WWE Survivor Series is in the books, and now that it's over, the status quo of the company has remained largely unchanged. Both John Cena and Randy Orton retained their respective championships, and once again, Ryback came up short on the pay-per-view stage.
Though that may sound harsh, the point is that Survivor Series seemed to happen merely to just keep the WWE machine rolling along without any new headway being made for any Superstar. The only exception to this is Roman Reigns of The Shield, who was the last man standing in the traditional elimination tag team match. But more on that later.
Now, fans have TLC on December 15 to look forward to. This event is the last one of the calendar year for Vince McMahon's company, and expectations from the WWE faithful are likely to be high, as always. But which Superstars who won at Survivor Series can continue their momentum going into the final pay-per-view of 2013?
Mark Henry made his return to Survivor Series, getting the win over the aforementioned Ryback. This was Henry's first match back since August, after taking some time off from the company. And now that he's back again, I for one believe that he could be in for a good run.
Henry is one of those guys who seems to always find a way to surprise. Even though he is not a young man anymore, the fact is that he is still more than capable of putting on a good match and be very entertaining in the process.
His "retirement" promo back on June 17 was a moment that many fans will likely never forget. Henry announced that he would be hanging up the boots after a 17-year WWE career. Fans in the crowd were very appreciative of Mark and what he had accomplished, and for a moment, it seemed that Mark would proudly be leaving the company to a standing ovation.
But when he shockingly grabbed John Cena and delivered the World's Strongest Slam, fans were reminded once again of just how good Mark was at being in the moment. He knew how hated his character was and he said all the right things to get the fans on his side. Though he may not have been recognized for his mic work before that, he definitely was after that.
We have seen Big Show get an unexpected main event run, and I believe that could be the thought behind giving Mark Henry a new direction in WWE. Just like Show, Henry is a sentimental favorite. He is a veteran star who is a link to the past but yet is still relevant today.
Mark's path in WWE is unclear right now, but I see a win for him at TLC. I think that whomever he faces will be standing in the path of a very motivated, very intense World's Strongest Man. And that man could be heading in a great direction in WWE.
Big E Langston
When Big E Langston recently defeated Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship, the win may have been a bit surprising for some fans. After all, Langston had not really done all that much since his split from Dolph Ziggler or even after his face turn against Ryback and Curtis Axel.
But for me, there did seem to be something about Langston that stood out from the crowd. Perhaps it is his size, as he does have a tremendous physique. Or it could be his athletic intensity, as he is deceptively quick on his feet for a big man in WWE.
Despite what it may have been, it seems that WWE perhaps sees it as well. Now that Langston is Intercontinental champion and has defeated Axel in his rematch at Survivor Series, I think that we could be seeing a Superstar on his way up.
The secondary titles at one time were a very big deal in WWE. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and Triple H are just a few of the names who used the Intercontinental title as a stepping stone to bigger and better things in the company. That notion may have been rendered invalid in recent years, as guys like Santino Marella have basically just held the title as a prop and nothing more.
But that could all be changing now that Big E is the man with the belt. Again, he's got the right build, the right look and the right character to make serious waves in WWE. His second win over Curtis Axel at Survivor Series could lead to another win at TLC, and from there, we could witness the rise of the company's next main event star.
Reigns was the lone survivor as The Shield teamed with The Real Americans against The Usos, The Rhodes Brothers and Rey Mysterio. On the surface, it may appear that this was just another notch on the belt of The Shield. But it could be something much more.
For many fans, this very convincing win by Reigns has gone a long way to proving that the company has made a decision as to which Shield member will get an opportunity to main event first in WWE. And in many ways, Reigns does seem to be the perfect choice.
Much like Big E Langston, Reigns has the right physique and he has a great look. The fact is that Reigns just looks like a top guy, someone who could be trusted to get it done in the ring against anyone WWE could throw at him. Reigns can work, he has all the intensity in the world, and at this point, all he's missing is some charisma on the mic. If that comes along, then he could be on his way.
It's still very early, of course, but the truth is that WWE has been very committed to The Shield since its debut last year, and it's hard for me to believe that was not done with some deeper meaning behind it.
The Shield gimmick is very likely what many fans felt it was in 2012: a way to get Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose onto the main roster and build their characters at the same time for future main event spots. And we could be seeing that right now with Reigns.
I think that this will cause friction among The Shield and that we could see Reigns once again emerge victorious at TLC in a tag team or six-man tag match. And if he does get the final pin, then that will only add more fuel to the fire for Dean and Seth, who may feel that Roman is stepping in front of the group.
Survivor Series may be the first step to the future solo career of Roman Reigns. TLC could be the second step. It will be very interesting to see what happens next.