Last year, an injury bug the size of Ryback ravaged through the WWE roster and put some of the company’s top superstars out of action. Veteran and fan-favorite Randy Orton went down with a shoulder injury, World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins had to relinquish his belt after a torn ACL, but that wasn’t enough. The injury bug screamed “Feed me more!” and WWE’s top star John Cena suffered a tear in his shoulder and was sidelined after surgery.
But things are looking up, as WWE chairman Vince McMahon revealed Tuesday morning on the WWE’s 2016 First Quarter Earnings conference call that all these superstars will be returning within the next month. Still, with the current main event scene better than it’s been in years, questions arise as to where these superstars will fit in when they come back.
The return of Rollins is definitely the most anticipated because he was at the top of the mountain before he was sidelined. Rollins has that rare combination of strong mic-work, where his promos helped him become the top heel that fans loved to hate, and even stronger in-ring ability, where his matches were must-see TV. His presence has definitely been missed but when he returns, is he still the “bad guy”?
“I think he’s top babyface in the company the moment he comes back,” Larry Dallas said during Tuesday’s Busted Open Radio broadcast. “He didn’t lose his title, his matches were so, so good and he really created himself as the top star and really a generational star as far as his in-ring work.”
Rollins’ former stablemate Roman Reigns is currently the world champion, and there would be a built-in rivalry considering Rollins screwed Reigns and Dean Ambrose when they were members of The Shield. Reigns is currently involved in a feud with number-one contender AJ Styles and The Club (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) and will defend the title at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on May 22. Rollins against Reigns would be cool, but the other option is far more intriguing.
“I would love to see The Club screw Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, and that sets up AJ as your champion,” Doug Mortman said. “Then down the road you literally have a dream match of AJ Styles against Seth Rollins. To me, that has money written all over it.”
For Cena, even though he’s been the company’s biggest star for the past decade, Mortman and Dallas think he’s best served returning to the United States Championship picture. Current U.S. champ Kalisto is a great performer but just hasn’t been booked properly since winning the title, and he’ll defend the belt against Rusev at Extreme Rules. If Rusev wins, it could reignite his feud with Cena from last year.
“I just don’t see him being pushed into that main event scene,” Mortman said. “I think it would be a huge mistake… John Cena could easily jump back into that feud with Rusev, and I think it bolsters both guys back to an early-2015 level when they were both humming.”
Orton is a far more unique case because he is a top worker but hasn’t necessarily been missed in his absence because of the emergence of new superstars. Orton could fit in the Intercontinental Championship picture with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, or he could be relegated to putting over recent NXT call-ups like Baron Corbin. Whatever the case, neither option would hurt his status.
“Orton could go up against anybody, and that match has instant credibility because it’s Randy Orton, a 13-time champion,” Mortman said.
Bray Wyatt is also expected to be back in action within the month after dealing with a slew of minor injuries since the beginning of this year. The return of these superstars coupled with the influx of new talent creates a lot of excitement because of the amount of booking options available.
“There’s a lot of top guys, a lot of top talent they have right now,” Dallas said. “It’s awesome because we really do not know where they’re gonna go with all this stuff, but we’re happy with whatever the result is.”
Busted Open Radio airs Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 2-4 pm ET on SiriusXM Rush.
Tags:aj stylesbaron corbinbray wyattdean ambroseextreme rulesjohn cenakalistokarl andersonkevin owensluke gallowsrandy ortonroman reignsrusevsami zaynseth rollinsvince mcmahonwwe
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