As Roman Reigns reportedly begins a period of absence from WWE, Smackdown needs someone to take his place.
The Tribal Chief has been the undisputed king of the brand since he returned at Summerslam 2020. Alongside his cousins, The Usos, Reigns has been untouchable at the top of Smackdown.
His reported hiatus will leave a pretty noticeable hole in the show's main event scene, though, and as such, someone will need to step up. They might be big shoes to fill, but there are several WWE Superstars capable of taking his place for a brief period.
On that note, here are four WWE Superstars who could dominate Smackdown in Roman Reigns' absence.
#4 Sheamus has shown that he is capable of being the primary heel on a show
For the majority of Sheamus' WWE run, he has shown he has what it takes to be a main event level talent.
The Irishman's WWE Championship win just 166 days after his debut is still the fastest in the company's history. While he has slipped down the card over the last couple of years, he is still more than capable of being the primary heel on Smackdown.
With Reigns out of action, Sheamus could step into his place as the number one villain on the show. While he is currently teaming up with Ridge Holland and Butch, the 44-year-old would be a welcome addition to a main event scene that is sorely lacking formidable heels at the moment.
#3 Shinsuke Nakamura can be built up to be Roman Reigns' first challenger when he is back
Just last month, it seemed Shinsuke Nakamura was being lined up as a future foe for Reigns, but nothing has come of it.
The former Intercontinental Champion has instead begun a rivalry with Sami Zayn, but WWE could use this time without The Tribal Chief to build Nakamura into a strong opponent ready for his return.
As Zayn is currently associated with the Bloodline, having Shinsuke dominate the former NXT Champion and continue to get the better of the entire stable would solidify his role as a main event level face.
It would help build Nakamura up into the major player fans were hoping they'd see when he first arrived on the main roster. Additionally, it would give Reigns a fresh opponent to take on once he returns.
#2 Gunther can step up and dominate WWE
Gunther's recent main roster debut should lead to him becoming a force to be reckoned with in WWE.
The former NXT UK Champion has dominated everywhere he's been and there's no reason why that shouldn't continue on Smackdown.
With Reigns absent, Smackdown needs to fill his role as a dominant heel on the show and no one is more suited to that than Gunther. The 34-year-old is currently undefeated on the main roster. The best way to make the most out of the Head of the Table's absence is to allow him to continue to dominate everyone he comes across and really elevate him to the very peak of the brand.
Gunther has the potential to be a dominant heel, the likes of which WWE hasn't seen in quite some time, and now is the right time to really realize that.
#1 Drew McIntyre can step up as the primary babyface on Smackdown
Just a couple of years ago, Drew McIntyre was the number one face in all of WWE. His Royal Rumble victory and subsequent WrestleMania win over Brock Lesnar solidified as such.
The Scotsman carried WWE on his back during the pandemic and showed he had what it took to be the face of the company. Things haven't gone so well recently, and he's lost a ton of momentum.
With Reigns now out of the picture for a while, McIntyre should be given the chance to lead Smackdown as the show's number one hero. With Clash at the Castle on the horizon, WWE will want to showcase the Scotsman in a prominent role at the event.
Whether that will be taking on Reigns or not remains to be seen, but what better way to prepare him for the show than to allow him to dominate Smackdown until the champion returns somewhere down the line.
Aside from a brief program at Survivor Series 2020, WWE have held off on giving fans Reigns vs. McIntyre in their current roles. It's a feud with a lot of potential, so they should use The Tribal Chief's absence to their advantage and build Drew back up into the major player he once was, ready to take him on when he's back.
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