Opinion: Brock Lesnar may not defend the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Sportskeeda.
It was announced this past Monday on RAW that Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman will be returning on next week’s edition. It is safe to assume that Heyman will discuss Lesnar’s plans for the Royal Rumble later this month. However, looking at the RAW roster at the moment, there is no credible babyface that isn’t presently busy - no one that could pose a credible challenge to Lesnar, anyway, and especially at a huge pay-per-view like the Royal Rumble. This leads to the following theory. Much to the chagrin of the WWE Universe, Brock Lesnar may not defend the WWE Championship at all at the big event.
All of the top babyfaces on the RAW roster are currently feuding with someone at the moment. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are feuding with Seth Rollins and AOP. Rey Mysterio is feuding with Andrade over the United States Championship, not to mention he just faced Lesnar at Survivor Series. Randy Orton is feuding with AJ Styles and The OC.
Midcard babyfaces, such as Aleister Black, Ricochet, and others aren’t built up strong enough yet to take on Lesnar at the Royal Rumble for a title as prestigious as the WWE Championship. Even if one of them were to get a WWE Championship opportunity, the result would be predictable and many fans would say that whoever faced Lesnar was buried.
As for heels, they have the same issue that the babyfaces do, which is that all of the credible ones are feuding with someone else already. Seth Rollins is feuding with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, not to mention he faced Lesnar multiple times last year. AJ Styles is feuding with Randy Orton, and Andrade is feuding with Rey Mysterio. The other issue is that Lesnar has been a heel for almost the entirety of his current WWE run, and some fans view him as a lazy worker who doesn’t want to defend the title. So, a heel vs heel match would likely not work in this scenario.
WWE could also do another match between Lesnar and Cain Velasquez, but they will likely want to save that for the big stage at WrestleMania. The same case could be made for Tyson Fury, who is also rumored to be in the mix to face Lesnar down the line. They could also pull off a surprise return, such as John Cena, but no names have been rumored as of now, leaving the WWE Championship with a big question mark heading into the Royal Rumble.
So, what would that mean for Lesnar and the Royal Rumble event? WWE could throw the Rollins/AOP vs Owens/Joe feud into the mix, but this feud is more fitting for the Rumble match itself, which will likely have 10 RAW Superstars, 10 SmackDown Superstars, and 10 from NXT. The other scenario, which seems more fitting, is that Lesnar does not defend the title at the Royal Rumble at all, with the event serving as a bye week of sorts for the WWE Champion before 'The Beast' heads into WrestleMania 36.
What are your thoughts on Brock Lesnar and the Royal Rumble pay-per-view? Is there anyone he could reputably defend the WWE Championship against? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.