Happy Friday TJR Faithful. Other than the fact that it is Friday, I’m not sure how happy most of us WWE fans can be. News broke yesterday that Seth Rollins will be out of action due to a severe knee injury and will be vacating the title. This news is obviously distressing on many fronts. Not only is Seth Rollins the WWE’s ace right now, always able to deliver quality work wherever and whenever he’s plugged in, but the WWE is missing some of it’s most popular talent at the moment. Cena is away for a while, Randy Orton was recently injured, Daniel Bryan is still out of action, and now Seth Rollins is gone for 6-9 Months. Is it time to panic yet?
Call me Mr. Brightside, because other than the fact that Seth is badly hurt (you never want to see an athlete injured while performing), there are a lot of positives to draw from this. Firstly, I’ve haven’t been this excited about WWE in a long time. They’re between a rock and a hard place, with months of storyline having just been scrapped. That feeling that anything could happen is in the air, and hopefully rightfully so.
This is a creative person’s dream. The ability to craft something fun and entertaining while playing with house money essentially. Most people know the situation, and know that this will be a time of experimentation. There are a lot of questions right now and so few answers, fans will be drawn more that ever to watch the WWE course correct on the fly.
Now the idea of the tournament to determine a new WWE Champion at Survivor Series is pretty great (Deadly Games 1998 anyone?). I say copy that format almost exactly: 14 man WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament, with the top two seeds earning a bye. How are seeds determined? Battle Royal obviously. Elimination order determines seeding.
The 14 men I’d include? All other champions are automatically involved, meaning Del Rio, Kevin Owens and a representative of the New Day collective. Roman Reigns is obviously in because he was the #1 Contender before the injury occurred. That’s four. Fill out the remaining 10 spots with qualifying matches on this week’s Raw. The final field and seeding for me would be as follows:
1. Roman Reigns
2. New Day
3. Alberto Del Rio
4. Dean Ambrose
5. Dolph Ziggler
7. Kevin Owens
8. The Miz
9. Bubba Ray Dudley
12. King Barrett
13. Big Show
Key spots in the Battle Royal would be Big Show deciding to leave once everyone has decided to gang up on him, not caring where he’s seeded because he’s a giant, only to screw over Ryback with a sucker punch and elimination before he leaves on his own. Owens would eliminate himself at 8 wanting to face Neville (the smallest guy in the tourney) who was eliminated in the 10 spot. As eliminations occur, the brackets fill on the Tron in the arena, previewing the brackets.
Reigns and New Day get a first round bye and the first round matches are as follows (winners in bold):
3. Alberto vs. 14. Ryback
4. Ambrose vs. 13. Big Show
5. Ziggler vs. 12. Barrett
6. Sheamus vs. 11. Cesaro
7. Kevin Owens vs. 10. Neville
8. The Miz vs. 9. Bubba Ray Dudley
Eventually we’d reach the Final 4, which would be feature Roman Reigns (having faced Kevin Owens earlier that night) vs. Alberto Del Rio (who beat Ryback and Cesaro to get here) and New Day (specifically Big E, Xavier having competed in their first tournament match against Bubba) vs. Dean Ambrose (who needed to go through Big Show and Dolph to get to the Final 4). No it’s not a coincidence that Roman Reigns has to go through two current champions to get to the final. I’m trying to make this as arduous a journey as possible for him, so he can prove his mettle within the narrative.
Now there are three fun finishes possible here. One of them is to have Reigns win in a fashion similar to The Rock, turning heel on his friend Ambrose in the Finals and joining The Authority. It’s the hardest finish to justify logically but it would be a big moment historically if you can make it logically sound. Another good finish would be having Dean turn heel, and cheating to beat Reigns after not being able to put him away and win the match, causing him to snap. No Authority involved, just one friend going to extreme lengths to gain the upper hand on another and capture the WWE Championship.
My favourite possible outcome combines the greatness of both those turns and takes the company in a weirdly exciting direction for a while. New Day wins after Ambrose screws Roman Reigns for not helping him even out the odds against New Day earlier in his match against them. That’s right, New Day as WWE World Heavyweight Champions!
Before you say “No way, what kind of story can you tell with New Day as WWE Champion?” imagine this scene. The next night Raw opens in Nashville, Tennessee . Michael Cole welcomes us and then we are watching the stage where a large gospel choir is congregated. They begin singing “Can You Feel The Brand New Day!” from The Wiz. Finally we get hit with a “ OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH NASHVILLE! Don’t You DARE Be Sour! Clap for your Brand New WWE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD, and FEEEEEEEEL THE POWAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
Their music hits and they come out celebrating with a live gospel choir with the WWE Title and The Tag Team Titles. They enter the ring as confetti and balloons fall from the sky and they dance. This promo would be glorious. They would talk about how they had to fight through adversity beating not 1, not 2, but 3 opponents to capture the title (obviously skipping over the fact that a different member wrestled each bout). They would dedicate their win to their fallen comrade Seth Rollins and invite him to join the New Day when he returns so that he can be WWE Champion again!
They will then talk about their journey; debuting as The New Day, all the negativity that they had to navigate through, and their dream of one day reaching the promised land. Today is that day. Today is the day they reached the promised land and became WWE Champions. Today proves the power of positivity is real and today is a NEW DAY!
Their Championship celebration is reason alone to do this. Not to mention that it sets up for a pretty awesome and unique TLC match in December, featuring The New Day defending their Tag Team Titles and their WWE World Heavyweight Title, in a TLC Ladder Match against The Usos and Roman Reigns. All three belts raised above the ring at the same time, winners take all. Ambrose, who’d have been avoiding Reigns since betraying him, but popping in with weekly messages for his old friend on the Tron, will return and screw Roman again, ensuring that New Day hold the titles going into The Royal Rumble in January.
At the Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns will agree to face The New Day in a 2 out of 3 Falls match, where the New Day get to switch out their members each fall. It is here that Roman will triumph and capture the WWE Championship, winning two falls to New Day’s one, setting up his Wrestlemania match with Dean Ambrose, who will win The Royal Rumble.
Not only do we set up what can be a pretty great WWE Title match for Wrestlemania, but we get a couple months of New Day as WWE Champion and instantly triple the number of African American WWE Champions in a single night. Plus Sheamus isn’t champion at all, which I think is a net positive.
At the end of the day, the biggest thing here is rewarding The New Day for being the most over act in the company. They always get reactions, they’re always entertaining, and if anyone has exceeded expectations and done everything in their power to grab the brass ring, it’s The New Day! Put the title on the most over characters in the company, if just for a little while. Take this sad Rollins situation and flip it into a positive. Let’s have some fun!
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! What are your hopes for the WWE Title Tourney? Who would you like to see get a shot to hold the title in these most dire of circumstances? Do you think the WWE will try something new or hit us with that same old, same old?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas heading out to see Spectre. Have a great weekend everybody!