A new WWE World Heavyweight Champion is guaranteed to be crowned at Survivor Series 2015 on Sunday, Nov. 22. Seth Rollins suffered a knee injury at a live event in Dublin, Ireland, and the champ has been forced to vacate the title.
With Rollins set to be out for approximately between six and nine months, WWE will hold a tournament at Survivor Series to determine the next champion. The exact details on the tournament aren’t known, but it could look something like what happened at Survivor Series 1998. Fourteen wrestlers participated in the four-round tournament, ending with The Rock defeating Mankind for the company’s top title.
The injury to Rollins comes at an inopportune time for WWE. John Cena is currently on hiatus, and he reportedly isn’t set to return until next month. Randy Orton will miss a few months with a shoulder injury, and Brock Lesnar’s part-time status could keep him off WWE TV until 2016.
Rollins has been WWE’s top heel for the entire year, and he’s held the title since he won it at WrestleMania 31. After tearing his right ACL, MCL and medial meniscus, there’s a very good chance he won’t have a match at WrestleMania 32.
WWE could go in a number of directions. Titleholders Kevin Owens, The New Day and Alberto Del Rio could all be in the tournament, and the likes of Ryback, Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler will likely get a shot at the title.
But five wrestlers standout as the favorites to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series.
As the unofficial heir apparent to John Cena as WWE’s top star, Reigns is the clear favorite to win the title. WWE reversed course at WrestleMania 31 when it looked like Reigns was going to beat Lesnar for the belt, but the former Shield member isn’t being booed like he was earlier in the year. Before Rollins suffered the injury, Reigns seemed likely to win his first singles championship at WrestleMania 32, and WWE could decide to fast track him to the top at Survivor Series. If there was ever a perfect time to turn Reigns heel, it would be at Survivor Series, possibly winning the title with help from Triple H.
The 15-time world champion hasn’t been on WWE TV in a few weeks, and he isn’t even scheduled to be on the card at Survivor Series. But WWE could ask Cena to end his break from WWE a few weeks early, giving him the title and tying Ric Flair’s 16-time record. It looked like Cena would be out of the championship picture for the foreseeable future, but a thin roster and poor ratings could force WWE to go back to the well one more time. They did it just over a year ago, having Cena win the belt when Daniel Bryan got injured and had to vacate his WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
It’s a choice that might not make a lot of fans happy, but it’s a real possibility. Sheamus has held the Money in the Bank briefcase for nearly six months, and he hasn’t gotten over as a top heel. The former world champion doesn’t need to win the tournament in order to claim the belt, possibly cashing in at the end of the PPV. Doing so would put incredible heat on Sheamus, which is exactly what WWE wants.
It makes a lot of sense for WWE to put the title on Wyatt. He’s been one of WWE’s top heels since the moment he debuted over two years ago, and he’s one of the best talkers in the company. With Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman by his side, the Wyatt Family could help Bray win the title, making him a very difficult champion to beat. The only problem is that the Wyatt Family is likely to face The Undertaker and Kane in a Survivor Series match at the PPV, possibly precluding Wyatt from being in the tournament.
Ambrose is a longshot to win the tournament and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but he can’t be ruled out as a possibility. Before Rollins’ injury, WWE might have been headed towards a triple threat match among all three members of The Shield at WrestleMania 32 with the title on the line. WWE can still do that match, but without Rollins. WWE has been subtly teasing a possible heel turn by Ambrose, and he could join The Authority and screw Reigns out of winning the belt.
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