At a Crossroads: The World Heavyweight Championship

Justin EricksonContributor IOctober 10, 2009

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15:  Batista stands in the ring during WWE Smackdown at Acer Arena on June 15, 2008 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)

As the WWE Universe found out this past Friday, The Undertaker will defend the World Heavyweight Championship at Bragging Rights in a Fatal Four Way match against CM Punk, Batista, and Rey Mysterio.

Much like the WWE Championship match with Orton and Cena, this leaves us with a lot of guesswork as to what the WWE plans to do with the title in the near and somewhat distant future.

In the case of Orton v Cena, we not only get to wonder (yet again) who will walk away with the title, but what will happen to Cena in the case of a loss, thanks to the stipulation that if Cena loses this match, he must leave RAW.

The World Heavyweight Championship match leaves us with four possible outcomes. Some are likely, some are not. Some give us a little bit of insight as to what they WWE plans to do long-term, some do not.

I would like to briefly go through these four possible outcomes, and look at what they could each mean to Smackdown, and to individual superstars.

First of all, The Undertaker could retain his title in this Fatal Four Way match. I find this outcome to be somewhat unlikely. We all know why Punk was forced to drop the title at Hell in a Cell, and I don't think WWE plans to have 'Taker hold on to the title for any significant period of time.

The Undertaker's health is not what we would call excellent as of late, and because of that, he doesn't work house shows for Smackdown. This would mean that the WWE letting him hold on to the title would somewhat diminish their house shows.

Of course, I could be wrong, and Undertaker could retain the championship. What would happen in this case? I think it would be safe to say that the Undertaker/Punk feud would end, and Batista would most likely move in as the No. 1 Contender for the title.

They could work this out by having Batista, Rey, and Punk in a Triple Threat match to determine the No. 1 Contender for Survivor series, or something simple like that. I don't think they would have moved Batista to Smackdown as a key babyface if they didn't plan on giving him the title.

Now, Batista could simply take the belt off of The Undertaker at Bragging Rights. I think that this is one of the more likely scenarios that could happen at the Pay Per View.

What would happen, though, if Batista were to take the title? In this case, it would be possible for Punk to step back into the picture and contend for the championship

("You and your steroids! I'll show you, and all of these other ignorant morons that you don't need the help of any kind of drug to become champion...")

I think it is unlikely that Undertaker or Mysterio would continue to contend for the title if The Animal were to win it. A babyface/babyface feud over a title wouldn't work in my mind with any of these particular superstars.

Now, Rey Mysterio winning the title at Bragging Rights is just something I do not see happening. But lets pretend for a minute that it did. What would the WWE do?

Would they use this opportunity to bring Drew McIntyre right up to the main event stage? I think not... This could be another way for Punk to get back into the title picture, but I just feel weird thinking of a Mysterio/Punk title feud.

Maybe it's just me...if they do plan on having Mysterio win the title, they'd better have something good up their sleeve to follow it up.

So, finally, we come to the option of CM Punk winning his title back after his loss at Hell in a Cell. This, in my opinion, is the most likely situation that can come from this Fatal Four Way Match, and I think many agree with me.

One thing I find a little odd about this match-up is that it is a face/face/face/heel booking, which sort of makes it seem obvious as to how it will turn out.

This outcome also seems likely to me because with the heel winning the title, it leaves Smackdown with more babyface contenders for the future.

In this case, I think it would be setting Punk up with a feud against Batista, with Batista eventually winning the title somewhere around WWE's Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Pay Per View.

Naturally, there are other things to keep in mind when trying to predict WWE's long term plans.

For example, will the WWE keep Batista and Mysterio in the tag team division for a little while? If you have read some of my other articles, you will know that my answer is yes. I also think that The Undertaker will go back to putting over younger superstars instead of contending for the title.

Are there any other superstars that we may see contending for the World Heavyweight Championship any time soon?

Yes. I don't think a Punk/Morrison feud is too hard to imagine at this point, especially if it were to begin around the TLC or Royal Rumble Pay Per Views.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see Kane or Matt Hardy come back to the main event stage in the near future.

The World Heavyweight Championship is definitely at a crossroads right now. WWE can do just about anything they want to with it at this time.

So, please leave your thoughts. Some questions I would like to ask you: What do you see happening short and/or long term with the World Heavyweight Championship? What do you think is the WWE's smartest move with all of the options they have?

Thanks for reading! Once again, I would love to hear your feedback!