WWE Rumors on Roman Reigns' Titles Splitting, Cena vs. Theory, Randy Orton's Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2023

Roman Reigns celebrates after defeating Bill Goldberg during the 2022 WWE Elimination Chamber at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on February 19, 2022. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP) (Photo by AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)
AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

WWE Reportedly Discussing Splitting Up World Titles

Roman Reigns has held both the WWE and Universal Championships for nearly a year, but there reportedly may be plans in place for those titles to be separated again in the near future.

According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of ThirstyForNews.com), WWE has discussed splitting up the world titles this year, perhaps as soon as WrestleMania 39 on April 1 and 2.

Reigns entered WrestleMania 38 as universal champion, and he defeated WWE champion Brock Lesnar in the main event to become the undisputed WWE universal champion.

The Tribal Chief has now held at least one world title for nearly 900 days, and he will put the undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line in two weeks at Royal Rumble when he defends against Kevin Owens.

Two people who have been mentioned most often as potential opponents for Reigns at WrestleMania 39 have been Cody Rhodes and The Rock, and there have been plenty of theories about how to make all of the pieces fit.

If WWE convinces The Rock to work WrestleMania, one school of thought is that Reigns may have to defend each of his world titles separately in the main event of Night 1 and Night 2, respectively.

The other option would be for Reigns to be forced to vacate one of the titles before WrestleMania, resulting in him defending one against The Rock, and Rhodes perhaps facing rival Seth Rollins for the other.

While Reigns has been spectacular as undisputed world champion, there would be some value in separating the titles again, especially since Reigns isn't on television every week at this point in his career.

Putting one of the world titles on someone who will be more present like Rhodes would create a unique dichotomy with one world title being seen regularly and the other being more of a special attraction.

That may be the best option for WWE moving forward, so it comes as little surprise that the company has at least reportedly considered going in that direction.

Cena's Rumored Opponents at WrestleMania

WWE is reportedly planning for legendary 16-time world champion John Cena to compete in a significant match at WrestleMania 39 in April.

According to Meltzer (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), WWE's working plan for Cena at WrestleMania has been for him to face United States champion Austin Theory.

The 25-year-old Theory has often been compared to Cena because of his similar look and star power to Cena in his younger days. It has also long been clear that WWE has big plans for Theory as a future top star.

When Cena appeared on Raw in June to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his WWE main roster debut, he had a backstage run-in with Theory, who made it clear that he wanted surpass everything Cena has accomplished.

This week, Fightful Select (h/t Sunil Joseph of Ringside News) reported that when Cena appeared on the final SmackDown of 2022, WWE had plans to film something involving him and Theory for future use.

It isn't known if that actually happened, but if it did, it could be another strong clue that Cena vs. Theory is on the horizon.

Meltzer (h/t Mukherjee) also reported that there had been talk in November or December of Cena possibly facing Logan Paul at WrestleMania since Paul specifically asked for the match.

Paul only has three career matches to his credit, but he impressed in his clash with Reigns at Crown Jewel in November, and he undoubtedly has the star power worthy of working with Cena.

Based on the groundwork that has already been laid, however, Theory stands out as the ideal opponent for Cena if he does indeed work WrestleMania for the first time in three years.

Reported Severity of Orton's Back Injury

Randy Orton's back injury reportedly may have been career-threatening before he underwent surgery.

According to Meltzer (h/t Nikunj Walia of Ringside News), Orton's "career almost ended" around the time he and Matt Riddle dropped the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Usos in a unification match on the May 20 episode of SmackDown.

Orton has not wrestled since then because of a back ailment that reportedly forced him to undergo a major procedure.

Meltzer (h/t Mukherjee) reported that The Viper underwent fusion surgery on his back in November, perhaps after initially hoping it would heal on its own, to no avail.

The 42-year-old Orton has been on WWE's main roster since 2002, and he has established himself as an all-time great since then.

With 14 career world-title reigns, only Cena and Ric Flair have more, plus Orton has won multiple mid-card and tag team championships during his career.

Prior to undergoing surgery, Orton was enjoying one of the most entertaining runs of his career as one half of RK-Bro alongside Riddle, however, it had to come to an abrupt end.

There is now no telling when or if Orton will be able to return to the ring, especially considering how long he has been an active competitor.

Few Superstars have more credibility than Orton, and there is no question that WWE has far more star power at its disposal when it is able to utilize The Apex Predator.

Orton has nothing left to prove in WWE, but most fans would undoubtedly love to see him go out on his own terms rather than be forced into retirement by an injury.

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