5 Best Feuds for Roman Reigns After WWE Survivor Series 2020
Roman Reigns has been a revelation for SmackDown since he returned to WWE at SummerSlam and put the entire roster on notice.
It’s still hard to believe the company finally turned The Big Dog into a heel. It seemed like it would never happen, but it has worked to perfection. Reigns is the most compelling antagonist on WWE programming. His first feud as universal champion with Jey Uso was an excellent showcase of nuanced storytelling.
If fans weren’t already aware, this is an entirely different Roman Reigns. His presentation and aura are so dissimilar in comparison to the hero sporting tactical gear the WWE Universe was used to previously.
This new no-nonsense persona is vicious, calculating, self-centered and brash. More to the point, he's wildly entertaining and unpredictable, and viewers can't ask for much more in a villainous champion who welcomes all challengers.
That, of course, begs the question: Who will be next to challenge for the Universal Championship?
Up to this point, Reigns hasn't had a conventional rivalry because his lineage and family structure became the centerpiece of his work with his cousin, Uso. His next challenger will more likely fit the mold of a traditional wrestling narrative such as his matchup with Drew McIntyre at Survivor Series.
Let's take a look at five of the best options for Reigns' next rival.
The first entry on this list is a bit of a long shot because Aleister Black hasn't appeared on television since his loss to Kevin Owens on the Oct. 12 episode of Raw. Nevertheless, he would make a great contender for the universal title.
The Dutch Destroyer is a phenomenal performer and has such a distinct look, entrance, and move set.
During his time on NXT, he seemed destined to be a future WWE champion because he had the same firm grasp of theatrics that makes The Undertaker special. Moreover, he has the type of in-ring style that makes him a believable threat to any opponent.
So, it's disappointing WWE hasn't found an effective way to utilize Black since he left the black-and-gold brand. However, he doesn't have a bad win/loss record, so a few well-placed victories could put him in the hunt for a world title.
A match with Reigns would be a dream match of sorts because they have never faced each other in a WWE ring. With that in mind, this is a confrontation that must happen at some point.
Additionally, a win over someone as gritty as the Dutchman would add more credibility to The Tribal Chief's reign and remind viewers why the former NXT champion is someone to keep an eye on.
Murphy is positioned as a babyface after turning on his onscreen mentor, Seth Rollins. Despite the bizarre romance angle with Aalyah Mysterio, the former cruiserweight champion has the potential to be an interesting protagonist on SmackDown.
His rivalry with Rollins was a bit of a mixed bag, but he still secured a big win over The Messiah last week. A victory over such a highly regarded Superstar should signal a new direction for the Australian.
It may seem too soon to thrust him into the main event, but he has performed well on the big stage when given a chance with Rollins. SmackDown also doesn't have that many faces who have been consistently appearing on television as Murphy. He should be a priority for WWE after such a high-profile storyline.
Furthermore, Murphy has already worked with Reigns, and they had exceptional chemistry together in the ring. The two produced a fantastic contest on the Aug. 13, 2019 episode of SmackDown.
A proper pay-per-view bout could give them a chance to deliver an even better match.
For Reigns to continue to grow as the top adversary on the blue brand, he needs to go up against stars who fans want to root for. With that in mind, there aren't many better options at the moment than Kevin Owens.
KO is currently one of the best babyface characters on WWE programming. The 36-year-old has been a tremendous heel previously, but he has also proved to be likable and relatable as a good guy.
More to the point, Owens cuts engaging and memorable promos, and he's an amazing in-ring worker. Recently, he has displayed similarities to a certain Texas Rattlesnake—and even started using the Stunner as his finisher.
It would be fairly simple to build up this match in time for TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 20.
After his encounter with Jey Uso on the Nov. 6 episode of SmackDown, The Prizefighter will eventually come looking for revenge and that will put him on a collision course with The Tribal Chief.
Big E is more of a long-term project for WWE than some of the other entries in our list, but he would make a perfect foil for Reigns.
He is the direct opposite of the universal champion character-wise and acted as an onscreen locker room leader in his absence.
One could make a strong case that part of the reason Team SmackDown got swept in the men's traditional five-on-five elimination match this year was that the blue brand lacked leadership. Seth Rollins, the brand's self-appointed savior, abandoned his teammates during the match and they then fell to Team Raw.
Big E was notably missing from the men's team and his absence was felt. He is the only member of The New Day remaining on SmackDown and seems poised for a run as a singles competitor. That means he has to step and become the voice of reason again as he did when Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were injured.
At this rate, Big E has to be a favorite to become the 2021 men's Royal Rumble winner. The career accolade would set the table for a marquee match against Reigns for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 37.
Daniel Bryan and Reigns have a long and illustrious history together. As such, their inevitable feud for the Universal Championship seems like a no-brainer.
They have met in the ring on several occasions but that's not what makes their relationship so intriguing. Their names became linked for years because a section of WWE fans' adoration for The Planet's Champion caused them to resent The Big Dog.
In their eyes, Reigns was the company's hand-picked guy and Bryan was the indie darling, thus the underdog who they wanted to succeed. This dynamic fueled the Yes Movement and tainted The Big Dog's Royal Rumble win in 2015. Even though he had an endorsement from The Rock, the Wells Fargo Center crowd rejected him.
That event shaped Reigns' career for the following years. In fact, he's only now finally starting to shake off the stigma of being WWE's appointed top guy.
Considering their polarizing effect on the fans and their implicit connection, their next match should take place at Royal Rumble in January six years after the audience showered Reigns in jeers after his win.
This story writes itself as this is his chance to vanquish the demons of that night and prove he is worthy of his position with WWE. Reigns' new character would thrive in this matchup, and one imagines he has plenty of frustrations and material to work with.