FanPost

The "Coronation" Conundrum

An on-and-off more "casual" viewer’s musings on one of the most contentious debates in the online wrestling sphere.

Apologies in advance for typos/weird formatting/etc... Typing this out on my phone (:

It’s been a while since I’ve been active on CSS as more than an occasional lurker (apparently I haven’t posted anything since 2016... Insert Bayley gulp!), so who could possibly be more qualified to comment on one of the most hotly debated topics around: who should take the Universal title off of Brock Lesnar? The topic came up in a largely discussed Rumor Roundup recently, and the vast majority of the comments revolved around it. As always, I enjoyed reading Cagesiders’ discussions and reactions and reactions to the discussions, but I decided to flesh my own thoughts on the subject out in a post, both to process how I actually feel about it and to gauge reactions to my opinions (if there are any.)

First, a little background: I grew up watching WWE, Kane was my favorite as a kid (I was born in the 90s so I largely missed the Attitude Era as it occurred), and I lapsed in watching in my teens largely due to the days of "Super Cena". CM Punk and Daniel Bryan brought me back in as a fan, but it was truly the women’s "revolution" and the matches starting with Emma and Paige in NXT (and culminating in my favorite match with my favorite wrestlers ever, Sasha vs Bayley I in Brooklyn) that pulled me back (and DB’s Hell No to Mania run.) I don’t watch much indie stuff, no TNA (is it still called that?), and mainly use my network sub to watch NXT. That being said, I guess you could say I’m biased towards two things: underdogs and monster men.

Now, to the actual question at hand: who takes the title off of Brock Lesnar?

I admit I’m not a huge fan of the Beast. I don’t feel much like he respects the wrestling business, I don’t believe being an MMA fighter adds any sort of legitimacy to a wrestler, and I don’t like a lot of his matches, particularly when you can tell he isn’t putting much effort into them or taking them seriously (hi, Dean Ambrose.) That being said, there’s no denying his sheer physical presence, his dominance, his believability as a monster, and how great he is at creating "moments". I love Lesnar ripping off a car door and throwing it to the side like it’s nothing. I love Lesnar grabbing the mic from Paul Heyman mid-promo to give one or two badass lines. As overplayed as it is, "suplex city" was fantastic. And as magical as the WWE team is at putting together great pre-match videos, Brock is a guy who gives them plenty of great material. So, while I think they may have booked themselves into a pretty big corner with him, I understand both why they did and how much of a big deal it will be for whoever tames the Beast. For years now, the speculation has been (and certainly it seemed to be the plan) that the honor will go to one particular sports entertainer:

Roman Reigns

The Big Dog, and the biggest point of contention in this debate. I see both sides to it, honestly. I’ve certainly had my qualms with his booking since the breakup of the Shield, and I definitely wasn’t a huge fan of much of his singles run. I’m not going to get too much into politics of it all, but I was on the "revile Vince’s chosen one" train for a while. After "Super Cena" soured me on wrestling as a whole, why wouldn’t I be? That being said, "Super Cena" he is not. Once I let go of the partisanship and internet bickering, I allowed myself to truly take in the performer, and it’s been delightful to watch him grow into one of the most talented in-ring wrestlers in the world. Roman Reigns puts on great matches constantly, and he’s quickly grown to the level of a performer who elevates others he’s with. I appreciate where they’ve taken his character, having him generally spend his mic time giving pithy one or two line statements instead of prolonged promos (which in my opinion not many people should be doing these days, given the inevitable "what?" responses from the crowd and the general lack of performers who are able to hold a crowd with their mic work) and allowing him to take on a general no-cares-given persona. It works for me. Still, the "Super Cena" sour will always color my opinions at least somewhat, so if he is the one to defeat Brock, I will still feel the hesitant sting of a "coronation" in the back of my mind no matter how little it’s been implied that that’s even the direction they’re going in (read: not at all on TV lately.) And that’s on me for allowing my opinion to be colored in that way. When I sat down and thought about it the other day, I kept landing on the same thought:

Who else but Roman Reigns should conquer the Beast?

In all honesty, I don’t think I want it to be Roman Reigns. I’m a huge fan of surprises in wrestling (wasn’t it such a rush when Seth pulled out the curbstomp??), and I can’t help but shake the feeling of inevitability when I think about Reigns taking the belt off of Lesnar. It doesn’t excite me. That being said, Roman has all the pieces of the sports entertainer that should do it. He’s the company’s top star, he’s a great wrestler, he’s got the bona fides, he’s got the physical presence that adds to his credibility in being able to defeat Lesnar (although I’m personally of the belief that this doesn’t matter and that a smaller star could credibly take the title through a well-told match), he’s young, he’s a company man, he’s a locker room leader, and he’ll presumably be with the company for a good long while. In all honesty, I’m very tired of the belt being gone from the show so much and being held by someone who isn’t working the grueling schedule the rest of the roster is. I believe the people who perform so often for the company should be rewarded for their effort and commitment, and really, the title is something that gives the performers something to do. There’s no simpler way to start a feud than, "you have this thing and I want it", and while I understand the argument that having it on a part-time performer gives it some sort of prestige in its limited availability, I’m tired of its absence on the shows. When it comes down to it, I think Reigns should be the one to take it off of Lesnar. That’s not to say that it’s inevitable, nor that I don’t have arguments for others that I think could be more fun, interesting, and all-around enjoyable for me though. In no particular order, I like the sound of:

Samoa Joe

Pros: He’s full-time, his mic work, his in-ring ability and storytelling, I personally really liked their GBoF match, his size lends him the credibility to defeat Lesnar (if you’re persuaded by that)

Cons: He’s older, might not be with the company beyond his current contract whenever it ends, the unclear state of his current injury

I only know Samoa Joe from his work starting in NXT, but I have been so enamoured with everything he’s done in WWE (well, barrring the rocky start in NXT.) He’s vicious, he’s mean, he’s angry, he’s cold, he’s calculating, he has his character down perfectly, he kills it on the mic... I didn’t know him before, but count me as a Joe fan. What really gets me is his ability to tell stories in the ring. The RAW recap had a great write up about it a few weeks ago when he and Reigns had that incredible IC title match. I could write praise about Joe all day, he’s been truly impressive to me. That being said, there’s not a whole lot of milestone moments left to give in WWE, so I think my biggest problem with Joe taking Lesnar’s title would be that I think it should go to someone younger who will be with the company a long time.

Seth Rollins

Someone like, say, Seth?

Pros: Fun to watch in the ring (although he could slow it down a little), young, company guy, somehow doesn’t have the "chosen one" feeling about him despite literally being chosen by HHH in-storyline (hey, no one said fandom is rational), gets good reactions (who knew adding "burn it down" to a theme could inspire such a positive crowd response?), it’d be kind of cool considering how he got his first title run and could add some context to the story, a well-told story in the ring could be compelling and really cement him as a good guy if he played the firey underdog right

Cons: His first run wasn’t anything to write home about, his mic skills are improving but he still comes off as nasally and condescending, size differential (if you subscribe to that belief), he might be headed towards a heel turn right now and is pretty tied up in a current storyline

So, hey, Rollins is my favorite member of the Shield. I’ve got obvious biases here. But I think a title run where he isn’t tied down by Authority storylines and a cowardly heel persona would be fun. He’s got the crowd on his side, and I think he could step up and deliver a fun underdog performance to get the title from Lesnar. He’s young and will presumably be with the company for a long time, and I guess I’m just itching for a good underdog storyline since it’s been so long since I feel like we’ve gotten a solid one from WWE and we know they’re capable of delivering them. Honestly, the argument could be made for a few smaller upper card guys — Balor being the first that comes to mind. I’d genuinely appreciate a well-told underdog story being the downfall of Lesnar. That being said...

BRAUUUUN

Who needs an underdog when you’ve got a monster among men?

Pros: He’s popular, he’s got the size, he’s young, he’s learning at a really fast pace, he’s got incredible speed for his size, it’s so much fun to watch him destroy stuff

Cons: He’s still got a lot to learn in the ring

I am one of the many who love Braun Strowman. I think he’s got an incredible career ahead of him. I’m very excited about Braun. It would definitely solidify him as a monster. I guess it might just be too soon, and I guess seeing him get beaten by Lesnar as recently as he was might make it less special for some fans.

Jason Jordan

Pros: Young, good in the ring, great look, proportionate size to Brock, presumably a long future with the company ahead of him

Cons: Might be too early in his career, there are probably better stories to be told with other people, he’s pretty caught up in a current storyline, there are probably better stories to be told with him right now as it is, the person to defeat Lesnar should probably beat him definitively and a story with Jordan would probably necessitate some hijinx

I’ve been on board with the Jason Jordan storyline since they began really leaning into his too big for his britches character. It started off rocky, especially with rumors about why it was Jordan and not Gable that was given the Angle’s son storyline, but I’d sort of love it if he was the one to take down Lesnar. Granted, if you’re not into the current story being told, you’ll hate me for even bringing the option up, and that’s fine! But think about it — he’s being given a bunch of chances because of nepotism, he’s absolutely oblivious to the fact that he’s in way over his head and really hasn’t earned so much that he has received, and it could tie into how Reigns and Rollins are so over him right now. The latest episode of RAW kind of ruins the story, but it’d be hilarious to me if he ended up being the one to take Lesnar’s title. Really, the problem here is that conquering the Beast should be a definitive moment unencumbered by shenanigans, a clean 1-2-3 pin, and I just don’t think it’s possible to tell that story with Jordan. It’s also why, as much as I’d love for The Miz to be the one to beat Brock (seriously, I’ve been a huge Miz fan since before he caught the internet’s heart with his superb SDL run and was roundly hated by most), I don’t think it could happen. A girl can dream though!

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There’s plenty of others I could suggest and write about, each with their own perceived pros and cons (leave me a comment with your thoughts!), but at the end of the day, it still just makes sense to me that Reigns should be the one to defeat Lesnar.

I guess it just doesn’t excite me.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.