WWE has been trying to find the heir apparent to the longtime "face that runs the place" John Cena for about two years, and despite the effort they've put into making Roman Reigns that guy, the fans have refused to accept him as the new face of the company.
When WWE had Brock Lesnar break The Undertaker's legendary WrestleMania streak nearly three years ago, their idea was for Reigns to come in and beat the guy who beat the streak one year later. Of course, they did book the Reigns vs. Lesnar match the next year, but they were forced to change the finish of it due to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Reigns' main event push.
Since then, Brock Lesnar has run roughshod over everyone in WWE, as he's been built as an unstoppable force over the better part of the last three years. He's expected to add one more name -- Bill Goldberg -- to the list of guys he's destroyed since WrestleMania 30 this coming Sunday night at Survivor Series.
As of right now, it's unclear where WWE will go with Lesnar after this Sunday's show. Most are expecting him to end up in the ring with SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33. But, while a Lesnar vs. Shane match would probably get a good portion of the casual audience interested in next spring's show in Orlando, it really wouldn't do anything for the company's long-term future, because Brock Lesnar defeating Shane McMahon -- which is probably what the result of the match will be -- won't really mean anything.
You could make the argument that Brock Lesnar's "Suplex City" shtick is getting old and that it's the right time for someone to come in and beat him clean. Right now, there are a ton of talented people on the WWE roster who could benefit from a clean win over Lesnar on a big stage like WrestleMania, but only one of them has the potential to be WWE's next megastar -- Finn Balor.
Some were concerned about what Finn Balor's role was going to be when WWE brought him up to the main roster, and thankfully, WWE didn't waste any time with him, as they put him into the Universal Championship picture right off the bat. Nobody really knows what they would've done with "The Demon King" if he wouldn't have gotten hurt on the same night where he became the company's first ever Universal Champion, but it was quite clear that the plan was for him to be a main event player on the Raw brand.
When Balor got hurt back in August, the original prognosis for his return was five to six months, which means that, as long as his recovery stays on schedule, he'll return in either February or March, just in time for WrestleMania 33 in April. But, his rehab is reportedly ahead of schedule, and some are hoping that he'll return as a surprise entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.
The early betting odds -- courtesy of betfair.com-- have Finn Balor listed as the favorite to win the 2017 Royal Rumble match, which means that he'll get another opportunity to win the title that he never lost at WrestleMania 33. As of right now, Kevin Owens is the Universal Champion, but, according to Sportskeeda, he'll be defending that title against Brock Lesnar at the Alamodome in January.
Of course, everything that's been reported is, at this point, pure speculation. Even if the plan is for Lesnar to win the Universal Championship at the Rumble, that plan could change several times between now and then, because WWE chairman Vince McMahon isn't exactly known for sticking with one plan for several months.
If Balor does return to action at the Royal Rumble, he should win the match, because it's likely that the fans won't be willing to accept any other outcome, and if WWE wants to build a brand new megastar, then "The Demon King" should not only win the Rumble, but he should also beat Brock Lesnar clean in the main event of WrestleMania 33. It'd be the classic David vs. Goliath story and the show would end in the exact opposite way that last years did because the fans would actually be happy with who was walking out as the champion.
If this fantasy scenario becomes a reality, then that could open up the door for a Roman Reigns heel turn, which is something that WWE fans have been calling for since his big push began two years ago. So, in just a matter of a couple of months, WWE could build their new top babyface -- Finn Balor -- and their new top heel -- Roman Reigns -- and then they'd be off to the races with a hot program between the two, that could last throughout the summer of 2017.
[Featured Image by WWE]