In my previous post I ran through some scenarios for how the WWE could go about dealing with Seth Rollins injury and subsequent time out. I didn’t pick which one I thought was ultimately the best choice. Well, I think the two best options are the other guys in this picture with Seth:
Yeah that’s right, Dean and Roman. And by the title of this piece it’s pretty clear which one of the two I think should be crowned the winner of the tournament that’s going to take place at Survivor Series. I’m going with Roman.
Now I do think Dean Ambrose winning would be fine. Dean gets great reactions whenever he appears and clearly has the fan support to carry on as champion for at least the short term. He had some great one on one matches with Seth earlier this year so we know he can do the necessary work of a WWE Champion in the ring as well. So why Roman instead? Mainly because they have to take a shot with him sooner or later, and the ship will be sailing soon. Continuing to book him as the champion in waiting doesn’t really help much unless deep down inside they think he’s Lex Luger and not Sting. And if that’s the case they should just drop it altogether.
The analogy is almost perfect: way back in 1988 Sting and Luger were both poised to be the man to take the mantle as King of WCW (still called the NWA at the time) from Ric Flair one day. Both got the a crack at it but Luger never won the title from Flair while Sting did (he did get a short run with it after Flair was fired but lost it to Sting) and then went on to the WWE where he met the same fate and became the almost next champ before the company opted to go with Bret Hart. Like Sting did in his memorable Clash of the Champions 45 minute draw with Flair, Dean had two great matches with champion Rollins on big shows earlier this year. And like Luger Roman has been in some great matches but there are still people who feel he isn’t up to the task of having good matches with all comers.
So what’s the difference between the two situations? Well for one Roman is better in the ring than Lex Luger was. There was a huge dropoff between Luger’s matches with Ric Flair and his matches with people who weren’t as good. That’s when Lex got exposed. Roman on the other hand had a much better match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania than anyone expected, and he’s held up his end of good matches with Bray Wyatt and even Big Show. Roman is never going to be a 35 minute match guy but there’s no reason he can’t give you good 15 to 20 minute title matches once a month. The other thing is that I think you can put Dean as the number two face and make money with him feuding with guys outside of title situations because of his superior mic skills. In an ideal world you have more than one guy you can parlay into money angles, and I think that’s the best way to do it. And you can always give Dean the occasional title match and title reign over the next several years. Putting the belt on Roman now doesn’t mean Dean is shut out for good; this is 2015 not 1965.
The guys at the top level of the company want to put the belt on Roman; they’ve been wanting to since last year. Rollins being out and the place we are on the calendar make this a prime opportunity to try it out. December is when the company basically mails it in and plays out the string until the Road to WrestleMania, so why not try something new? If Roman flops it’s during the least important part of the year anyway and if he does well you can build momentum into WrestleMania and really send him into the stratosphere. Now there are always going to be people who don’t want him as champ and will boo him. At this point I think that group has topped out so you might as well ignore them and keep it moving. That group tends to marginalize themselves as their reasoning gets subjected to scrutiny and if the guy they hate draws money and sells merch then they don’t matter. John Cena’s career is testament to that; the boo birds ultimately didn’t drag down his T-shirt sales and what not.
So now’s the time to give the big man a shot. Put the belt on him, book him right, and see what happens.