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The thunderous applause that greeted Drew McIntyre’s Royal Rumble victory was heard around the world.
Back on 26 January 2020, at that moment at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, McIntyre owned and ruled the wrestling world.
Having toppled Brock Lesnar in truly sensational style, he was on his way to WrestleMania to face The Beast for the WWE Championship. Fans were visualizing. Tampa Bay, 5 April, standing square in the middle of the ring as the show goes off the air, the Scot standing tall, having dethroned Lesnar, snared his title and become the UK’s first-ever WWE Champion.
Unfortunately for the 34-year-old, it appears that events elsewhere in WWE may just have scuppered much of that vision of grandeur. This past week, Goldberg shocked many fans by beating The Fiend Bray Wyatt at WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia, netting himself the Universal Championship in the process.
The veteran is almost certainly set to go on to WrestleMania to defend his newly-won title, with Roman Reigns rumored to be his opponent. If that’s the case, you can be certain that Reigns will be winning the Championship at the Grandest Stage of ‘Em All – and, probably, rightly so.
The issue as I see it, however, is this: such is Reigns’ status in WWE, it’s difficult to see anything other than his coronation as the Universal Champion and, with it, the company’s main man again, being the sight of the former Shield member with his gold as WrestleMania fades to black.
What will be the main event of WrestleMania 36?
That, in a nutshell, is the issue. No matter how many ‘main event level’ matches there are at WrestleMania, there can only truly be one main event.
One final image as the show goes off the air. One Superstar standing tall in celebration with pyro firing here, there and everywhere. But who will that Superstar be?
As of 26 January, it was undoubtedly, undeniably McIntyre. Now, though? It’s hard to be as sure.
It’s easy to point the finger his way. It is – if he goes over – his first-ever world title victory. It’s the culmination of decades of hard work. It’s his vindication. His WrestleMania moment.
Then there’s Reigns. Barely a year ago, he was battling cancer. Fans worried he may never be seen inside a WWE ring ever again. He’s the company's workhorse. Love him or hate him, he’s the Big Dog – so doesn’t he deserve that defining moment?
In many ways, it’s WrestleMania 35 again, with Reigns and McIntyre meeting in the squared circle. Roman was the victor that night, but what will happen a year later?
Yet, come to think of it, what about Becky Lynch? Her clash with Shayna Baszler is undoubtedly a top-level encounter. If the plan is to have Baszler get the nod, might she not be worthy of the marquee moment?
One thing’s for sure, it’s nowhere near as clear-cut a call as it was just over a month ago. It may just be the case that, as a victim of nothing more than circumstance, McIntyre’s crowning, defining moment gets given a shove firmly back down the line.