WWE's Rumored Plans for the Universal Championship

This Monday, WWE announced a multi-man number one contender match for Extreme Rules. While the field is only partially filled out, Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam dancing partner may have already been chosen.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE's original plan of Roman Reigns challenging Lesnar for the Universal Championship is still at play. The Observer notes that it's likely Reigns win in Brooklyn, but his victory may be short-lived due to Braun Strowman and his Money in the Bank briefcase.

The report didn't specify WWE's plans for Strowman but it does look to tip Reign's big win at Extreme Rules next month. Right now, only Bobby Lashley is booked for the multi-man match, but names like Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins seem like logical participants as well.

It's Rollins' name, in particular, that is most compelling. Now that Dolph Ziggler lifted the Intercontinental Championship off of The Kingslayer, fans have theorized that this frees up Rollins to pursue The Beast. He'll have to fall short in his rematch with Ziggler next week on RAW before he can officially toss his name in the hat, but his loss looks to be a formality.

While WWE has yet to hesitate to put Reigns in their top spots, Rollins may be ready to challenge him as Vince McMahon's brightest option. Rollins has enjoyed the best stretch of his WWE career in recent months and appear ready to be launched into WWE's main event. However, leapfrogging Roman Reigns may prove to be a tall order.

WWE has preserved Reigns and Lesnar's story for nearly four years. 2018 specifically has been built around Roman's quest to finally slay the beast. It was presumed he'd do that at WrestleMania 34, but we were all swerved when Lenser emerged the victory. Similar expectation preceded their rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble but Lesnar yet again escaped with his title. These pair of high profile losses could justify the end of Reigns' championship opportunities, but per the Observer WWE still favors him for SummerSlam.

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If Reigns is to win at Extreme Rules, WWE will use it as proof Reigns "earned" his SummerSlam bid, rather than simply being handed another massive opportunity. For now, consider his win at the July pay-per-view likely, but far from guaranteed.

If Rollins continues to grow in popularity and nabs a spot in the Extreme Rules match, WWE may have a hard time denying such an organic rise to superstardom.