Predicting Future Feuds for Brock Lesnar After Roman Reigns
After his shocking return at SummerSlam on August 21, Brock Lesnar is set to make another appearance on Friday night's SmackDown at Madison Square Garden.
Paul Heyman's allegiance to Roman Reigns has been called into question as his former client clearly has his sights set on The Head of the Table.
The Beast Incarnate is set for a clash against the universal champion, likely at Crown Jewel on October 21. But what could be in store for Lesnar beyond that?
WWE might not even have much of a plan for what's next, and there's no telling which roster Lesnar could end up on after the next draft, but let's look at the overall scope of Raw and SmackDown and try to predict some future opponents who could lock horns with The Beast over the course of this run.
It's unlikely Lesnar will be a true babyface again, since he works significantly better as a heel. However, opposite Reigns, he defaults to the hero of the story by comparison.
WWE may want to carry over that babyface-esque character into some other feuds, at least temporarily. If so, Sheamus is a perfect opponent for a one-off pay-per-view.
The Celtic Warrior has yet to step inside the ring with Lesnar outside of two house shows in 2016 and 2017. He's not only one of the biggest and most physically imposing wrestlers still left on the roster, but he's also a former multi-time world champion.
After Lesnar comes up short against Reigns, it would make sense to feed him someone he can beat and restore his credibility.
This would be a softball feud in which Sheamus went looking for a fight. Unfortunately, he'd get more than he'd bargained for.
Eventually, the babyface Lesnar experiment would have to reach WrestleMania 38 in a match opposite Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship.
WWE doesn't seem willing to invest much in creating new stars and instead relies on established names to be easy marquees. This would fit that bill and read as a major match that spanned several eras and could bring in crossover fans who know both men from their MMA days.
Lashley has campaigned for this match for years. If WWE can't give it to him while he's booked as the top star of Raw, that might be seen as the company having a lack of faith in The All Mighty.
It's now or never. This needs to take place while Lashley is at his career zenith as WWE champion.
WWE likely has only has a few ideas leading up to WrestleMania 38 at the moment, but hopefully Keith Lee will have reached a level where the company is comfortable giving him a match against Lesnar.
A win over The Beast would boost Lee's career in ways that only winning the Royal Rumble or a world title could. Beating The Limitless One does nothing for Lesnar's already-Hall of Fame career and would only make it even harder for WWE to make another new star out of the former NXT champion.
Lee would also be a fresh opponent for Lesnar, and the crowd reaction on seeing them stand toe-to-toe in the men's Rumble match in 2020 needs to be capitalized on.
If Lesnar is going to pass the torch of "unstoppable juggernaut" to anyone on the current roster, Karrion Kross is probably the best option.
Of course, WWE didn't do the former NXT champion any favors by having him lose his debut match on Raw against Jeff Hardy or by saddling him with his Demolition knockoff ring gear.
However, his lack of momentum doesn't mean he won't eventually reach the point where Kross vs. Lesnar feels like a natural match choice.
Kross needs to establish a greater degree of dominance before this can happen, though, so that fans will be salivating over an epic confrontation.
Riddle has frequently mentioned how he wants to not only face Lesnar in a match but also to retire him.
The Original Bro has rubbed several people the wrong way, but he appears to have buried the hatchet with Goldberg, based on his recent comments to Sony Sports India (h/t Pratyay Ghosh of SportsKeeda).
If those two were able to reach some commonality, there's hope for a reconciliation with Lesnar, too.
Riddle's star is rising in WWE, and his partnership alongside Randy Orton as RK-Bro will undoubtedly lead to bigger things in the future.
Once the inevitable split with The Viper is done, Riddle should be one of the hottest acts in WWE and that might be the time to pull the trigger on a match against Lesnar.
A best-case scenario would be that Lesnar wrestles quite often and WWE already has several names for him to work with until his deal expires.
Here are a few other names who could be in contention.
Damian Priest is rising in the ranks on Raw and could be a main event player over the next year. Since he's one of the tallest on the roster, he'd look fine standing opposite Lesnar.
Baron Corbin fits the height requirement, too. He's deceptively big and would make for a great foil for a potential babyface run Lesnar could have. People would love to see Happy Corbin get taken down a peg by The Beast.
Big E and Cesaro aren't at the main event level yet, but the matches would be fun. Who in the WWE Universe would pass up watching those fights?
Kevin Owens is also a larger athlete and a former world champion, so the math works out for him to be more than a worthwhile opponent. They fought on a house show at Madison Square Garden in March 2017, but it was effectively a squash in favor of Lesnar.
Last, but not least, is WALTER—the behemoth who dominated NXT UK as champion for 870 days. If WWE can convince him to stay in the U.S. for a significant period, that would make for a true clash of titans.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.