun Strowman makes a lot of sense but I would imagine that he and Reigns will be the big feud after Wrestlemania when Reigns needs to slay a monster to legitimize himself as champ.
If you look at Smackdown, AJ Styles already faced Reigns on a series of pay per views last year so we know he’s not a candidate. Dean Ambrose has the Intercontinental Title and he will likely be tied up defending it in a ladder match or against a top mid-card act like Miz or Baron Corbin. Corbin is an intriguing option for Reigns but it looks like Vince McMahon is slowly building him up and I don’t think we will see him get beat by Reigns in April. Bray Wyatt would be fun but we’ve seen he and Reigns in the ring together a lot over the past two years. John Cena is a name that comes to mind but the rumor online is that McMahon wants Cena vs Reigns at Summerslam 2017.
I like the idea of The Rock vs Roman Reigns but I’m not sure if that’s the direction Vince McMahon wants to go. Surely Rocky would want to put over his cousin but there really needs to be some build up to that match. It needs to slow burn for a year or two before they actually do it.
When you look at the guys on the roster Undertaker is one of the top choices to put against Reigns. Brock Lesnar broke Taker’s streak just so he could eventually put over Reigns and make him the top guy going forward but the WWE muddied that so much they should just put Reigns over on Taker and send “The Dead Man” off into retirement after getting dominated by Reigns. Reigns could even kick out of a Tombstone piledriver and then hit the Superman Punch for the 1-2-3. If Triple H and McMahon are going to make Wrestlemania 33 the coronation of Roman Reigns, the Undertaker is the right choice to be his opponent.
It doesn’t really matter if he wins the Royal Rumble or not, Undertaker is always in position to challenge for the belt. I’d let someone else win it like Baron Corbin. That way it frees up a scenario where someone else can win the Rumble and call out John Cena or AJ Styles for the WWE title on the blue brand.
It would be really fun if Reigns turned heel leading up to the match. The fans aren’t going to boo Undertaker at this stage of his career not matter what he does. They could book an angle where Taker comes out the night after the Rumble to challenge Reigns for the belt. We get the elaborate “Dead Man” entrance and when he gets in the ring we only hear Undertaker say three words, “Roman Reigns…. Wrestlemania” as the lights go out. The crowd, of course goes crazy and when the lights come back on Reigns is behind Undertaker and starts beating him down to start the beginning of his long-awaited heel turn. Let’s face it the fans want to boo him. Give them a really good reason to do it. A beat down of a beloved WWE legend in the twilight of his career is probably the best way to make Reigns into a dastardly heel.
Ultimately we will have to tune into to the Royal Rumble on January 29 to see what the WWE does with Taker and Reigns. For all we know Reigns will lose to Owens and then enter the Rumble and win it. You never really know how McMahon is going to be book the battle royal and that’s why it’s the most exciting show of the year.