Even though the US Championship tournament is in its infant stages, the results may have already been decided.
A report from Cagesideseats suggests that the tournament's final round will set Jinder Mahal and Bobby Roode against one another. Even more, they assert that it will be Roode who becomes the new US Champion.
If things do unfold as such, it wouldn't be too much of a deviation from early predictions. Given that most of the tournament's field was unlikely to be given such a big opportunity, a former WWE Champion like Mahal and a highly touted NXT call-up like Roode made for easy choices to jockey for the belt.
Roode becoming US Champion could the launching point his devoted fan base has been awaiting. However, earlier reports signal that Roode's reign as US Champion will almost instantly be contested by Dolph Ziggler.
Over the weekend, news broke that WWE is concocting a story reminiscent of WrestleMania 10's iconic feud between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. Like Michaels did, Ziggler "left" the company as a title holder. However, Michaels would make a return after Ramon become Intercontinental Champion and the dispute over the true champion lead to the greatest ladder match of all time.
The current expectations have WWE uncorking a similar, if not identical, premise for Ziggler's return.
The choice of Roode marks another data point in a declining trend for Jinder Mahal. After spending half of 2017 as WWE Champion, the Modern Day Maharaja continues to slide down WWE's card. This isn't exactly a surprise as most felt that Mahal's reign as champ was dubious at best, but now there's an increasing chance that Mahal finds himself back in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
For Roode, this would be the first time WWE dedicated itself to giving him creative direction in months. Ever since his debut feud with Ziggler, he's been all too arbitrary, but this could be the beginning of a big push.