After two weeks of squash matches, many were wondering about the long-term viability of Lord Tensai as a monster heel. Those questions were pretty much put to rest Monday on RAW, however, as Tensai was surprisingly given a victory over John Cena in an Extreme Rules match.
He did receive help in the form of interference from his manager Sakamoto as well as David Otunga, but all of that was legal, so you can technically call his win against Cena clean. With such a monumental upset under his belt, it's quite obvious that there are big plans for Lord Tensai, but it remains to be seen how his momentum will carry over.
Most of the top faces are already engaged in feuds, so there may not seem like there is much for Tensai to do on the surface. It is extremely important to keep him looking strong, though, so here are three potential opponents for Lord Tensai at Extreme Rules in a couple weeks.
He obviously isn't anywhere near the level of Cena, but a win over Santino Marella would certainly keep Lord Tensai moving in the right direction. Not only is Marella one of the most overused faces in the company currently, but he is also the United States Champion. There isn't a clear path to the main-event scene for Tensai right now despite his victory over Cena, so it would make a lot of sense to give him the United States Championship so that he can decimate all of the mid-card faces.
Then, when somebody like Cena, CM Punk or Randy Orton becomes available, Tensai can feud with them while still holding the belt. There is no rule that says a wrestler can't compete in big time matches while reigning as a mid-card champion, and doing so would likely bring some prestige back to the United States Championship. Also, holding that title could be great for storyline purposes as Tensai could desecrate it and say that the customs of Japan are superior to those of the United States.
This match would likely only last for around a minute, and it would be very effective in allowing Tensai to maintain his heat as a monster heel.
Make no mistake, The Great Khali is awful, and I'd rather not see him at Extreme Rules, but he does serve a purpose. More sophisticated fans realize that he's an absolute albatross who can hardly move in the ring, but to the novice fan he is a bit of a spectacle. Although he often loses when put up against high-caliber talent, Khali is given enough wins to remain viable, and his sheer size creates the illusion that beating him is an impressive feat.
Because of that, he would be a sensible opponent for Lord Tensai at the upcoming pay-per-view. Obviously it would be preferable to have Tensai face a more legitimate opponent after his win over Cena, but there simply aren't a ton of options. If he faces Khali, though, he would be taking on a bigger opponent and winning in dominant fashion would make him look quite good.
From a storyline perspective, cutting Khali down to size and beating him in 30 seconds or less would give Tensai the appearance of a vicious and unstoppable monster.
I view this as somewhat of a last resort, but a match between Tensai and Brodus Clay would be quite interesting. In a lot of ways, Tensai and Clay mirror each other, currently. While their personalities are quite different, Tensai is currently squashing everyone in his path as a heel, while The Funkasaurus is doing the same as a face. Both have been protected to this point and have yet to lose a match, so there would be a certain degree of novelty to this particular bout.
Tensai would be given the win in all likelihood, but unlike the other proposed matches it probably wouldn't be a squash and there would be some thought that Clay could come out on top. As much as I would like to see this match at some point because it would be a highly-entertaining bout between two skilled big men, I wouldn't be willing to have one of them lose at this point since they both have a lot of momentum.
If there aren't any major plans for Clay, though, then feeding him to Tensai would be a highly effective way to get the new, dominant heel over even more.