Roman Reigns is the next guy to grab the brass ring in WWE. At least, that's the way it seems, as he is the man booked to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31.
The former Shield strongman has sparked much debate since he climbed the ladder, and now it's just a matter of time until fans know for sure.
And while the debate rages as to whether he deserves it or not, it does appear as though Reigns is the company's chosen one. Too much work has been done to make him look the part, and if he does go over on Lesnar at WrestleMania, he must do so in very convincing fashion.
There is just no other way for this to go down. To imagine that Reigns will barely eke out a win on March 29 seems like an impossible notion in more ways than one.
The company has set him up to be the next big thing, to take the torch of leadership and carry it into the future. It's a sentiment that has not been verbalized in so many words but one that exists nonetheless.
And when fans now look at Reigns, that sentiment has become fact.
It's an accepted thing now, and because of that, many have stopped fighting what seems to be the inevitable and are either going along for the ride or are more miserable than they ever have been. Reigns may indeed be WWE's choice, but he definitely does not seem to be the popular one.
But all of that could change at WrestleMania.
One night, one match could change the perception that Reigns is an undeserving young star who can't handle the main event pressure.
It won't come courtesy of just a pinfall, however. That is just not enough at this point.
Reigns must do more than slay the dragon at WrestleMania; he must take the worst the dragon has to offer and spit fire back in its face.
Reigns must be competitive from the moment the bell rings to the moment the match ends. Getting overwhelmed like John Cena did back at SummerSlam in 2014 will not work here. It must be apparent that Reigns has done his homework on Lesnar, has studied his matches and is both physically and mentally ready for him.
And it must show very early on that Lesnar is in for more than he anticipated.
In the beginning, however, Lesnar must tear into Reigns as he does with any other WWE Superstar.
The crowd should sense that Reigns is in over his head, and the commentary should reflect that as well. But as soon as this begins, it should end.
Reigns should bounce back and defend himself. And from that point on, every time Lesnar goes in for the kill, Reigns should have an answer for him. Fans have been reacting very positively for Lesnar lately, and perhaps the only way to quell that is for Reigns to give as good as he gets.
Reigns is the babyface in this situation, so maybe it's time he starts looking like it.
The feeling during this match must be that fans have underestimated Reigns and his ability to shine on this level. This does not mean that he must dominate Lesnar, of course, but it does mean that he cannot lie on his back for 10 minutes, then somehow jump back up, unaffected, to win the match.
He's not Cena after all. On this night, he must be better than Cena. He's already behind the eight ball due to the negative reactions he's been receiving of late, so he has an uphill battle ahead of him. The only way to win that battle is to be better than anyone ever expected.
And when it's time to take the match home, Reigns should do so in grand fashion.
Near-falls should be in full effect during this match. Lesnar can look as strong as he always has when attempting to put Reigns away, but he should keep coming up short, unable to get the job done.
That means Reigns should not take one F-5; he should take three. And he should kick out every time.
Imagine the look on Paul Heyman's face when Reigns takes all the punishment Lesnar can offer, only to still get his shoulders up at the end. It would be akin to the look of shock Heyman had when Lesnar ended The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania 30.
And the crowd should react accordingly.
If everything goes well, Reigns should win the crowd over by the end. Fans should recognize how good Reigns is and how entertaining the match itself was. WrestleMania 31 can then end with fireworks and the image of Reigns on the second turnbuckle hoisting the WWE World Heavyweight Championship above his head.
But that's a dream scenario for WWE; that does not mean it will actually happen.
Reigns may indeed spend the majority of the match on his back, only to win the belt at the very end. Heyman could shock the world and betray Lesnar, giving Reigns the assist and the title. And if either happens, then the company could likely work with it and make the best of it.
But if Reigns is to remain babyface throughout this match and ultimately go over, then he must look the part. There can be no doubt at the end of this one that WWE made the right move and that Reigns was fully prepared for the win.
Confidence and ability could make all the difference between just winning and winning convincingly. Reigns has a lot to live up to, and those expectations must be realized at WrestleMania for fans to buy in like WWE surely wants them to.