Almost a year ago, I was writing the same kind of piece, asking myself who could be next for Brock Lesnar. My 5 choices at that time were Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. And I was seeing an outsider in Dean Ambrose.
Some tried to defeat The Beast and failed. Some requested a match they’ve never had. Some were drafted to SmackDown Live. One year later, Brock Lesnar is still the WWE Universal Champion, with a 420+ day reign. He’s defending the title once every 2 or 3 months. Well, nothing has changed.
But I decided to play the game again. Doing a Top 5 would make me sound like a broken record. This time I’ll explore with you some groups of wrestlers from the current RAW roster that could it for many different reasons. And because I’m as eNYGMatic as I can be, some choices may surprise you…
The “obvious” contenders
The fact Bray Wyatt is the current RAW Tag Team Champion and has deleted in the Broken Universe and Samoa Joe has been drafted to SmackDown Live may be the reason why they left the Super Top 5. But the fact is a year ago, Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens weren’t appearing as very serious contenders. And they proved us wrong.
As a former Universal Champion, Kevin Owens has forged his way to the top on SmackDown Live with epic matches against AJ Styles for the US title. Back on RAW, there’s no reason for Owens not to reclaim the gold he had defended for more than 180 days. The fact he and Lesnar have never squared off could make the challenge even more interesting.
When it comes to Braun Strowman, despite failing twice, he still remains the man that could beat the Man. Not only Strowman is strong, has no fears, but he’s become a fan favourite. If for the moment Strowman has only earned a green belt in Saudi Arabia, the Red title would be a well-deserved acknowledgement of his abilities and his power.
Roman Reigns may have come up short a few times, he still remains The Big Dog, a man who could bite The Beast so hard he would let the gold get out of his hands. But Reigns is still facing the hostility of the WWE Universe who’s definitely not decided to make him their hero.
Despite being the current Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins still makes the list. I’m not sure Brock Lesnar forgot how Rollins stole his title at WrestleMania 31. Ever since then, Lesnar and Rollins have never had an opportunity for a rematch. Rollins has never been better than right now, he definitely has the WWE Universe’s back. This moment could be HIS moment.
As the Inaugural Universal Champion, Finn Balor has asked many times to face Lesnar in order to reclaim a title he has never lost. Lesnar and Balor have never squared off which obviously would make the match a must-see. But since his comeback, Balor has been pretty stagnant. For sure, if he wants to defeat Lesnar, he will have to remove the smile from his face and replace it with the large jaw of The Demon…
New faces mean new challenges and with Bobby Roode, Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley, a new breed of competitors has emerged. None of them has already faced off Brock Lesnar and all of them would be more than happy to try to pass the test.
Bobby Lashley made his comeback on WrestleMania Monday, 11 years after leaving WWE. The younger generations found out about the potential of The Destroyer. Lashley has never won the WWE or Universal Championship in his long career and, at 41, that could be the ultimate challenge Lashley needs to definitely cement his legacy. Defeating Lesnar is within his capabilities, without any shadow of a doubt. Another must-see match to expect from them.
Since being drafted from SmackDown Live, Bobby Roode has been trying to find his way through the Red brand. But the truth is the former NXT Champion has a long past of success behind him. If his style may be a little too classic for Lesnar, the match between them would worth the glimpse because Roode knows how to push his opponents to their own limits.
Jinder Mahal is a former WWE Champion. He was supposed to wrestle Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, but AJ Styles won the belt in Manchester a few weeks before. I don’t see any reason why this match couldn’t happen because Mahal is exactly the kind of wrestler Lesnar loves to send to Suplex City. He’s vicious, ferocious and gutsy enough to make the Beast shake.
Baron Corbin is also a wrestler I wouldn’t have been able to talk about a year ago because he was in the blue brand. But things have changed ever since. The Lone Wolf is for the moment using No Way José as a punching bag. But he could in many ways be the perfect challenger for Brock Lesnar. A man who has no fear like Corbin is could definitely be a man who could slay the Beast and become Champion.
When Rey Mysterio became World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 22, defeating Randy Orton and Kurt Angle, some people started to laugh. How could a Cruiserweight become a Heavyweight Champion? If Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Elias and Drew McIntyre are not Cruiserweights, they have this ability to wrestle against all odds.
Dean Ambrose is the only one who already squared off with Lesnar, at WrestleMania 32, and to be honest the match wasn’t that bad. When he’s back from injury, Ambrose could try again and why not, succeed this time. When it comes to Dolph Ziggler, don’t forget he’s a former 2-time WWE Champion, so don’t try to teach an old dog new tricks. For a man who was asking for challenges in the Blue brand, this one could be the ultimate.
Elias, Drew McIntyre and Sami Zayn may have never worked with Lesnar, that may be their biggest asset. Since his debut in the main roster, Elias has made an impressive and surprising ride to the top. McIntyre has just made his first steps back on the main roster, but everyone knows what the man formerly known as The Chosen One has been able to show in a squared circle. Sami Zayn has been in quest of a WWE title since he arrived in the main roster. He’s not afraid to challenge bigger than him, like Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe or Bobby Lashley.
I was talking about not trying to teach an old dog new tricks but here are 4 people Brock Lesnar would probably look forward to wrestling.
The same way Goldberg surprised the world by making Lesnar come up short, Kurt Angle could be another surprise. In 2003 and 2004, Angle and Lesnar offered the fans a series of outstanding matches. Kurt Angle may have been injured at that time and then about to leave WWE, he defeated The Beast once. If Angle is ready for one last ride with WWE, a match against Lesnar would be perfect.
John Cena and Brock Lesnar have squared off many times since 2002. The fact is they trained together in OVW, they made their debut in the main roster the same year. Well, these men have known each other perfectly. As he is slowly turning the page of his wrestling career, Super Cena could do something huge in a probably last but unique ride. Same, Triple H and Brock Lesnar is another long story. And like for Cena, if Triple H wanted to make a last ride in the wrestling business, a match against Lesnar would be the exclamation point of an incredible career.
I can hear some of you cringe because I chose Ronda Rousey. The fact is since her very first appearance alongside The Rock at WrestleMania 31, Ronda Rousey has been depicted as a woman who can beat a man. Since her debut with the Red Brand, I can’t help but ask myself what the women’s roster can offer to her as real competition. Ronda Rousey is able to destroy anyone, whatever the gender is. Of course, Brock Lesnar would be a hell of a challenge. But I’m firmly convinced Ronda Rousey could do and be what Miss Jacqueline or Chyna did before, fight men and win male titles.
All pics courtesy of WWE