Roman Reigns' WWE SummerSlam 2017 plans will shape the Match of the Year race.
A trio of marquee matchups represent the best options for The Big Dog at the summer blockbuster event. Reigns could be in line for a major title shot or have a dream match on the docket. Anything short of a showdown that electrifies the SummerSlam card would be a letdown.
Two months ahead of the Aug. 20 pay-per-view, Reigns is set to reveal what's in store for him. The WWE announced on Monday that Reigns will reveal his SummerSlam plans on the June 19 edition of Raw.
While that doesn't clear up what the WWE has in mind for him at Great Balls of Fire on July 9, it will get the SummerSlam hype train whirring early.
When Reigns announces his intentions on the next Raw, the end result must be a big-time match. SummerSlam is second only to WrestleMania on the WWE calendar. And Reigns' position within the company hierarchy dictates that he do something major on that night.
The following is a look at the best possible foils to face him at SummerSlam.
Reigns vs. Lesnar II Comes Early
Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe are set to collide for the Universal Championship at next month's Great Balls of Fire. Reigns should want to be next line for that title. He should be driven and focused on that singular goal.
One of the most logical moves for his SummerSlam announcement would be for him to challenge the winner of Lesnar vs. Joe at the following PPV.
Should Raw's authority figures OK that request, the WWE could have a WrestleMania-level match ready for SummerSlam. Reigns taking on Lesnar once more would be huge. It's a massive rematch between two larger-than-life figures.
Reigns fell just short of dethroning Lesnar at WrestleMania 32.
In the sequel, the WWE would have a built-in narrative to play with. It would be a story of redemption for Reigns. He may have to figure out what to change about himself to get the job done this time.
This route offers the WWE more flexibility for WrestleMania 34, too.
Lesnar vs. Reigns has been the assumed plan for that mega-show. Should the WWE pull the trigger on that in August, it can go any number of new ways for The Showcase of the Immortals. A rising babyface could take down a heel Reigns for the title. Reigns could face The Rock; Lesnar could clash with Finn Balor in a David-versus-Goliath tale.
Balor Blocks The Big Dog
The WWE can plug in two of Raw's biggest names into the SummerSlam card with one move.
Reigns would still demand to face the winner of Joe and Lesnar for the Universal Championship, but Balor would step to cut him off. Balor, the first-ever universal titleholder, has a claim to a title shot having never gotten a one-on-one crack at the gold he had to relinquish due to injury.
This option would leave the door open for Braun Strowman to tangle with Lesnar while Balor and Reigns went at it.
Reigns and Balor's two previous matches compelled. They are a natural fit with each other in the ring.
And a third go-round on a grand stage is a no-brainer.
As Cageside Seats columnist Marc Normandin wrote: "Balor vs. Reigns would be money, especially since it's the rubber match and should determine the winner of this feud and set up the next non-Joe challenger for the Universal Championship."
This path is appealing as well in that it could lead to either man turning heel. Reigns could finally embrace his dark side as he looks to conquer The Demon King. Or Balor can veer off into villainy as he joins forces with his old buddies from Japan, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
Reigns vs. Cena
If the WWE wants SummerSlam to feel massive, Reigns calling out John Cena for a Raw-SmackDown crossover bout is the way to go.
Reigns could look to prove himself against a man who has been on top of the WWE for a decade. Cena would take on the challenge to prove that he's not done ruling the company.
This would be a dream match.
It's more than worthy of a top spot on the SummerSlam. In fact, as Joshua Caudill of Crave Online tweeted, it would befit WrestleMania's grand stage:
This way, the WWE could still elevate Strowman as a contender and possibly a champ. Reigns wouldn't have to push aside The Monster of Men or any new faces in the universal title scene. Instead, he would bring major buzz to SummerSlam with his eyes on an icon.
Reigns vs. Cena would be tremendous entertainment and is one of the more momentous matches left for The Big Dog. It is one of the outcomes a good number of fans will be hoping for when Reigns grabs the mic next Monday.
Anything less than something on the level of Reigns against Lesnar, Balor or Cena will be a letdown.