World Wrestling Entertainment lost its World Heavyweight Champion for a significant period of time in November 2015 when Seth Rollins suffered a serious knee injury. The injury could keep Rollins out of action up through WrestleMania 32. That is unfortunate for Rollins, as he will now likely miss out on what would be a great payday. He will also now be out of the championship picture during what is the biggest time of the North American pro wrestling calendar. The hope, moving forward, will be that Rollins will be able to return to action as good as he was on the day that he picked up the knee injury.
Injuries are an unavoidable part of sports and of sports entertainment. In competitive sports, franchises that are in leagues such as the National Football League or the National Basketball Association have to install a “next man up” mentality whenever a starter is sidelined because of an injury. That is also the case for the WWE as the 2015 holiday season approaches. There are now several members of the WWE roster who will, per storyline, be given an opportunity to “win” the WWE World Heavyweight Championship via a tournament that will conclude at the annual Survivor Series pay-per-view event.
Some of the performers who may be involved in that tournament have held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during their careers. They could be given another chance to run with the ball heading into what is known as the WrestleMania season. The WWE could, however, choose to use the Rollins injury as a reason to go in a completely different direction. Maybe those running the company will give somebody else the title as a way to mix things up and generate some buzz among diehard wrestling fans and among those who only casually follow the product these days.
10 Samoa Joe
Anyone who has some knowledge about the history of Samoa Joe knows that he does not need to be working on NXT shows at this portion of his career. Odds are that the WWE is not going to go in this direction for multiple reasons, including the fact that Joe has not yet been officially introduced on the main roster. Giving him the belt would be a massive change of direction for the WWE heading into 2016. That is not necessarily a bad thing for a company that is currently without stars such as Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar or John Cena appearing on shows.
We could almost hear the loud groans from diehard WWE fans upon seeing this name on the list. Kane winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in November 2015 is not all that ridiculous. He has, after all, been written to be a main-event character and a foe of Rollins until Rollins picked up his injury. Kane could be a transitional champion until somebody else, perhaps Roman Reigns, won the title at a show such as the Royal Rumble. This is hardly the most exciting idea that could be presented, but it is also one that is not all that unrealistic.
8 The Undertaker
Pro wrestling is a business where things often come full circle. That would be the case for the WWE if The Undertaker was to be awarded the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the 2015 edition of Survivor Series. The Undertaker, as many fans reading this piece know, made his official WWE debut at the 1990 Survivor Series. Putting the strap on him at this year's Survivor Series could serve as the beginning of a final sendoff for a man who has had one of the most successful characters in the history of North American pro wrestling. The Undertaker has undeniably earned that honor.
7 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt has not been booked to be all that strong in the eyes of fans since he made his debut on WWE programming. The company could repair the character by putting the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on him at the Survivor Series following the injury to Rollins. Wyatt has, per storyline, “stolen” the supposed powers that are had by The Undertaker and Demon Kane. What better time would there be for him to become the champion of the company than at the event where The Undertaker first appeared on WWE programming all those years ago?
The storyline practically writes itself. Roman Reigns has been fighting to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship since the 2014 Royal Rumble. He finally, after falling short time and time again, achieves that dream and holds up the championship in front of an adoring audience. Then, with Reigns exhausted following a long tournament, the theme music associated with Sheamus blasts over the speakers. Sheamus cashes in his Money in the Bank privileges and defeats Reigns to steal the moment from the babyface and solidify himself as the top heel in all of the WWE.
5 Dean Ambrose
There are a few different ways that the WWE could put the championship on Dean Ambrose following the Rollins injury. Ambrose could be written to be the new top babyface in the company since Reigns has somewhat fallen flat playing that role. The company could go in the opposite direction and have Ambrose turn heel on Reigns. Ambrose could even align himself with the group “The Authority” as part of a storyline that has him feud with either Reigns or with another babyface. This would be an interesting change of pace for the company this fall.
4 Finn Balor
The man who is currently holding the NXT Championship is ready to be called up to the main WWE roster. What a way to have him do so than to have him be part of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Balor would move a ton of merchandise as the champion who is painted as the “demon” during big matches. He could, on the other hand, be a heel who could eventually feud with a babyface Rollins once Rollins returns from his knee injury. This would be the biggest push that a new character has received from the WWE in many years.
3 Roman Reigns
There are pockets of WWE fans who would admittedly not love this idea. The truth of the matter is that Roman Reigns winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship following Rollins getting injured is what makes the most sense. While we do not have the original script for the Survivor Series in front of us, it was logical at the time that Reigns would have defeated Rollins for the title in the first place. Why go against that plan just because Rollins is no longer available? Push Reigns to the top of the card, WWE, and then rewrite future plans around the new champion.
2 John Cena
The comment that was made by wrestling journalists such as Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer was that John Cena was receiving calls from the WWE as soon as the company learned about the seriousness of the Rollins injury. Cena was, as of the beginning of November, set to have some time off. Things change in the wrestling industry and going back to Cena as the top babyface in the company would make sense as it pertains to business. Admit it, wrestling fans. You can already hear those chants of “Let's go Cena!” and “Cena sucks!” as you imagine the upcoming Survivor Series.
1 Brock Lesnar
Much like with John Cena, Brock Lesnar was supposed to be away from the WWE for some time. One has to imagine, though, that Lesnar's phone was buzzing even before the WWE learned that Rollins would be sidelined because of a serious knee injury. Lesnar is the biggest single draw that the company has these days. Why not put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on him at the start of the biggest portion of the season? Lesnar is the hero that WWE fans need and deserve right now. Rollins returning from an injury and then defeating Lesnar would be a way for the Rollins character to be even more over than he was when he got hurt.
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