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The WWE Title Tournament has set up some intriguing match-ups down the road. Yes, there were some curious inclusions and omissions, but the key accomplishment was establishing next week’s big quarter-final matches on TV, which should then set up nicely for the final rounds at Survivor Series.
The favorite to win the tournament is of course Roman Reigns. But, I believe Reigns should not win the tournament. I would argue that Reigns’s first major title victory should be over a champion – the sense of accomplishment and conquering someone – rather than winning a tournament where you just have to beat another wrestler with no existing “champion’s advantage.”
There are so many different directions WWE can take Reigns to perhaps draw something out of his character’s laid-back personality. Another title chase after losing his WWE Title shot at Survivor Series could help. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s hard to tell with Reigns’s character presented so casually that it’s like watching a Jay Cutler press conference or post-game interview.
Outside of Reigns, there are other candidates to win the WWE Title tournament. So, this week’s Raw List is the Top 5 Candidates to win the WWE Title Tournament.
(1) Roman Reigns. It’s an easy choice and would follow the plan before Seth Rollins’s injury. But, why not go a different direction and delay Reigns’s first title victory?
(2) Dean Ambrose. Reigns watching his buddy and drinking partner celebrate with the WWE Title after winning the tournament (presumably after beating Reigns) would create an interesting dynamic between The Shield hold-overs. Plus, it would finally give Ambrose his elusive title victory and set up Raw with an intriguing dynamic of Ambrose vs. The Authority, following the Daniel Bryan-Authority dynamic last year. Reigns shifting to a secondary role trying to be supportive of his buddy would make for interesting TV.
(3) Kevin Owens. Owens as dual WWE and IC champion would mean the audience will never hear the end of it from Owens. Owens is one of the few wrestlers who can draw heel heat, creating a strong desire for someone to knock off Owens and win the WWE Title. This is where Reigns would come in to follow up on the very compelling Owens-Reigns conclusion to the fatal four-way #1 contender match two weeks ago.
(4) Cesaro. We need a darkhorse in this tournament, so why not have Cesaro run the table all the way to the WWE Title? It’s the perfect opportunity for WWE to have Cesaro in the WWE Title picture without having to center an entire four-week program around Cesaro challenging for the title at the next PPV. You know, because WWE couldn’t possibly put Cesaro in that role.
(5) Alberto Del Rio. Like Owens, it’s a chance for a heel to be dual WWE and U.S. champion. It’s just that Alberto’s re-introduction storyline with Zeb Colter is, well, not intriguing. The audience isn’t really taking the bait to be set up for a twist and the overall material sounds like tired, recycled xenophobia. But, Alberto, himself, has returned to a WWE ring looking sharp and re-focused, making him a solid candidate to win the tournament.