Now that the WWE Draft is in the books, we can start looking ahead to the future of Monday Night Raw. That future will include the crowning of a new world heavyweight champion at the upcoming Night of Champions event on May 27, 2023, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. WWE previously announced on Friday Night SmackDown that a tournament will be held with the final taking place at the aforementioned event. No other details have been revealed so far.
The big question, then, is who exactly should be first to win this newly created championship? It won’t be Roman Reigns, but everyone else seems to be fair game.
Here’s what we think:
Geno Mrosko: Did you hear that reaction Dominik Mysterio got on Monday Night Raw this week? That’s the norm these days. That young man is a heat magnet the likes of which we rarely get in pro wrestling anymore. Why not capitalize on that and lean as hard into it as possible by putting a world title on him?
Is he “ready” for that? I think a better question is “does that matter?” The answer is “no” because all that really matters is how a wrestler makes you feel. It’s so unbelievably fun to hate Dom, and it would be even more fun to be upset because he’s the world champ. Look, we all realize it’s the secondary title anyway. Let’s have some fun with it and make this man an even bigger star.
Besides, how much of a power couple would Rhea Ripley and Dom Mysterio be as top champions on Raw? Book it, you cowards!
Sean Rueter: Xavier Woods. WWE might want us to forget, but the truly positive among us will never forget that X beat Roman (by DQ, but who cares) back in 2021. And besides, crowning the veteran and making it so all three members of The New Day have held a World title will be such a cool moment no one will even remember to call the new belt a “consolation prize” for at least a few hours.
Kyle Decker: It pretty much has to be Seth Rollins. Via the draft, they’ve built a pretty strong main event scene with Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, & Kevin Owens. The only problem with all of those guys is they’ve lost to Roman Reigns. And the first person to hold the title should not be someone who’s already failed to defeat Roman for his title because that’d forever cement this title as the runner up title. That really leaves Seth Rollins, who is doing the best work of his career.
Claire Elizabeth: Obviously it should be Seth Rollins. He’s been the tentpole holding Raw up for over a year now, and if there’s a big gold belt on the brand it should have his name on it. But that’s a boring answer! So maybe it should be Cody Rhodes— yeah yeah, the story he has to finish is predicated on winning the title his dad never did, and the new WHC is the closest thing the company has to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship his dad did win, so you just finesse the story and have him cut a promo bridging the gap and promising he’s still going after Roman. But that’s a depressing answer!
No, there’s only one fun answer, for me. Vince is back pulling the strings, but it’s still ostensibly a Triple H show and that means a heel champion with some real bonafides, and that means... (Geno, you might want to take a Benadryl, you’re gonna break out in hives from this) ...Johnny by god Gargano, the WWN Icon, the 873-day DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion, the jerk heel scumbag who cuts your heroes down at their knees and then cuts a promo with a shit-eating grin asking if you enjoyed the show!
(But really it should be Seth.)
Cain A. Knight: The nameless decision-makers for Raw are buffoons who somehow skipped over LA Knight on the draft board multiple times. The megastar will correct for their incomprehensible error in judgment by entering this tournament, squashing Brock Lesnar in the finals in Saudi Arabia, and coming over to Raw as a workhorse champion who you can be proud of. YEAH.
Marcus Benjamin: I’m going out on a limb with this one: Finn Balor. Now, before you clutch pearls or pitchforks, I think there’s some symmetry here.
Finn never got his true run with the Universal Championship, despite the fact he held the belt first. Injury took him out of commission and kinda derailed him. He toiled on the main roster for a while after the injury, went back to NXT, regained his swagger, and now he’s a member of Judgment Day. The group always finds themselves in the middle of WWE’s hottest angles, and he’s their unofficial leader. I say that because we all know Rhea Ripley is the leader but she has a championship. Plus, Finn took 14 stitches at WrestleMania. A ladder split that man’s cranium and he kept going. For that alone he deserves something besides a pat on the back and a hearty handshake.
Judgment Day is hot right now. Damian is on fire and in a feud with the biggest musician on the planet. Mami has a championship, and Dom is arguably WWE’s most hated man. Finn as the inaugural title holder only cements their standing as a group while setting up several feuds for someone like Seth, Cody, or any of Raw’s newest faces. Let them all chase the Prince while he finally gets the chance to do what eluded him so many moons ago.
Now you tell us what your choice would be.