We’re in a new year and that means it’s time to move forward towards the Royal Rumble and ultimately WrestleMania 36. With so many things going on, it can be easy to forget what matters most in the wrestling world. Despite what WWE may seem interested in telling you, the title situations are often the most important things on any show, especially WrestleMania. This year should be no exception and….dang we’re in a weird place with this one.

For the first time since Survivor Series, both World Champions are around and actually defending their titles. With Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship on Monday Night Raw and the Fiend’s Universal Championship on SmackDown both in play, there is definitely a feeling that things are more important. Despite Lesnar not defending his title at the Royal Rumble (so far at least) and Wyatt defending in a rematch from Survivor Series, it makes things feel big for a change and that’s what matters the most.

With less than three months to go before WrestleMania 36, we’re in a curious spot for the World Titles. Lesnar doesn’t have an opponent and a lot of fans are worried about seeing Roman Reigns be the one to take the title from the Fiend. That may not put them in the best positions, but I’m oddly intrigued by both of them. We’re going to be looking at where both champions stand today and what they might be doing going forward towards Tampa, which could make for some fun times.

Lesnar has a good idea:

Both champions are in an interesting place at the moment and I’m not sure which one has more of my attention. On the one hand you have Lesnar, who is looking for an opponent, hence the whole entering the Royal Rumble at #1. That presents us with a major problem in the form of one of those “special” main events that WWE likes to present. Are we really going to be seeing Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez again or even Tyson Fury at WrestleMania? That doesn’t present the best option, but maybe things can get a little bit better in the meantime.

The biggest problem with Velasquez and Fury….ok one of the biggest problems with Velasquez or Fury getting the show is how many people that leaves off. You could come up with all kinds of names to challenge Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania but instead we might be stuck with the “special attraction” match which won’t attract very many people but will certainly annoy the average wrestling fan. I know WWE thinks that having Lesnar vs. Velasquez III is some great idea when they’ve fought for about seven minutes combined, but sweet goodness it continues to defy the point of having a regular roster in the first place.

The other option for Lesnar is to have him drop the title early, but unless he’s defending in the Royal Rumble, I’m not sure I can imagine him working three pay per views in the first quarter of the year. WWE certainly doesn’t like the idea of burning through that many of his appearances (though they didn’t mind having him win Money in the Bank and beating Kofi Kingston in ten seconds). Maybe he loses the title early though, perhaps in the Elimination Chamber, but I can’t really see that happening. I know it’s a better idea and something better than Velasquez or Fury getting a title shot, but when has that stopped WWE before?

Then you have the Fiend and I’m really not sure where to go with this one. It’s one of the most fascinating characters in wrestling in a long time and he is even impacting everyone he faces (Finn Balor: heel turn, Seth Rollins: heel turn, Daniel Bryan: brings back the YES Movement and the Miz: heel turn) so whoever faces him could be in for a major change of pace.

That’s a champion to me:

What I like best about this is it feels intentional. Fiend’s victims have talked about how he changes them and that seems to be what he is doing with them all. That’s a cool twist and something you don’t get with anyone else. Even when you would hear people talk about being scared of the Undertaker, it would come and go without much really changing for most of his opponents. This raises the stakes a bit as the challengers might have something to lose for a change and there is a lineup of changed opponents to show what happens when they face the Fiend.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that Reigns is getting the title shot against the Fiend and that Fiend will retain the title all the way until WrestleMania. This doesn’t exactly thrill me, but there would be an awesome story to be told about Reigns getting back the title that he never lost. Couple that with him overcoming the best monster WWE has had since Kane and they could be onto something.

Now that being said, I’m not completely sure that Reigns would be the one to take the title from the Fiend. It seems like it might be too easy of a path to take, though that seems to be something WWE certainly likes to do. Going with Reigns taking the title off of the Fiend is something very safe and while it could make for a cool moment, I don’t know how much of a spark it is going to create. WWE has found something special in the Fiend and I would really hope that they don’t just drop his title reign because it’s WrestleMania. Fiend is going to lose a lot as soon as he drops the title, but that goes with the monster territory.

Then there’s this idea:

Bray Wyatt sets his sights on Brock Lesnar at WWE Roadblock: SmackDown, March 3, 2016

That leaves you with one final option (which won’t happen but could be cool): Lesnar vs. the Fiend in a pretty incredible showdown. These two have teased fighting a few times before, although it was during the regular Bray Wyatt days. I’m not sure how well Wyatt vs. Paul Heyman in a promo duel would be, but seeing the two monsters going at it could be rather entertaining. If nothing else, you can imagine how many times you could hear Michael Cole saying “IT’S THE BEAST AGAINST THE FIEND!” over and over again.

As for how the match would go….sweet goodness I have no idea. That’s a match that could go either way but really, it’s time for something to change up with Lesnar. What in the world is the appeal supposed to be these days? Wait around to see him show up and beat up one more top challenger as we get to build to someone taking the title off of him so that he can win it back a few months later? Fiend may not have the longest shelf life (though he may) but he’s a lot more interesting than whatever Lesnar is doing. Lesnar may be great when he’s in the ring, but that happens so infrequently that it really isn’t quite working anymore.

The more I think about it, the more interesting these two champions are at the moment. They have a lot of things going for them but neither is perfect. What matters the most is that we are getting closer to the Road To WrestleMania 36 and we have some powerful champions ready to face off with some top names at the biggest show of the year.

Now….the easy question to ask is how WWE is going to manage to screw these things up. I mean, we very well may be in for Lesnar retaining and Fiend dropping the title to Reigns, setting up another showdown between the two. I’m not sure how well either match is going to go but both of them are in a prime place to see what they have in them at the top level. Now just don’t screw it up, as WWE tends to do.

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 kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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