The Heavy Opinion - Unification Blues at Mania
In the latest edition of the Heavy Opinion our resident Aussie, Hev gives us his thoughts and opinions on the theories floating around about the possibility of a WWE and Universal Championship Unification Match that is being proposed for this years Wrestlemania.
Hey there, Wrestling Fans, welcome to another edition of the Heavy Opinion, with your friendly bloke from the Land Down Under, Hev. Today I want to discuss something that has been theorised about a lot lately, something that has already happened several times within World Wrestling Entertainment, and that is Unifying the World Championships… Well, more specifically the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship. So please sit down, get comfy and get ready for another Heavy Dose of Opinion!
Now before we get started, I know what you’re going to say; "But Hev, we have never seen a unification match for the WWE and Universal Championships", and to that I will say you’re correct, but we have been in this predicament a couple of other times before. Most notably would be when the WCW and WWE Championship’s were unified into the First Ever Undisputed Championship. It was a necessary avenue to pursue at the time. WWE had two world titles; they had no need for two, so unifying them was the opportune thing to do. Now just over 20 years later it seems that the talk of unifying the two biggest belts in the WWE is gathering steam again, this time it’s the WWE Championship and the Big Blue Candy Strap, also known as the Universal Championship. There is a part of me that really wants to take the side of unifying the titles, but I will get to that later. Right now, I want to talk about the recent history of both belts and take a look at what is being proposed for this to take place. After that you will get my Heavy Dose of Opinion on the matter.
Let’s start off with the WWE Championship and the journey it took last year. We started out 2021 with Drew McIntyre as the champion, he was a great champion too, one the fans got behind each and every single night. From there The Miz, once again did the unthinkable and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and stole the title away from the Scottish Psychopath… but almost immediately, you could say, dropped the title to The Almighty Bobby Lashley! Now at first, I wasn’t a fan of this decision as I felt The Miz deserved a little more time with the belt, but Bobby Lashley proved to be a decent champion. He wasn’t the best champion, but he was decent. He worked a great feud with the former champion McIntyre, got us through a lumbersome feud with Goldberg but then dropped the title to possibly one of the biggest Fan Favourites of recent times, Big E! This wasn’t some cheap cash in either, Big E announced it before RAW, walked into RAW and won the belt in probably one of the biggest feel-good moments of 2021! But what happened after that was disgraceful on WWE’s part. It was like they had no faith in him as champion and booked him in some stupid matches and finishes. Then he walked into Survivor Series for the usual Raw vs. Smackdown Main Event of Champion vs. Champion, this was WWE’s chance to really give Big E a well deserving win, but after a lacklustre match Roman Reigns scored the pinfall over Big E. I was totally pissed at that decision, Roman could have taken a loss, Big E needed the win more. After Survivor Series we move onto Day 1 where Big E was defending against Bobby Lashley, a newly re-signed Kevin Owens and Seth “Freaking” Rollins (that’s what we’re meant to call him now right?). On paper the match looked pretty good, but then Roman got COVID, Brock Lesnar was added to the match and just like Kofi before him, Brock dethroned him. The dream was over.
Next, we have the Universal Championship over on Smackdown where the Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, the so-called Needle Mover, Roman Reigns has had a strangle hold on the title for nearly a year and half. Roman came crashing in and won the title abruptly and in doing so started what many fans had wanted to see for such a long time, the well needed heel turn. Roman was putting out some of the best character work of his career and of the times, actually. His heel persona was something to truly behold. He was strong, he was powerful, he was intimidating, but most of all he was everything the fans had wanted him to be for so long. He held onto that title in strong showings against Kevin Owens, Edge, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, John Cena, Finn Balor and Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns was dominating Smackdown with his Bloodline stable that consisted of him, The Uso’s as Smackdown Tag Team Champions and Paul Heyman as his personal counsel. Roman Reigns has single handedly been one of, if not the best thing WWE has had going since he won the Big Blue Candy Strap. There is no denying that when given the freedom to stretch his wings, Roman Reigns can be the best thing going in WWE today!
So that brings us to two men, who were on a collision course but due to a global pandemic became separated and now they are both the head of the table on their respective brands. Brock Lesnar is now the WWE Champion and continually doing some of his best work in years and Roman Reigns is the Universal Champion, continuing to be the franchise player of Smackdown and WWE. It seems that both men are slated to defend their respective championships at Royal Rumble. Roman against Seth “Freaking” Rollins (boy that’s a…. mouthful, right Becky?) and Brock defends the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley, in a match the fans have been clamouring for to see now for some time. It looks like the Road to Wrestlemania is going to kick off with a huge BANG! So now the rumour mill starts to churn, we start to see articles being posted regarding unifying the two big belts, but doing it at Wrestlemania 38 in Dallas, Texas. But wait a minute, wasn’t Roman meant to be facing The Rock at mania this year? That is what everyone thought but hey the guy couldn’t show up to the 25th anniversary of his debut at Survivor Series, instead they replaced him with a shit golden egg, so I doubt he’s coming back for a match against Reigns… he’s got better things to do, like continue his friendly strangle hold over Hollywood and do what Vince McMahon couldn’t, get the XFL over!
So back on track, the talk around the water cooler, or around the gum tree as us Aussie’s might say, is that we are going to get a unification match at Wrestlemania between Brock and Reigns. I don’t think I could audibly groan in exactly the right manner of which to express my evident disappointment at such a prospect. It’s not because the guys involved can’t perform, they can as they are doing some of their best work to date. It’s not because this will be the third time in as many years that these two men have fought each other in the Mania Main Event. It’s not even because I think the belts shouldn’t be unified. I can see why WWE would be thinking about this, the main event scene on Smackdown pales in comparison to Raw’s and now that McIntyre is out with an injury, it’s looking even worse. It’s because, despite the fact it is the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania is not the right place to unify these titles. I get it, this is the showcase of the immortals, the super bowl and world series of professional wrestling all rolled into one! I get it guys, this is a huge match, and I can see why some may want this to happen at Mania, but to me this is exactly why it shouldn’t happen at Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania in my opinion should be the event of big matches, big moments but most of all matches that we wouldn’t normally get to see. Not only that, but by having the main event of Wrestlemania be a unification match, what does that leave the Men's Royal Rumble Winner to do at the biggest event of the year? This would also have a ripple effect because the Men’s Royal Rumble Match would lose all of its allure, that big ass carrot dangling from above. The whole point of the match is not just to win an opportunity at the WWE or Universal Championship, it is also about getting that opportunity to main event the showcase of the immortals. It’s why Daniel Bryan squirmed his way into last years Universal Championship Match and made it a Triple Threat, in a manner that would make Pitbull proud! Without that incentive what would be the point of the Men’s Royal Rumble Match this year? The whole point of the Rumble is for the winner to Main Event Wrestlemania for the Biggest Prize in Sports Entertainment! Yes they could give the Rumble Winner a WWE/Universal Championship match before Mania but we know how that match will go so close to Mania, especially since they are already seemingly planting the seeds for unification. They could also wait and give the Rumble Winner a championship match after the unification at Mania and have the Rumble Winner defend his rumble win and title shot in a high-profile match at Wrestlemania. But then WWE starts to fall into WCW territory from 97 when that same thing happened to Scott Hall after he won World War 3 and had to wait his turn until Sting and Hogan had finished feuding over the WCW World Championship, which meant Hall didn't get his Title Match until 1998, some three months later than he should have.
So, this brings us to the question; "Hev, how would you unify the championships?" To me it is simple, unify the belts at the Royal Rumble. Yes, it is not the biggest event of the year, but this does three things. It unifies the titles, it keeps the incentive for the Men’s Royal Rumble Match intact and it also ends the Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns feud once and for all without dragging it out all the way to Wrestlemania, which could quite possibly piss off the fans and cause them to not be interested at all, in such a monumental moment at the showcase of the immortals. This option would free up either champion for a huge non-title angle going into Mania and it sets the other up for a huge Main Event against the actual Royal Rumble Winner. I am not sure who I would have win the unification match but if I had to choose, I would say Roman Reigns, which also adds to the prestige and spectacle of Wrestlemania. Not only do you keep the incentive intact for the Rumble Winner, not only do we actually get the Rumble Winner in the main event, but if they picked the right person to win the Men’s Rumble Match then it could be the opportune time to pull the trigger and take the title off Reigns. It is the perfect place for one of the longest title reigns in modern history to end. Much like Undertaker’s Streak, this adds something extra to the match, it adds more stakes that this could be the night Roman loses the belt and his historic reign is ended. I just really feel that if Roman hasn’t lost the title by Rumble then he will lose it on the Grandest Stage of Them All, and to me it just feels right. So, there is my opinion on the matter, that is how I would unify the titles and keep everything that makes the Wrestlemania main event the highlight of the year that it always has been and always should be.
What do you think? Do you agree with my solution and opinion? Or do you have some of your own? As usual please leave your comments and theories below and on all of our social media platforms.
Until next time this is Hev signing off on another Heavy Opinion… say Hi to your Folks for me!