Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan [Universal Championship]
According to the leaked results of the Christmas SmackDown episode, Roman Reigns retained the Universal Championship against Kevin Owens inside a Steel Cage while Daniel Bryan defeated Jey Uso in a grudge match. Ever since Jey Uso ‘injured’ Daniel Bryan in storyline, Bryan has made it an oath to defeat Jey Uso decisively beyond a small package to get his redemption before battling Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.
Now that he has that decisive victory, he has the momentum to battle for the title. Clearly, these two superstars will have an impeccable feud, but Reigns will inevitably retain the Universal Championship against Bryan, who is merely trying to put the SmackDown stars over as much as possible. If Big E is not Roman’s opponent at WrestleMania 37, there’s hope that Bryan will win the Rumble or an Elimination Chamber match to have one more shot at Reigns for Mania.
There has been a proclivity to book Reigns against his challengers twice ever since he won the Universal Championship in August. Reigns defeated Jey Uso twice at Clash of Champions and Hell in a Cell to solidify his status as the Tribal Chief at the head of the table against his bloodline. Reigns defeated Kevin Owens twice at TLC and the Christmas SmackDown episode to solidify his Universal Championship reign against a former Universal Champion.
The same must be done against Daniel Bryan to solidify his spot as the ultimate WrestleMania main eventer against a fellow WrestleMania main eventer who made history seven years ago at Mania 30 before Reigns could even touch the WrestleMania main event. As the top heel, Reigns needs to topple a top babyface, and Bryan fits the bill. Bryan has been a popular babyface for a very long time and is probably only one of a few who can put Reigns over as a megastar.
While Goldberg also makes sense as a challenger to Reigns since he did not get the opportunity to face him at last year’s WrestleMania, he never main evented WrestleMania and is not a fan favorite, like Bryan, to be in that spot. Quite frankly, he could hurt Reigns’ momentum as a heel since so many fans would boo Goldberg, instead of Reigns, due to his burial of so many superstars, especially Bray Wyatt, upon his return.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Sheamus [WWE Championship]
Drew McIntyre retained the WWE Championship against AJ Styles in their scheduled WWE Championship match at TLC. However, there was interference by The Miz, who cashed in his MITB contract during the TLC match to make it a triple threat match but failed due to clutch hindrances from Omos. While it would make sense for Styles to get a rematch for the WWE Championship against McIntyre since he did not get his one-on-one match entirely, MITB is part of the game.
Styles would have to deal with this and move on to other feuds. This cash-in was more of a way to protect Styles in defeat since he needs to look strong to elevate Omos while continuing to book Miz like a clown ever since he was absent from WrestleMania 36. Although that sounds too petty of a reason for Miz to lose week after week, there are not many other reasons for why a former WWE Champion and grand slam champion is being buried to this extent.
Miz has been bereft of any momentum for the past eight months. It was clear from the start that the MITB Briefcase was taken away from Otis and given to Miz because the WWE did not want Otis to look weak in a failed MITB cash-in even though losing the briefcase in the first place is ten times worse. Just ask Mr. Kennedy from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Anyways, now that The Miz is no longer a factor in these title matches as Mr. MITB, McIntyre can now focus on his next opponent.
His opponent will be Sheamus. During the Christmas Holiday Street Fight on WWE Raw this past week, McIntyre and Sheamus had another argument after weeks of teasing their friendship and inevitable dissension. Sheamus has absolutely no chance of dethroning Drew McIntyre at the Rumble, but it should be a hard-hitting slugfest because Sheamus has been reminding everyone why he was a former WWE Champion with some show-stealing matches as of late.
A victory over a former WWE Champion and Royal Rumble winner would do wonders for Drew McIntyre’s title reign as he kickstarts another momentous road to WrestleMania. During his long title reign, McIntyre had defeated many former world champions, including Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, and more recently AJ Styles and The Miz. Sheamus is next on the bucket list and this victory will be even more meaningful since it’s against his best friend.
Prediction: Drew McIntyre