by Daniel Johnson
WWE Money in the Bank (2014) is just about 24 hours away and fans have been guaranteed a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In fact, anticipation for this match has been so great that even with much of the rest of the card cloaked in mystery until late into the event’s buildup, TD Garden still sold a tremendous amount of tickets. With eight participants (John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, Kane and Sheamus) the outcome of this match has the potential to lead anywhere from a great summer storyline to something atrocious. At a stretch fans could experience something not unlike CM Punk’s 2011 summer while on the other hand they could just as likely get something atrocious like the mishandling of Daniel Bryan throughout 2013 going into 2014. Furthermore, variables like Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar, respectively, returning add into the reigns of each of these prospective WWE World Heavyweight Champions.
This list is not a reflection of how well each man would be as champion overall, but in the current WWE climate how well their reigns could realistically be. So in attempting to consider an endless amount of possibilities let’s rank the 8 potential new WWE World Heavyweight Champions!
8. Alberto Del Rio
If having the it factor is a tangible quality in professional wrestling than Alberto Del Rio is minus one Bobby Roode. Perhaps not the biggest reason, but certainly a part of why the World Heavyweight Championship is no longer a standalone title is how disastrous Del Rio’s reigns as champion were. As a matter of fact in 2013 Del Rio had some of the worst reigns not just limited to that title, but in all of WWE. On the positive side Del Rio is a capable hand inside of the ring and contrary to arguments that have been made forever he can get some heat. Yet, if Lesnar and Bryan return to be among the challengers either man could have better matches with at least a few other participants in this match. Likewise, in the unlikely event that neither Lesnar or Bryan faces the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion then just pick a random combination of two men in this match. Cesaro/Cena, Kane/Sheamus, Wyatt/Reigns, chances are any of those would be more entertaining than a feud involving Del Rio.
For some reason despite being way passed his prime Kane keeps getting put in main events. Despite being a perennial contender for championships in WWE the last time he actually won the top prize in the company the poster for the pay-per-view looked like this. Of course the argument can be made that Kane deserves a thank you reign on top, but having him destroy opponents for months on end as the World Heavyweight Champion in 2010 should be thanks enough. The only good that could come of a Kane reign at this point is if he was really built up as a beast/monster/demon until WWE SummerSlam (2014) and then torn apart by Brock Lesnar. His feud with Bryan is way, way too played out at this point and Lesnar is the only one with enough shine on him capable of polishing the turd that is Kane in 2014’s main event scene.
6. Roman Reigns
Up to this point with a few possible exceptions Roman Reigns has been a textbook example of the right way for WWE to buildup it’s homegrown talent. The Shield’s dominance for about two years not only created matches that will live on forever (many of which are worth watching again and again), but setup three wrestlers who with a little more work could be main eventers. At this point I’ll emphasize “with a little more work.” Outside of multi-man matches, Reigns is untested as a main eventer. Unlike Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins he doesn’t have the experience of working main event singles matches even on the indie level. There are workers like Bryan, Punk (if he ever returns) and heck even Cena who could get great matches out of him. Perhaps he could even have a great match with Brock Lesnar. Perhaps that match could also be a train wreck. Reigns has been booked too well to be hotshotted prematurely into the main event scene like Ryback was in 2012. It would serve Reigns more in the long run for WWE to wait on him. Maybe someday he’ll even be the ring general pulling great matches out of less established hosses.
5. Randy Orton
It honestly pains me to rank Randy Orton even this high. Orton held the WWE Championship for 161 days in 2013/2014, but it felt like an eternity. This year will mark 10 years since he won his first World Heavyweight Championship at WWE SummerSlam (2004). The WWE has obviously invested a ton of time into him and he seems out of place when he’s not hovering around the main event scene. For this reason he ranks above the likes of Reigns, Kane and Del Rio. Orton can have another relatively pointless reign and lose it quickly without having his reputation damaged too much. Likewise, while Orton is still far from the most thrilling man to watch out of the wrestlers in this match, he’s a bit more an exciting main eventing than Kane or Del Rio.
4. Bray Wyatt
Unlike Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt has already had some decent singles matches on big stages. He started the year out strong in a match with Daniel Bryan at WWE Royal Rumble (2014). Likewise while his feud with John Cena didn’t always have the most logical booking the matches were always at least decent. If Bryan comes back relatively soon he has a built-in feud with Wyatt just waiting for him based on their history. A Lesnar/Wyatt program makes a lot less sense given that neither one are the most natural faces, but perhaps Lesnar can chew on someone else before wrestling whoever would beat Wyatt for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Given Wyatt’s lack of logical opponents he would probably only work as a transitional champion at this point. After all his feud with Cena is a little played out, Bryan may not be back soon enough to challenge him, Reigns/Wyatt may not work as a singles match and Wyatt/Sheamus just doesn’t seem that interesting. At any rate the promos Wyatt could cut as champion would most likely be amazing for any fan of The Wyatt Family.
Cesaro like Reigns is another performer in this match who if he gets the WWE World Heavyweight Championship it may seem at least a little too soon. However, Daniel Bryan for as much of a reaction as he gets from fans had an unspectacular first reign as WWE Champion (or non-reign). The argument could be made that Bryan still hasn’t had a worthwhile run. With Cesaro, rather than being concerned about him having an unspectacular first reign, I am more concerned that Cesaro in 2014 could turn into Christian in 2005. For newer fans who may be unaware in 2005 Christian was getting bigger pops than Cena even though he was positioned as the heel. This was even before the Cena hate was in full swing. Yet, Christian never had a proper run with the WWE’s top prize. Although unlikely the same could happen to Cesaro. Why risk it though? Cesaro has the potential to have a fun little first reign and if Bryan, Lesnar or whoever beats him after a couple of months he has been built up enough at this point that he could realistically bounce back.
The worst thing that would come from Sheamus winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is that it would take attention away from a title he already holds, the WWE United States Heavyweight Championship. This is fairly important as after the midcard belts had terribly booked reigns with the likes of Dean Ambrose and Big E Langston as champions (neither man really being at fault for them), it is nothing short of incredible how much prestige they’ve been given recently. Other than this drawback, Sheamus has been booked credibly enough to where he can hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with either a short or long reign (though short is absolutely preferable). Plus, another positive that may be overlooked is that Sheamus/Lesnar would be a fresh matchup (Sheamus/Bryan not so much). While Sheamus/Lesnar would be a battle of the hosses it could still be entertaining if it is kept short enough. Aside from that Sheamus could have some decent to great singles matches with some other competitors in this match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
1. John Cena
Yes, I know, I know. Some people still view John Cena as the devil. However, John Cena is also Teflon. The guy can be booked with a short or long title reign and no matter what fans can at least accept it. Not to mention after WWE Extreme Rules (2012) and WWE SummerSlam (2013) some fans no doubt have their mouths watering in anticipation of the Cena/Lesnar and Cena/Bryan matches. Outside of the more exciting matches Cena even had a fairly good championship match with Alberto Del Rio less than a year ago. If Cena can make the lowest ranked man on this list at least somewhat exciting than the potential for the Cena/Lesnar and Cena/Bryan sequels knows no bounds.
Photos 1, 3, 5, 7-9: en.wikipedia.org
Photos 2, 4, 6: Daniel Johnson / Johnsontranscript.com
Categories: Wrestling Lists