Hi, I'm Justin Watry. You may remember me from such classic columns as "WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan in Less Than a Minute" and "WWE Should Send John Morrison Down to FCW Right Now."
Today, I will be writing about the ongoing WWE World Title tournament. As everybody knows by now, Seth Rollins was injured last week and had to vacate the top prize in the industry. While very disappointing all around, we must move forward. As will WWE - crowning a new champion later this month at Survivor Series.
With all of the competitors announced and some of the matches already finished, let's take a look at the potential winners...and losers.
In order from worst to best chances at winning:
16. Stardust - Coming in last place is (probably) my least favorite act in all of WWE today. Sorry, but the man Cody Rhodes is a possible main event level talent. Young and creative enough to make it to the top. Stardust? Barely on television and far past its' due date. Nobody will be happier to see him switch gears than yours truly. Cody deserves more, much more. Long story short, the WWE World Title tournament is not Stardust's to win.
15. Kalisto - Interesting addition here. I do not really buy into the theory that WWE is desperate to find a Hispanic wrestler to showcase. If this were the case, it would have happened by now. Either way, the "reports" are circulating again, and here is Kalisto given a big opportunity. As long as he is a part of the Lucha Dragons and teaming with Sin Cara though, he won't be winning many single's matches.
14. Tyler Breeze - If it wasn't for the fact that he just debuted and WWE may be looking to create a major splash, he would be ranked last. Tyler Breeze is not jumping straight from NXT to the WWE World Championship scene. Long way to go.
13. Titus O'Neil - For years, the pundits have predicted that Titus O'Neil would become a top face. The big man has the personality, the in-ring skills, and great mind to succeed. Truthfully, I have been won over in recent months but not enough to convince me he is a future WWE World Champion. We shall see. Nice of him to get this (short lived) shot for the time being.
12. Neville - I think Neville has settled into the 'close but no cigar' category that Kofi Kingston occupied for the past five years. Always right near the mid-card but sometimes bumped up on the show...only to fall short and lose. Then crawl his way back up, before being knocked down a peg again. It is not a BAD spot to be in.
11. The Miz - Well, he was a former WWE Champion. Oh, and he defeated John Cena in the main even of WrestleMania 27. Yeah.
10. Big Show - I probably defend The Big Show more than most fans reading this column right now. Still, he can not and will not win the WWE World Championship in late 2015. Maybe (hopefully) never again while we are at it. Definite WWE Hall of Famer and legend in the business. Just not the right move to make heading into 2016...
9. King Barrett - Or is it Bad News Barrett? I lost track. When Barrett returned from injury, it felt like another chance to re-boot his act and get him on the right track. Not even a week later, it was same ol' same ol' for Wade. Disappointing turn of events.
8. Ryback - This is the guy I would have seriously considered as a potential winner. He has the drive, the passion, and the clear desire to be the 'next John Cena' in WWE. Not only that, Ryback is NOT a carbon copy of somebody else. He is his own man and stands out. While it looks like the title belt will slip through his fingers here, the future is still very bright for The Big Guy!
7. Dolph Ziggler - One year ago, Dolph Ziggler was the Sole Survivor of a mega main event battle on pay-per-view, getting rid of The Authority. Fast forward to today...and The Authority is looking for a new champ. I would say the story writes itself, but Ziggler appears to be distracted by Tyler Breeze (and Summer Rae) right now, so the timing may not work out. Fans are behind the Show Off, so if you want an underdog to root for in the tourney, it is Dolph Ziggler.
6. Cesaro - Scratch that. If fans are looking for a dark horse candidate to become WWE World Champion, get behind Cesaro. He has his own section of fans in each arena, so the support will be there anyways. As strong as he is and as impressive as he is, the man still is without a WWE World Title reign. Never say never, right?
5. Sheamus - Current Money in the Bank briefcase holder. Even when/if he loses in the tournament to be eliminated from contention, he is the only wrestler who has a Plan B to still win the title. I have no idea where WWE plans to go heading into the new year, but I do know that the Celtic Warrior and that briefcase are looming ominously over our heads. Sheamus will get a championship bout one way or another.
4. Alberto Del Rio - It is interesting because both the United States AND Intercontinental Champion is going after the WWE World Title. Unique yet intriguing enough to maybe, just maybe work. Del Rio shocked the world by coming back to WWE and beating John Cena clean in the middle of the ring last month. This month? One more championship may be added to his resume.
3. Kevin Owens - Seth Rollins was THE top heel for the past 18 months or so. Raw, Smackdown, pay-per-views, etc. Everything was about Rollins turning on The Shield, winning the MITB briefcase and weaseling his way into the main event picture. With that heel now out for the next 6-9 months, that leaves room for the next best thing to take his place. Enter IC Champ Kevin Owens. If anybody is going to benefit from Rollins' injury, my bet is that man is Mr. KO himself. Just by looking at the brackets, you have to assume Owens will either make it to the semi-finals, finals, or even walk out of Survivor Series the NEWWWWWWW WWE World Champion! What a debut year, huh?
2. Dean Ambrose - The chatter amongst fans is *somebody* will accept Triple H's devious offer and cheat his way to the top. Think Survivor Series 1998 with The Rock. Become the Corporate Champion and be the latest HHH stooge. There are a few good heels available for that spot...but only one Dean Ambrose. If WWE is thinking of pulling a swerve, this is where you do it. Ambrose turning on Roman Reigns and joining The Authority? Wow. Imagine both Rollins and Ambrose becoming WWE World Champion BEFORE Roman Reigns. Yikes, that would set him off big time and make him more determined than ever come WrestleMania 32 time. I'm not saying it will happen, but Ambrose sure has been happy for Reigns' success in recent weeks. Almost a little too happy...
1. Roman Reigns - Face it ladies and gentlemen, Roman Reigns is the odds on favorite. By a wide margin, he is the man en route to the WWE World Champion. Maybe at Survivor Series. Maybe at Royal Rumble 2016. Maybe at WrestleMania next April in Texas. Regardless, this entire tournament appears to be built around Reigns and never ending his quest for gold. Barring a surprise ending or major upset, he will be winning the title in the very near future.
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Thanks for reading.