WWE's current championship scene is currently very strong - with main-event level champions like Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey currently holding down the fort, there is not a dud in the bunch. However, the question always on the minds of WWE fans is "who is next in line?". By ensuring that there are wrestlers waiting in the wings to take over divisions is vital to ensuring success in WWE. Who will be the one to conquer The Beast, dethrone "The Man" or stop the New Daniel Bryan?
Thankfully, WWE has no shortage of fantastic talent. While fans are quick to point out that they are not always well-utilized, there can only be so many wrestlers at the top of the card. Wrestlers who are working in mid-card divisions are currently biding their time and waiting for their shot to lead the company. For most of these wrestlers it is not a matter of "if" they win a top-tier championship, but "when".
Being that we're now about to enter WrestleMania season, there will be some title changes along the way to ignite some feuds, or we'll see a bunch of title changes happen at the event itself.
Once all the stars align and these wrestlers are given the opportunity to shine, it will ensure WWE fan that the future is certainly bright. Fans were recently promised major changes by the McMahons and we'll see if title changes are taken into account.
Here are the projections for the five next championship holders for every major singles championship on the main roster.
20 WWE Champion - Finn Balor
Finn Balor's run as a main-event level wrestler in WWE was very short lived. Following becoming the first WWE Universal Champion in 2016, he was forced to vacate the championship after only one day. Since then, he has never been able to claw his way back to main-event status.
With the Universal Championship scene on lockdown with talent like Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose secure in top spots, there is little opportunity for Balor on RAW. However, SmackDown Live is certainly the land of opportunity for smaller wrestlers since AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan have been the brand's torch bearers. If a switch to the Blue Brand were to occur, Balor would finally be able to reach the level of success that he tasted back in 2016.
19 Universal Champion - Bobby Lashley
Putting aside the annoyance that is Lio Rush, Bobby Lashley is clearly poised for a main-event run in WWE. During his first stint with the company, he was consistently involved in championship matches. His time with Impact Wrestling was also spent as a top-tier star, so he certainly has all the mechanics that WWE looks for. If Lashley continues on his current trajectory, he is poised for his first run as Universal Champion.
While his run in WWE thus far has not been littered with greatness, Lashley has the look of a champion that Vince McMahon appreciates. With Roman Reigns out of action for the foreseeable future, WWE needs some of their mid-card wrestlers to step up. If Lashley was looking for the time to prove his worth, the time is now and it will likely equate to a run as champion.
18 RAW Women's Champion - Trish Stratus
Currently, there has not been a WWE Hall of Famer who has won a championship in WWE after their induction. However, given Trish Stratus's willingness to compete in WWE following her retirement, she may be poised for one more run with the title. Trish has not been a full-time wrestler since 2006, but that has not stopped her from competing in both the Women's Royal Rumble and at Evolution in 2018. Based on her time in the ring, she has not missed a beat.
While the women currently on WWE's roster do not necessarily need Trish to be included, she would be a welcome addition to the roster for a short period of time. After looking at Goldberg's Universal Championship run leading up to his Hall of Fame induction, there is a blueprint for this to work. Considering how beloved Trish is by WWE fans, they would welcome her as champion.
17 SmackDown Women’s Champion - Becky Lynch
It will be hard to keep The Man down for too long. After Becky Lynch showed that she could hold down the fort as SmackDown Women’s Champion, she proved how valuable of an asset she is for the company. Many have compared her to reaching “Stone Cold” Steve Austin levels of popularity during her recent run, and it's hard to refute that claim.
Giving Asuka a run with the title was a good move as it will put Becky back in the chasing position. When someone as over as Becky is chasing a championship run, it only makes the fans get behind her even more. While her character is not exactly an underdog, fans will get behind her even more while she chases her championship again. Also, relieving her of the championship now allows her to focus on her impending feud with Ronda Rousey, which will likely be all about respect and not championship belts.
16 WWE Champion - Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre's return to WWE has been a breath of fresh air. Four years away from the company allowed him to better himself as a worker, and he has blossomed. With a renewed focus on wrestling, McIntyre has reached the level of "chosen one" status that he had pinned on him during his first run. At least this time the goal looks achievable.
McIntyre has all the pieces to become WWE Champion one day; all he needs is the right feud to put him in the position. His in-ring work has been great and his charisma is off the charts. If WWE pairs him with the right babyface - such as AJ Styles or Seth Rollins - to give him the proper rub, then fans will see him as championship material. McIntyre is one feud away from really exploding on the main event scene, he just needs the right moment.
15 Universal Champion - Elias
Everyone knows what WWE stands for, and soon that will also stand for WWE Universal Champion. If someone were to have written that Elias would be a future Universal Champion during his time as "the drifter", it would have been very farfetched. Now, to see how the crowd interacts with him each week, it looks fully possible.
His improvement in front of live crowds and in the ring has been stellar over the past year. The only thing that Elias needs to work on before achieving stardom is getting involved in a great feud to skyrocket him in to the main event. If he was to put on a stellar performance with another top star, he would cement his place as a future champion.
14 RAW Women’s Champion - Ember Moon
Most former NXT Women's Champions have done very well once reaching the main roster. The fortunate thing for wrestling fans is that there is now an over-abundance of talent on the main roster, that some women are waiting for their time. While some fans are crying over Bayley or Sasha Banks not getting another run with the title, wrestlers like Ember Moon are quietly building a following and waiting for their time to strike.
Ember is currently associated with RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey, which spells great things for her in the near future. While she is currently a beloved babyface, it's fully within the cards for her to turn on Rousey in an attempt to take her title.
13 SmackDown Women’s Champion - Shayna Baszler
Speaking of NXT Women’s Champions, “The Queen of Diamonds” is poised for a great run on the main roster. Her brand of physicality has not been seen in the women’s division yet. While Rousey has been doing a great job as a former MMA star, Baszler is a breed of her own. Remember the splash that Kevin Owens made during his first main roster appearance by challenging John Cena? Baszler is capable of making waves in the exact same way.
If Baszler were to debut on the main roster and instantly target a current women’s champion, it would be perfectly believable for her to win easily. Baszler may be relatively new to the wrestling game, but she has the skills to be around for a long time. If she were to debut as an absolute surprise, then it would solidify her as a superstar.
12 WWE Champion - Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens’s last stint on the main roster was not the best in his WWE run. A former Universal Champion and coming off of a hot feud with Shane McMahon, his latter half of 2018 was spent in obscurity. Owens has shown he is capable of so much more, so perhaps taking some time off to heal an injury is the perfect thing to remind fans of that.
Owens has went through the majority of the opponents that he can on RAW, including a very long feud with Braun Strowman. With all the main event spots filling up on RAW, it may be time for Owens to transition back to SmackDown. There are openings for him here, and he is poised to jump back in to the main event scene once he is refreshed. It could be the perfect storm for him to return to the top of the card.
11 Universal Champion - Dean Ambrose
When a heel is hot, the best thing that can be done is to put a Championship belt over their shoulder so that it raises the stakes even more. Dean Ambrose is currently the hottest heel on the RAW roster after betraying Seth Rollins. Now imagine if he was able to obtain the Universal Championship?
Ambrose has shown he has the chops to hold top tier titles before, but never on WWE flagship show. If he was given the opportunity while the crowd despises his character, there is no telling what he could accomplish. His current feud with Seth Rollins has the opportunity to carry RAW way past WrestleMania, and the Universal Championship can be used to make the feud mean even more.
10 RAW Women’s Champion - Ruby Riott
When it came down to which new female faction would survive between the Riott Squad and Absolution, there was no doubt that The Squad would thrive. Ruby Riott has been great in her role as leader of this pack, and has led her team to be a very strong part of the RAW brand. The Riott Squad has been very successful since their debut, and Ruby deserves a lot of credit for that success.
In order to provide her with new opportunities, Ruby will likely get a shot at leading the Women’s Division. The only heel that has held the RAW Women’s Championship since 2016 has been Alexa Bliss. Introducing a new “bad girl” to take the mantle would be a great refresher for the division. Plus, the involvement of Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan would keep things fresh for a long time.
9 SmackDown Women’s Champion – Kaitlyn
Tournaments like the Mae Young Classic gives fans the opportunity to see what the future of a division looks like. It also gives former stars with the company the chance to return at a different level of competition. While 2017 featured Serena Deeb making a return, 2018 had former Divas Champion Kaitlyn making her return to WWE after four years.
It was no secret that Kaitlyn was one of the crowd's favorite women on the roster during her time with the company, and she likely been very missed since she left. While the landscape of WWE has changed since she was last on the roster, she was able to maintain her popularity. If Kaitlyn and WWE could come to terms on an agreement, there's no doubt she would find herself with a championship in due time.
8 WWE Champion - Andrade "Cien" Almas
WWE is constantly looking for representation in their various television markets in order to maintain an engaged fan base. Wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus were given runs as WWE Champion to assist with appealing to new markets. With no current top Hispanic star in WWE, they are grooming Andrade "Cien" Almas to take this spot.
Almas proved that he could handle steering a division following his reign as NXT Champion. While WWE fans may not be familiar with his work outside of WWE, he has been in the business for over 15 years. His track record has proven that he can perform in big-match situations, so it's only a matter of time before WWE gives him a shot on the main roster.
7 Universal Champion - Seth Rollins
If Dean Ambrose is in line for a Universal Championship run, there is no doubt that Seth Rollins is far behind. They are currently embroiled in a very emotional feud but are involving the Intercontinental Championship. If the ultimate prize was for the top championship on the brand, the stakes would be even higher. These two former Shield brothers are like magnets – they cannot stay far apart for very long.
A feud between two of the best wrestlers on WWE’s roster is a license to print money and can be spread out over several months. By utilizing the Universal Championship properly, it puts these wrestlers in the position to put on star-making performances through Hell in a Cell in 2019.
6 RAW Women’s Champion - Candice LeRae
Following what appears to be the advent of a Women's Tag Team Championship in WWE, some of the women on the main roster will be utilized to build that division. This means that there will some wrestlers from NXT that will get a call up to support as well. Some will be inserted in to the Tag Team ranks, while others will get a chance at singles stardom. If there is one woman ready in NXT to make a splash on the main roster, it's the "World's Cutest Wrestler".
Candice LeRae has proven that she can be the star of a show (just watch her work from Pro Wrestling Guerilla), so when she finally debuts on the main roster it will be a sight to see. She may not look as strong as other women on the roster, but her strength and ability to absorb punishment should not be discounted.
5 SmackDown Women’s - Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville is someone on the roster who is poised for her own big singles run once she finishes up with her current tag team. Her partnership with Mandy Rose is only serving to hold Deville back given all of her potential. WWE management certainly sees potential in Deville as a singles star, as she was given a fair amount of spotlight at events like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania Battle Royal.
Once her partnership with Rose has been dissolved, a new Deville should emerge. And it is this wrestler who will be able to make a big impact once given the opportunity. All it takes is the right time and place, and a new champion is sure to be ready and waiting.
4 WWE Champion - AJ Styles
While "The Face That Runs The Place" has stated that he is looking to wind his WWE schedule down, that doesn't mean he'll lose his status as a main eventer. Following finally joining WWE in 2016, Styles has exceeded expectations and has maintained a consistent spot as one of the top wrestlers for SmackDown Live. Fans had hoped he would be utilized well in WWE, and he has had a great career so far.
With two reigns as WWE Champion already under his belt, Styles has solidified his place at the top of the roster. To think that he will not become WWE Champion again during his career is being blind to how impressive of a wrestler he is.
3 Universal Champion - Adam Cole
As WrestleMania season draws closer, it also means that the most unpredictable night of the year is upon us. The night after WrestleMania serves as a roster refresh, and many new faces are poised to be brought up from NXT on to the main roster. Among them - who if they do not get called up this year will be shortly afterwards - is Adam Cole (Bay-Bay). For those that followed Adam Cole's career in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, that know that he is certainly capable of holding a promotion's top Championship.
Adam Cole's charisma combined with his in-ring abilities make fans compare him to the second coming of Shawn Michaels, which is praise enough to earn him a run with the Universal Championship.
2 RAW Women’s Champion - Alicia Fox
If you believe hard work and dependability should be rewarded, then you will understand why Alicia Fox is poised for a run as Women's Champion. 2018 marked Alicia Fox's 10-year anniversary on the main roster, and she has had a big journey to get where she is. Without any prior wrestling experience before joining WWE Developmental, she had a long road ahead of her. In fact, her rookie years in WWE were marked with poor matches and a forgettable reign as Divas Champion in 2010.
Since then, Fox has improved in the ring and as a character. She finally hit her stride as an unpredictable character, and has stepped up for WWE when they needed her most. She is a solider in the women's division and has always done what WWE has asked. WWE appreciates loyalty, which will likely equate to another run at the top of the division for Alicia Fox.
1 SmackDown Women’s Champion - Alexa Bliss
WWE has spent far too much time investing in Little Miss Bliss to not give her another run at the top of the Women's division. With her short time in WWE amounting to 500-plus days as both RAW and Smackdown Women's Champion, she has been a cornerstone of WWE. Without Alexa Bliss on top for the past three years, the Women's division would have been an extremely different place.
Considering that concussions kept her sidelined for an extended period, it provided her a well-needed break from being champion. Perhaps this break is a blessing in disguise so that fans realize how important she is. By the time she is ready to return, fans will be clamoring for her to become champion again.