Roman Reigns is currently the biggest superstar in WWE. He has possession of both the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship. He's held the latter for nearly 700 days. But while Reigns might seem unbeatable for now, he won't be champion forever.
Some of the upper mid-card stars are extremely popular and experienced. Numerous superstars who are yet to become world champions seem to be ready for the next step. To do that, they need to defeat Roman Reigns or hope that the world titles once again get split.
Who could be a top challenger for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship? Who could potentially win their first-world title by the end of 2022?
Below are 5 WWE SmackDown stars who could win their first world championship before the end of 2022.
#5. Sami Zayn could sneakily win the title from Roman Reigns
While Rey Mysterio recently celebrated 20 years since his debut in WWE, Sami Zayn can celebrate two decades in professional wrestling. The veteran found a lot of success in Ring of Honor and on the independent scene before he was signed to FCW and later NXT.
As part of NXT, Zayn won the top championship on the brand. He's also held the Intercontinental Championship on three separate occasions since joining the main roster. Unfortunately for The Underdog From The Underground, he's never won a world title in the company.
Zayn has been affiliated with The Bloodline throughout much of 2022. He's been called an "honorary Uce" and claims to fully support the faction. While that may be true, Sami is known to be a master strategist. He may be playing the bumbling buffoon role just to get closer to The Tribal Chief.
In doing so, he may be planning to stab Reigns in the back and steal the WWE Universal Championship from him without the latter even realizing it. Zayn may pull this heist off before the year is up and win his first world championship.
#4. Xavier Woods is the only member of The New Day to not win the big one
Xavier Woods is one third of The New Day. While he struggled to find his footing early on in his WWE career, once The New Day formed, his career skyrocketed. The trio have been one of the most successful acts in the past twenty years.
As a member of the stable, he's had nearly a dozen reigns with the Tag Team Championships. He's even recently won the King of the Ring tournament. Meanwhile, both Big E and Kofi Kingston have become world champions.
The talented Woods is the last member of The New Day who needs to win a world championship. The story writes itself. He's underrated in the ring, extremely popular, and very capable on the microphone. Woods dethroning whoever the world champion is by the end of the year would be a great feel-good moment for fans.
#3. Ricochet could shock the world
Ricochet has had an up-and-down career with World Wrestling Entertainment, but overall, he's had a lot of success in professional wrestling. He's been wrestling for nearly twenty years and captured championships in Japan and with Lucha Underground.
Since joining WWE, he's won several titles. Ricochet is the only superstar to have held all three of the company's mid-card titles. He's held the North American Championship, the United States Championship, and the Intercontinental Championship. He's had a fair amount of success.
Still, he hasn't had a steady push that has taken him to the next level yet. With the shakeup of management, that could change. Fans like him and his style is unmatched by essentially anybody in the company.
All Ricochet needs is an opportunity. Imagine the high-flying star getting an upset win over Roman Reigns? The moment would go down in history as one of the most shocking wins of all time.
#2. Shinsuke Nakamura has unfinished business with The Bloodline
Shinsuke Nakamura has had a lot of success in professional wrestling. Prior to joining World Wrestling Entertainment, he was a multi-time heavyweight champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Upon joining NXT, Nakamura quickly won the coveted NXT Championship. Since joining the main roster, he's held tag team gold, the WWE Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship, and he's even won the Royal Rumble match in 2018.
Despite all of his success, he's yet to capture a world title on the main roster. This may change before the end of 2022. He's had issues with The Bloodline, including Roman Reigns, this year and has vowed revenge.
The best revenge for The King Of Strong Style is to dethrone The Tribal Chief. It may very well happen, as Triple H is clearly fond of Nakamura since he gave him the NXT Championship in the past.
#1. Gunther could be a dominant world champion on WWE SmackDown
Gunther is already proving to be one of the most dominant superstars on the WWE roster. The Austrian was already a success in Europe and the independent scene prior to being signed, but his dominance has only grown over the past several years.
The Ring General was first brought into the company on NXT UK. He quickly captured the NXT UK Championship, which he held for a record-setting amount of time. He then moved Stateside and had a brief run on NXT before being called up to SmackDown.
Since joining the blue brand, Gunther has already captured the Intercontinental Championship. There's little doubt that in time he will set his sights on an even more valuable title, a world championship. Possessing incredible in-ring skills, size, and strength, Gunther will be a threat to whoever the champion is. He is somebody you can bet on likely becoming a world champion. He'll probably do it sooner rather than later too.
Who will be the one to dethrone Roman Reigns? For now, that remains unclear. He could lose his championship at WWE SummerSlam to either Brock Lesnar or Theory. On the other hand, he could remain champion for another 700 days. Fans will have to wait and see where the title goes moving forward.
Speaking of championships, click here for 4 times superstars held a singles championship together.