Vince McMahon changing his mind about Finn Balor challenging for the WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble has led to a lot of internal debate as to who should be getting the title shot instead. Typically when McMahon has this kind of change of heart, he's already made up his mind about a replacement. In this instance though, when the call was made that Balor wouldn't be getting the spot, what to do instead was completely up in the air.
There's been some speculation that Braun Strowman would get the nod and that is a name that has been pitched to Vince, but Vince doesn't want to go back to Braun vs. Brock so soon after doing versions of that match at SummerSlam and No Mercy. Strowman is penciled in right now to face Triple H at WrestleMania and Triple H suggested that he could cost Strowman the match against Brock at Royal Rumble and then Triple H would put over Strowman at WrestleMania, but Vince prefers to keep Strowman and Brock apart, not to mention he envisions Strowman as being one of the final few competitors in the Royal Rumble match itself.
As of this weekend, one name that is gaining steam as a possible Brock Lesnar opponent at Royal Rumble is Seth Rollins. That is Vince's preferred choice at the moment, but with two months to go until the pay-per-view, the plan is to gauge crowd reactions over the next week or two before making a final decision.
Zack Reacts: I still don't understand the logic behind thinking someone isn't over enough to LOSE to Lesnar. We can split hairs over who should be the one to BEAT Brock for the title, even though we all can guess it'll be Roman. However, saying Balor isn't over enough to take a loss to Lesnar? That's ridiculous to me. ESPECIALLY because Balor was the first Universal Champion and never got a rematch for the title. I still think the best thing they can do is have Balor face Lesnar, have Lesnar and The Shield cross paths and create some friction there. Then, have The Shield attack Lesnar during his match with Balor. Lesnar wins via DQ, Balor doesn't look weak, and it sets up for Roman vs. Lesnar at Mania. PLUS, if they wanted to it would allow Balor to flip to a heel and a Balor Club vs. Shield rivalry until the WrestleMania build really begins.