WWE: Damian Priest can and should be the one to end the dominant run of Roman Reigns

Damian Priest, WWE (photo courtesy of WWE)
Damian Priest, WWE (photo courtesy of WWE) /

For almost 400 days, Roman Reigns has run rampant on the entire SmackDown roster as Universal champion, setting back every challenge put in front of him.

John Cena, Edge, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Braun Strowman, and Finn Balor, among others, have all acknowledged The Tribal Chief at one point or another over the last year. Even with his match against Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel looming large, there doesn’t seem to be anyone person in particular that is being groomed to eventually unseat him as champ.

As remarkable as this Roman Reigns run has been, that’s the one issue with it: WWE doesn’t appear to have anyone in mind to take the title from him when the time is right. Many Superstars have been sacrificed to his reign of dominance, but there aren’t many people quietly being built up in the background.

Even if this isn’t the current plan, Damian Priest makes more sense than anybody to be that person who ultimately hands Reigns his first pinfall loss since December 2019 and becomes the new Universal champion.

For all of WWE’s creative faults at the moment, they’ve actually done an exceptional job of protecting Priest since his arrival on the main roster at the onset of 2021. He was made to look strong in his Royal Rumble debut, got a great rub from teaming with Bad Bunny at WrestleMania 37, won the United States Championship at SummerSlam, and has since scored wins over Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, and Jeff Hardy.

The company clearly sees big things in his future and rightfully so. Even at the age of 39, Priest has a lot left to offer as a world championship-caliber competitor and has the potential to thrive at the main event level if given the opportunity.

The Draft will see several Superstars switch shows and Priest should be among them. His Raw run has far exceeded expectations, but if WWE is looking for someone to serve as a believable foil to Reigns heading into WrestleMania 38, The Archer of Infamy can easily be that guy.

His status as United States champion shouldn’t prevent him from getting drafted to SmackDown. It’s been established in the past that titleholders can move brands and bring their belts with them, so it’s entirely plausible for him to swap shows with Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura.

It wouldn’t be immediate, of course, but preparing Priest for a championship clash with Reigns down the road could be WrestleMania-worthy if done right. WWE has nailed his singles ascent so far and giving him a few more high-profile victories would establish him as a main event player.

Additional character development should also be considered a priority. His matches have consistently delivered and he’s been given an ample amount of mic time, so if he can continue to connect with the crowd, there’s no reason to think he can’t at some point be a viable threat to The Head of the Table.

At this point in Reigns’ run as Universal champion, WWE has to start thinking about who could potentially end it. Reigns is already confirmed to face Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel next month, and seeing as how little Lesnar would benefit from beating Reigns (for a fourth time, mind you), him being the one to do the deed would be the wrong call.

The Rock is rumored for a match with Reigns at WrestleMania 38, but whether that will actually come to fruition or not due to The Great One’s busy schedule in Hollywood remains to be seen. Even if it does, Rock wouldn’t be a wise choice, either, especially since he’d likely lose the belt right back to Reigns.

From the active roster, there aren’t many choices that Reigns hasn’t already defeated. Men’s Money in the Bank winner Big E would have been ideal had he not gone to Raw and cashed in his contract on Bobby Lashley, leaving Priest as the next best candidate.

Priest checks all the boxes necessary to be a headliner in WWE and would become a megastar from the boost he’d get from conquering the unstoppable Reigns.

As far as where WWE could pull the trigger on Reigns vs. Priest, WrestleMania would be the perfect place for the blockbuster bout to happen.

Priest should reign as U.S. champion for a little longer and lose it right before the Royal Rumble, which can win and use to elevate him to that next level. Priest may not be the name that Rock, Edge, and Cena are, but new names like Priest can’t be created unless the effort is put into having them beating an existing one.

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Again, everything would need to align in order for this to work, but if executed the right way, Priest could be on track to dethrone Reigns as Universal champion and become the new face of Friday nights.