There’s something very cool about a whodunit story. It opens up so many doors and while the reveal may be a surprise, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. A lot of the time you can make up whatever conclusion you want and fill in the story later. That can make for some interesting twists and turns, as you can see someone come from out of nowhere and get a nice push without having to be there the whole time.

As we continue towards Summerslam, one of the biggest stories has been Roman Reigns dodging some attacks by a mystery person. The reveal of Rowan as the attacker on SmackDown Live was quite the surprise, though it feels like it’s setting up something bigger down the line. That may or may not be the case, but it got me thinking about a few other options.

That’s what we’re going to look at this week: who could have been the attacker? There are a lot of people with nothing to do and they could have fit this role very well. Note that I am not saying that these would have been better or that Rowan wasn’t a good choice. These also may or may not be logical or plausible, but today is about a bit of fantasy booking instead of what is actually happening.

In no particular order:

Shinsuke Nakamura

Yeah imagine that: having the Intercontinental Champion do something other than revolving around the title (by which I mean he gets a challenger, faces them at the pay per view and then again on TV before moving on). I don’t know what the point is in having Nakamura sit around waiting on a new challenger when you could present him as someone who is actively looking for competition.

Imagine Reigns having to deal with this:

The title doesn’t even have to be involved and Nakamura could go after Reigns even if he wasn’t champion. It’s a match we’ve never seen before and it could offer something fresh on a few different grounds. Nakamura had nothing going on until he won the Intercontinental Title and you have to wonder what is going to happen to him after he loses it. That’s a talent who should have something to do all the time, so why not have him try to kill a co-worker?


This is another case where you have the talent sitting on the sidelines with nothing to do and for some reason WWE isn’t interested in giving him anything to do. ECW has one of the weirdest career paths in recent memory in WWE as he came in, didn’t say anything, beat Dean Ambrose, and then was banished to Main Event. The guy was a World Champion elsewhere and now he’s stuck on Main Event with nothing to do.

It’s a Shield thing:

EC3 vs. Dean Ambrose: Raw, Feb. 4, 2019

How easy is it to write this one? “I’m tired of being left on the sidelines so I made an Impact.” Or maybe “I am in the top 1% and I’m fed up with seeing a commoner like Reigns get this much attention.” You could do it a doze or more ways and EC3 has all of the tools to back it up (talking, look, ability to take a spear). Or we could have him fight Titus O’Neil in a glorified dark match every week instead, making others wonder why they would bother signing with WWE.


This is kind of a mixture of the previous two picks. Rusev has been sitting on the sidelines for a good chunk of the year (last televised match: June 7 in the Super ShowDown battle royal) and there’s already a history there between he and Reigns. I know I harp on Rusev not being around a lot but there is a good reason for that: it makes next to no sense to have him sitting on the sidelines for so long.

Maybe Rusev wants to do it again:

Roman Reigns and Rusev agree to meet inside Hell in a Cell: Raw, Oct. 3, 2016

This is similar to the EC3 story: Rusev wants to make an impact and is tired of sitting around. That’s going to be a recurring theme for this list. So many people are stuck sitting on the sidelines with nothing to do so why not put them into this spot instead? Even if it isn’t your endgame for the whole thing, it’s better than letting them collect a paycheck while sitting at home.


I know that he’s busy with Rey Mysterio but my goodness this guy is a breakout star waiting to break out. He has all the tools you could imagine and even has a mastermind behind the whole thing in Zelina Vega. Let him get out there and do something big, which he’s seemed to be on the cusp of for months now. Andrade was a big star in Mexico and he can be here too, if WWE would let him do something other than fight Mysterio.

Andrade can do the big match:

FULL MATCH - Andrade Almas vs. Aleister Black - NXT Title Match: NXT TakeOver: New Orleans 2018

Andrade vs. Reigns might not sound like the best match on paper, but Andrade has had a string of rather good matches so far. Reigns, while not the most popular character, has shown that he can have a rather well done match with a lot of people of different styles. Andrade is right there and if a mask vs. hair match isn’t going to happen, maybe let him try being violent instead.

Daniel Bryan

Ok I know this is likely the end result of the whole thing and there’s nothing wrong with that. Bryan vs. Reigns is a match we haven’t seen in a long time and they could get the best out of each other. Bryan has been looking for something significant to do on his own since losing the title so this is the kind of thing that could be his ticket out of the midcard loop he’s been in.

They’ve come a long way since this:

This certainly seems to be where they’re going and for some reason they went with a different direction instead of what seemed to make sense. I get why they went with Rowan for now as there is no requirement to have the match at Summerslam, but it would have been nice to see it on the big stage. Bryan will probably get the nod and can benefit from it quite a bit, though I’ll believe WWE can pull it off when I see them do it.

Keith Lee

This is pure fantasy booking, as Lee has gotten my attention from the second that he debuted down in NXT. If nothing else, I want to hear that theme song on the main roster. So many of the people that Reigns faces are on the leaner side and it would be nice to see him in there against a big monster for a change. That would be the case with Lee, who offers a rather unique opponent.

The music alone is worth it:

As for a story? Who cares? It’s Lee, who can go out there and do a bunch of cool looking stuff. You can fill in the details later on but what matters here is having someone else for Reigns to fight. I know this one doesn’t make sense and isn’t going to happen, but part of being a fan is having fun and throwing out ideas that are pure fun for you.

Buddy Murphy

This was the one that got my attention up the most as it seemed they were teasing Murphy last week. That was the case again on this week’s SmackDown Live as Reigns accused Murphy of being behind the attack. Of course that’s not the way they went as instead Murphy just gave up Rowan as the attacker, because WWE doesn’t seem to see much in Murphy.

He’s such a secret that you might need to get to know him:

Why that is the case I’m not sure, as Murphy seems to have the tools to go somewhere. I mean, WWE certainly thought so when they promoted him to the main roster from 205 Live, who could use someone like him. It’s better than having him sit around doing nothing week after week (amazing how that keeps coming up) and Murphy would have been something different. Maybe he’s still involved in the story, or just has a match at some point, please?

Tommaso Ciampa

There’s one reason this makes sense (assuming Ciampa is healthy enough to do something like this): what the heck is he supposed to do in NXT? He already had an all time classic feud with Johnny Gargano, so how is he supposed to just be a regular guy down there again? Ciampa is someone who probably doesn’t have a lot of time left in the ring due to all of his injuries so putting him on the main roster while they can would be nice.

Ciampa can go with the violent fight:

Ciampa has proven that he can create heat like few others, which is something that could do a lot of good for WWE at the moment. WWE was already willing to call him up earlier this year (Yeah remember that completely necessary call up that broke continuity with NXT and served next to no purpose?) so they know he’s good. It would certainly work for a shocking moment.

And finally:


Of course he’s someone who could do it because, you know, he did it. I still don’t think Rowan is going to be the mastermind (though they have done a great job of making it seem that it is something he could do) but for a one off opponent for Reigns until he gets on to Bryan, this could work very well. I’m not sure how well Rowan could hang with him in the ring but that’s what you have Bryan for.

You might not remember this one:

Reigns & Usos vs. McMahon, Bryan, Rowan & Elias: SmackDown LIVE, May 14, 2019

At the end of the day, Rowan looks like a monster, acts like a monster and wrestles like a monster. Therefore, why not let him go and be a monster? This is one of those ideas that writes itself and WWE going with him now is better than rushing straight to Bryan on such short notice. It’s kind of nice to see them going with the better story instead of sticking with the schedule and it might work out just fine.

Overall, the center point of this all seems to come down to WWE having a lot of options to choose from. Rowan is certainly an acceptable choice as it leads….oh you get the idea already. Reigns can have a good match with just about anyone but it can be fun to think of some different combinations. Or of some wrestlers with so much talent actually getting to do something other than remind us that they still have a job.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the History Of In Your House.

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