WWE already has WrestleMania plans in place for Roman Reigns and The Bloodline.
According to a report from WrestlingNews.co, Reigns will continue his reignited feud with Kevin Owens with a match at the 2023 Royal Rumble: “WrestlingNews.co is told by WWE sources that the current plan for Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble is for him to defend the WWE Universal Championship against Kevin Owens. At one point, Sheamus was penciled in for that spot but we’re told that it’s KO vs. Reigns.”
The site adds that Reigns will then move onto another marquee bout against his current Bloodline stablemate Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber, writing, “A few weeks back we heard discussions about Sami Zayn facing Roman Reigns in a singles match at the Rumble but we’re told that the Zayn vs. Reigns match is not going to happen until the February Elimination Chamber pay-per-view happening in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal, Quebec.”
In other words, Reigns’ path to WrestleMania 38 is being paved.
Although some critics have called for Reigns’ 800-plus-day Universal title reign to come to an end, reported plans for his run with both WWE world titles suggest the end is nowhere close to near. And truth be told, why end it now? While there have been times during Reigns’ two-year run on top that his gimmick got stale or that he ran out of viable opponents, his reign has been reinvigorated in recent months thanks in large part to the inclusion of Zayn in The Bloodline.
Reigns’ domination of the world title scene has largely been a hit among fans, too. Reigns and his stable The Bloodline previously established themselves as WWE’s top merchandise movers, January’s Royal Rumble has already set a new live gate record for the flagship pay-per-view, SmackDown viewership has remained strong, and the overall quality of WWE programming is the highest it’s been in years.
There is no real reason to pull the plug on Reigns as champion, and judging by crowd reaction—as well as where other top stars like Seth Rollins, Gunther, Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley are positioned on the card—the right call is to continue to slowly build toward the inevitable implosion of The Bloodline. To get there, it makes the most sense for Reigns to restart his feud with Owens, a longtime rival who lost at this week’s Survivor Series WarGames due to Zayn’s betrayal.
The story writes itself, and though Reigns vs. Owens has been done numerous times, it feels significantly different this time around. More importantly, it feels like the right match at the right time, with Owens ranking as one of WWE’s most popular babyfaces and being positioned as the ideal foe for Reigns and The Bloodline.
There is so much history here, and with WWE’s revamped PPV schedule creating the need for more long-term storytelling and stories with true layers to them, Owens vs. Reigns is a great selling point to build Royal Rumble around over the course of the next two months. From there, the storyline is predictable, sure. But predictability isn’t always a bad thing, especially when the predictable way is also the most logical way.
Indeed, logic points toward Owens vs. Reigns as the marquee Undisputed Universal title rivalry heading into 2023, a must-see feud that paves the way for Zayn—despite his actions at Survivor Series WarGames— to ultimately reunite with Owens as the duo that potentially takes down Reigns and The Bloodline.
In fact, WrestlingNews.co notes, “As many have figured out by now, the plan is indeed for KO and Zayn to challenge The Usos for the World Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.” Another obvious booking move? Yes, but it’s also a wise choice given the current storyline direction for all the stars involved in this rivalry.
Reigns, after all, is likely not going to lose his championship between now and WrestleMania 39 next April, so a rivalry with Owens is a tremendous way to keep fans entertained at a time when it’s blatantly obvious that Reigns is going to remain champion. WWE, in a perfect world, is hoping for Reigns vs. The Rock at its biggest pay-per-view of 2023, which makes Owens vs. Reigns the ideal story to transition the Usos into a tag team feud with Owens and Zayn while ensuring that Reigns has a blockbuster singles match on “The Grandest Stage of Them All.”
And this feud should make WWE’s main event picture quite the intriguing one over the next several months—despite the predictability of it all.