Roman Reigns losing the United States Championship to Chris Jericho on Monday’s episode of Raw will make a portion of the WWE Universe happy, but dropping the title could be a sign of bigger things to come.
At the 2017 Royal Rumble, Reigns is now poised to beat Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship and head into WrestleMania 33 with the title.
WWE Creative has shown an unwavering support for Reigns, and losing a secondary championship ahead of the Royal Rumble may be enough to throw people off the scent of a possible title change.
Instead of viewing it as Reigns losing the U.S. title, optimists will see it as him taking one step back in order to take two steps forward. For pessimists, the booking Monday has all the earmarks of a Superstar dropping one title in order to win something more important.
Something like the Universal Championship.
A believable storyline for Owens losing to Reigns is already in place with Jericho suspended high above the ring in a shark cage during their title match in San Antonio. There will inevitably be interference—likely Y2J dropping something down to Owens—but Reigns could reverse the attack and beat Owens using his own underhanded tactics against him.
Not only would Owens losing at the Royal Rumble give Reigns the Universal Championship, but it also builds to the inevitable Jericho vs. Owens matchup the WWE Universe is eagerly anticipating. Now instead of the feud being for the Universal Championship, it could be centered on the U.S. title, which would bring prestige back to the belt.
Reigns winning the Universal Championship would also set up perfectly for the winner of the 30-man Battle Royal to challenge him at WrestleMania 33. Whether it’s The Undertaker, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins or any of the other top contenders, Reigns fighting the Royal Rumble winner for the title would be a marquee matchup.
Of all the options for Royal Rumble winners who could challenge Reigns, Rollins is the most interesting from a storyline perspective. As friends, Rollins winning the Royal Rumble and challenging Reigns for the championship would be an interesting dynamic, but the storyline with Triple H still lingers in the background.
In a moment of poetic justice, Reigns could finally embrace the dark side and turn heel at WrestleMania, siding with Triple H and beating Rollins using the help of The Authority.
Regardless of who wins the annual Battle Royal, Reigns' loss on Monday’s episode of Raw leaves the door wide open for him to walk out of the Royal Rumble with the Universal Championship.
After how WWE has protected his character in recent months, it’s hard to bet against him.
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