With WWE's number two babyface Roman Reigns having emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia yesterday and being expected to be out of action for at least four weeks, but probably for much longer, the question becomes who will WWE choose to take his spot while he's out injured. They need someone who can headline house shows in his place and also be in high profile pay-per-view matches, as well as possibly being Seth Rollins's replacement opponent at tonight's Night Of Champions event.
As you can imagine, WWE management and the creative team have been feverishly attempting to find solutions to these unexpected problems over the last 24 hours. Here's a round-up of the ideas that are apparently being bandied about according to Dave Meltzer on his latest podcast:
- The most logical surprise opponent for Seth Rollins tonight is obviously Dean Ambrose, but it's unknown whether that would even be possible or if WWE would want to book that match at such short notice. The WWE movie he was shooting, Lockdown, should have finished taping this weekend, but these things often overrun, so he may not even appear at Night Of Champions later today.
- WWE could also decide that they want to save Rollins vs. Ambrose for Hell In A Cell on October 26th, but that would leave them vulnerable to disappointing the fans that wanted to see Rollins wrestle and risk ending up with a flat show like they had at Battleground two months ago. If WWE does opt to do this, then they will probably add a different match to the show (obvious possibilities would be rematches from this week's Raw like Bo Dallas vs. Jack Swagger and Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt or maybe they could do an NXT match) and give the other bouts on the card more time.
- Regardless, it is expected that Dean Ambrose when he returns to WWE television will be focused on a lot more until Reigns comes back.
- They could always hurriedly turn one of their top heels babyface like Randy Orton or Bray Wyatt to fill the gap in house show main events, but it seems more likely that they will just bite the bullet and put the under-utilized Big Show in the position. It had been rumored that Show would be Brock Lesnar's next victim if he retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tonight, so if they go in that direction, then having Show be Roman's replacement at house shows would make sense.
- It is known that WWE were looking at the possibility of another top star returning as a babyface, but it doesn't sound like they've had any luck enticing anyone back. Someone turned them down for sure and Batista was likely called too. The question is whether Batista would want to return so soon after his Guardians Of The Galaxy success or whether he's only interested in doing a retirement program with Triple H at WrestleMania 31? The drawing point with using Batista as Roman's replacement is that he's not contracted to do a full house show schedule, so he could only solve part of the problem.