Vince McMahon is still the most powerful man in WWE. The power of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, various producers and a handful of writers continues to grow, but everything ends with the vision of McMahon. At the age of 71, many would expect McMahon to retire and spend the later years of his life with family in relaxation. Instead, Vince chooses to continue leading the WWE ship making the big decisions for the present and future of the company. Most of the storylines are a team effort but McMahon’s word wins out depending on if he approves or declines.
The biggest problem here is the reputation of Vince’s current mindset being a bit outdated. Triple H and others tend to have their fingers on the pulse of where the industry is heading. A lot of McMahon’s ideas end up floundering. Vocal fans still refuse to stop heckling Roman Reigns due to how hard Vince has tried to force his push down their throats. We'll take a look at some other ideas and storylines that are currently rumored to take place over the next few months. These are fifteen rumored storylines that no one but Vince McMahon would be excited to watch unfold.
15 Roman Reigns' Title Path
A rumored storyline for Roman Reigns in the near future sees him likely challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. The main reasons WWE moved both Miz and Dean Ambrose over to Raw in the Superstar Shakeup were to set this up. Miz defeated Ambrose to become the Intercontinental Championship and feud with Reigns.
The hope here is for Reigns to eventually win every singles male title on the road to WrestleMania 34. Reigns just has to win the Universal Championship and Intercontinental Championship to complete the list. An Intercontinental Title reign before a potential WrestleMania 34 Universal Championship match would mean he was only one away from getting them all. Not only would this be yet another instance of Reigns being overpushed, but it would sacrifice the momentum of Miz’s hot heel run as the IC Champ.
14 Goldberg's Return
One of the more surprising rumors to pick up steam in recent months features a potential final match for Goldberg. The legend had a shocking Universal Championship reign heading into WrestleMania 33 for a showdown with Brock Lesnar. It appeared Goldberg wrestled his final match when dropping the title to Lesnar and suffering the first clean loss of his wrestling career.
A recent rumor has Goldberg returning to face Roman Reigns at Summerslam. The logic behind the rumor would also be to set up a potential Reigns versus Lesnar match at WrestleMania 34. Reigns and Lesnar are the only two wrestlers to defeat Undertaker at a WrestleMania. Roman getting a clean victory over Goldberg would also make them both the only two that cleanly defeated the legend. No one needs to see the 50 year old Goldberg wrestle another match just to put over Reigns.
13 Rusev As Jinder Mahal's Lackey
Rusev and Jinder Mahal teamed together during the early portion of the year as a forgettable anti-American tag team. An injury to Rusev and Mahal moving to SmackDown Live each set up a huge change that no one could have expected. Rusev’s original return to SmackDown was scheduled to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank.
Mahal’s momentum and support in WWE led to him becoming the WWE Champion and put off Rusev’s return. WWE has no idea what to do with Rusev and there are rumblings that he will once again be aligned with Mahal. Considering Jinder is getting the push of a lifetime as the champ, Rusev would play the role of his sidekick. The talent of Rusev would be wasted as a lackey, but it wouldn’t be the first time WWE gave him a terrible storyline.
12 Brock Lesnar Dominating The Raw Roster
As mentioned earlier, Brock Lesnar is rumored to hold the Universal Championship for a full year into a showdown against Roman Reigns. The upcoming dream match between Lesnar and Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire has many fans wondering about the potential of Joe as champion. Wrestling insider Dave Meltzer has reported that Joe is expected to be a one-off loss for Lesnar.
The reports all indicate Lesnar is scheduled to run roughshod over the Raw roster on his collision course to WrestleMania. WWE wants to repair Brock’s image as the most dominant beast in wrestling following his loss to Goldberg last year. Top names like Joe, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt are all expected to get destroyed by Lesnar en route to his match putting over Reigns. The entire main event roster losing to a one-dimensional part-timer is not a good look to anyone but Vince McMahon.
11 Braun Strowman SummerSlam Title Shot
The man to get the title shot on the second biggest PPV of the year is scheduled to be Braun Strowman. Brock Lesnar faced off with Strowman on the Raw after WrestleMania 33 to tease the eventual upcoming match between the two. Strowman suffering an injury kept him off television for over a month. WWE however lied about the timetable claiming it would be six months rather than just one or two.
Strowman is viewed as one of Vince McMahon’s pet projects and may get the only competitive match out of Lesnar this year. That sounds good in theory but he isn’t the right man to get such a spot this early in his career. Finn Balor has yet to get his rematch after relinquishing the Universal Championship exactly a year prior. Strowman getting the spot over Balor sets a horrible precedent and leaves a perfect story opened.
10 Jinder Mahal Lengthy Title Reign
We know that Brock Lesnar is expected to have a long Universal Championship, but the other World Champion may have the same. Jinder Mahal’s shocking WWE Championship win changed the landscape of SmackDown Live. It appears Vince McMahon views Mahal as one of the top heels WWE can build around for many years at the young age of 30.
The new rumor would see Mahal hold the title for a long time period. There were prior plans for A.J. Styles to be the man to end Randy Orton’s WWE Championship reign at SummerSlam. This no longer is looking like the case with Mahal likely holding the belt for most of the rest of the year. Mahal has improved but he clearly isn’t ready to be the face of SmackDown. The brand needs a more credible champion to get back to where it was before the Superstar Shakeup.
9 John Cena Defending America Against Jinder Mahal
One of the major reasons for Jinder Mahal’s impromptu title reign features a potential match against John Cena. WWE is already advertising Cena’s return for an episode of Smackdown Live on Independence Day. The expectations for Cena’s plans are leading towards a Mahal against Cena World Title program heading into SummerSlam. Cena’s patriotism against a hated anti-American villain seems extremely outdated for 2017.
The storyline is obviously one of Vince McMahon’s favorites that we have witnessed countless times through the years. It would be fine for Cena to put over a new star if the story revolved around anything else. The stale and lazy angle would be a complete waste of Cena in a rare big match situation. Hopefully the rumor mill is wrong with Cena having a better match heading into SummerSlam.
8 Nia Jax & Alexa Bliss Team
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax are best friends in real life. They are both top heels on the Raw brand. Bliss and Jax have completely different looks and characters that would make sense together. The problem with a rumored duo between the two is messing around with the greatness of Bliss’ character. Alexa has become the most impressive women on the roster following the brand split all on her own.
The pressure of having to help carry a less experienced partner could be too much for the young Bliss. An act like Alexa is too important to risk ruining by trying to add another wrestler to the mix. It would mostly be done to help progress Nia along considering Vince McMahon is very high on her. The heel combination would be better off staying separate or Bliss may suffer for it.
7 New Day Splitting Up
A slight rumor that circulated around a few months ago regarded the future of New Day. Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods were moved from Raw to SmackDown Live as a unit. They will definitely be a part of the tag team division for a while, but there is speculation that one of the members will quit the group to turn heel in a singles push.
The magic of New Day is they're all having the most fun of their careers. Sure, one of them would love to get into the title picture, but that can happen while remaining in the group. There are still a lot of money, mileage and dream matches left for New Day, and one of them leaving the group could hurt all of their careers. Kingston, Woods and Big E all belong together for at least another year or two.
6 Baron Corbin, World Champion
Baron Corbin achieved the biggest win of his career in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The vast majority of MITB winners have gone on to win the World Championship. Corbin is expected to follow suit with the eventual cash-in on the WWE Champion. WWE is strongly behind the potential of Corbin with the hopes of him becoming a huge player in the long term future.
Corbin was originally expected to face Randy Orton at Backlash but management felt it would have been pointless to have him lose a title shot. Instead, they wanted to have him hold the MITB briefcase with the future World Title reign being a big deal. Corbin winning the title this early into his career could be a bad call. The charisma and presence of Corbin is not at the level of the main eventers yet no matter what Vince McMahon thinks.
5 Shaq Wrestling For WWE
Shaquille O’Neal failing to agree to a WrestleMania match against Big Show disappointed many people hoping for the attraction match. The NBA legend and entertainment personality has strong interest in having a WWE match on the big stage. O’Neal claimed WWE fell through on their part of the deal and Show stated Shaq was the one to quit on the idea.
During one of his recent podcast episodes, O’Neal stated he was open to making the WWE match happening at some point. Vince McMahon loves putting Show in celebrity matches and a bout with Shaq could sell extra WWE Network subscriptions. The ship has sailed and we are at the point of no return. O’Neal should just quit on the idea and WWE should move on.
4 Lana Top Women’s Wrestling Star
The singles match debut of Lana on the WWE main roster came in the form of a PPV title shot against SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi. Lana did not look horrible in the ring, but she left a lot to be desired. One thing that was certain about the match was WWE having high hopes for her future. Lana had the upper advantage over the champion for the majority of the match.
If not for Carmella’s presence at ringside, Lana may have very well have had the match won in the story. Lana is bound for big things with Vince McMahon being her biggest supporter. McMahon has looked at Lana as a future top star for many years now and he’s going to finally go all the way. We can only hope the expected instant push slows down instead of her getting fast tracked to the top.
3 Stephanie McMahon Behind Enzo & Cass Attacks
Enzo Amore and Big Cass getting attacked every week by mystery culprits has become one of the better mysteries on Raw. There are many suspects from The Revival to Big Show to Enzo or Cass themselves. One rumored story in play is Stephanie McMahon being the mastermind behind this. Stephanie has been off television since getting pushed through a table at WrestleMania 33.
Insiders Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez have gone on the record that Stephanie hiring wrestlers to attack the fan favorites would be the way to write her back in the story. A potential clash between Stephanie and Raw GM Kurt Angle could start from her reveal as the person causing mayhem backstage. We can all appreciate a new feud starting, but the mystery of it all being for another Stephanie story would just deflate any momentum gained from it.
2 Kurt Angle Versus Triple H
The impending Kurt Angle against Stephanie McMahon clash for power running Raw can’t lead to a match between the two since WWE won’t have them wrestle each other. Stephanie’s husband and Angle’s former rival Triple H has Vince McMahon contemplating a big match. Angle has not wrestled in a WWE ring in over a decade since his departure back in 2006.
Rumors are out that Angle will return to the ring to face Triple H at either SummerSlam 2017 or WrestleMania 34. Angle having fear of private text messages is currently being set up to be part of the story with Triple H and Stephanie trying to get a one up on him. A match between two legends is always fun, but one of Angle’s final matches being against Triple H is absolutely disappointing. There are just so many top new stars that could have a classic dream match with Angle.
1 John Cena Working For Both Brands As A "Free Agent"
WWE has already announced John Cena becoming a free agent for his return in July. After being drafted by Smackdown Live last summer, Cena is expected to work both Raw and SmackDown this year. The face of WWE appearing on both shows is clearly a plan for ratings. Sadly, it completely hurts the overall integrity of the brand split.
Things have been a lot better since the brand split with WWE truly keeping both brands separate. The decision to have someone work for both shows is a slippery slope to creating the problems that killed the original brand split. Cena working on two rosters will also overexpose him to the WWE audience. Former critics of Cena were finally starting to accept Cena in his new role. The foolish decision to have him play a strong role on both Raw and SmackDown is just hurting him and the overall brand split.