It feels like Roman Reigns has been away from WWE for an entire lifetime, and while it's safe to say that the company haven't exactly missed him, he is almost certain to be put straight back into the main event scene when he does eventually return.
Some people won't like it, but Roman is a bonafide star and deserves to be around the top of the card. We could still be looking at a good few months before Reigns makes his way back to Smackdown and there will be a whole host of superstars just itching to step in the ring with The Big Dog.
So who exactly will WWE position him against when he makes his long awaited return ? There's certainly no shortage of candidates, but it will be most interesting to see whether he is entered into a fresh, new feud from day one or if he starts off against a fa.iliar foe to ease him back into competition.
Let's take a look at some of the best options for Roman to face when he steps back into the squared circle.
At the Royal Rumble, Edge returned and was eventually eliminated by Reigns after a very strong showing. A one on one match between these two however, is totally new ground.
While Reigns and Edge are both faces, a program between the two makes some organic sense. Edge was WWE’s top star using the spear before retiring, and then Roman Reigns came around. Reigns made his main roster debut about a year and a half after The Rated R Superstar stepped away and made the move his own. So, there is a natural spear vs. spear story to be told, besides the fact that The Big Dog foiled Edge’s return to an extent by eliminating him from the Rumble.
Roman Reigns has been missing from WWE for a number of months now... Lars Sullivan has been missing for just shy of a year.
The monster heel made a splash upon his main roster debut, but injuries and personal issue followed by controversial media from his past coming back to haunt him have kept him off TV and put him in an uncertain spot moving forward. One avenue to explore would be for Sullivan to go hunting for Reigns. Such an angle could set up both stars for a hard-hitting feud to reintegrate them into the WWE Universe. Moreover, if Sullivan doesn’t doesn't around in WWE for much longer, having him put over Reigns could be a good way to pay off some of WWE's earlier investment in him.
Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the top in-ring talents at WWE’s disposal, despite some questionable booking since his NXT call up. Assuming that Reigns returns solely to the SmackDown brand, Nakamura is one of the best early choices to work strong matches with The Big Dog.
While Nakamura hasn’t been positioned as a star at Reigns’s level, he’s someone WWE could elevate in short order. The Artist’s talent, the fact that he recently held his own in a program with Braun Strowman, and a resume including a Royal Rumble victory all make him someone who can be reestablished at the main event level. Reigns vs. Nakamura would be a fresh pairing with the potential for an interesting story.
Karrion Kross only recently debuted for NXT. At the moment, that doesn't position him to feud with Roman Reigns. However, between his big, dramatic presentation and an impressive dominant win over Tomasso Ciampa in his first Takeover match, Kross looks as though he’s on the fast track for bigger things.
It probably makes the most sense for WWE to be patient with Kross and give him a featured run on the black and yellow brand before he shows up on Monday or Friday night. However, if there’s anyone WWE might bring up early for a surprise debut, and who could pose an intriguing and immediate threat to Reigns, Kross would certainly be on that very short list.
The idea of Roman Reigns working a program with Otis would have sounded absurd mere months ago. While it still feels like a bit of a reach, the comedic half of a big man team has emerged as a singles star coming out of his feud with Dolph Ziggler and winning the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Otis could emerge as a fresh upper card talent to pair with Reigns. In particular, if the fans start to turn on Otis for how hard he’s getting pushed, he has the size to conceivably pose a formidable big man heel threat against a returning Reigns.