Up until a few weeks ago, it looked to be a certainty that the first challenger for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title would have been Braun Strowman. The monster among men was on a tear through the Raw locker room and had just come off a monumental victory against Roman Reigns at Payback. Unfortunately, Braun was injured and after surgery was ruled out for the next few months. This meant that the Lesnar was without a challenger for July’s Great Balls of Fire PPV.
This lead to the big announcement on Raw that there would be a fatal fiveway matchup at Extreme Rules, combining several of Raw’s top feuds to make a major main event at the upcoming PPV. The contestants of the match are Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor and Roman Reigns, in this article, I will go through each of the competitors of the matchup and their chances of earning the right to be the man to challenge Brock Lesnar.
As with any big match that he enters, Roman Reigns comes into the fatal fiveway bout as one of the favorites to win. He rarely loses clean and WWE never keeps him out of title contention for too long. His win over Finn Balor last week on Raw was a statement of intent from The Big Dog as he avenged the loss he suffered to Balor last summer. That win helped to build some momentum after his loss to Braun Strowman at Payback.
Even Paul Heyman has plugged the potential clash between The Big Dog and the Beast, wanting to pit together the two men who have defeated The Undertaker at Wrestlemania in a showdown to see who most dominant superstar in the company really is.
However there is one thing that will hurt Reigns chances of coming out of the match as the winner, rumours persist that WWE are planning for the clash between Reigns and Lesnar to happen at Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans, meaning that the company will probably keep the two from crossing paths until the build-up for the biggest show of the year.
After dropping the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then being moved to Raw as part of the Superstar Shakeup, many would have thought that Bray Wyatt would have found himself once again in mid-card purgatory. All signs pointed to a potential feud with Finn Balor. It is a potential fued that Bray most likely would come out second best as with so many of his high-profile programs. With that in mind, it is refreshing to see him in the Universal Title picture.
Wyatt has looked strong in the build-up thus far. He stood tall at the end of Raw on May 15th after his match against Seth Rollins. The eater of worlds ended up getting the better of not just Rollins, but an interfering Samoa Joe. He again looked strong this week teaming with Joe to a victory against Rollins and Reigns.
WWE has teased a potential Wyatt and Lesnar rivalry before but has yet to pull the trigger on the feud. Now may be the time, however, Bray is still in the process of rebuilding his credibility particularly after the disappointing end to his months-long rivalry with Randy Orton. It is more likely that Wyatt will be the man who takes the fall in the fatal fiveway.
Prior to the Fatal Fiveway announcement, we had a piece on what to do with the Universal Title which you can read by clicking here!
Samoa Joe’s run on the main roster is yet to really kick on, he has mainly played the mercenary for Triple H in his battle against Seth Rollins and also had a fairly one-sided feud against Sami Zayn. Other than that has yet to do anything of any real note on Raw thus far. In many ways, the reason Joe is in the match is that he was already in the middle of his feud with Seth Rollins that was likely to end at Extreme Rules anyway.
That’s not to say that Joe isn’t deserving of a shot at Brock and his title. He is one of the most physically dominant superstars on the Raw roster. He looks to be one of the few men that would be able to go toe to toe with Lesnar. It would be different than the usually one-sided contests the beast is involved in. Joe got a much-needed momentum boost this week on Raw when he picked up the victory over Seth Rollins in the tag team main event. It’s a win that makes sure that Joe won’t be an afterthought at Extreme Rules.
When it comes to the match itself, however, Joe will ultimately fall short for a number of reasons. WWE may not want to go with a heel vs heel championship match and he hasn’t quite been built up to a world championship level just yet. Then again, Jinder Mahal has proved that anything is possible when it comes to world title contenders.
Seth Rollins is someone who has a history with Brock Lesnar. They clashed during Lesnar’s WWE title run a few years back and of course when Rollins cashed in the Money in the bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 31. That cash in led to their rematch at Battleground that year which was hampered by interference from The Undertaker. Rollins has put in his claim for a title opportunity several times over the last few weeks. For Rollins, it is a fitting conclusion to his road to redemption after defeating Triple H at WrestleMania.
Even with him coming up short lately, Rollins has a good chance of coming out of Extreme Rules a winner. His feud with Joe seems to be coming to the end. If so, it could free him up for a match with Lesnar. Wyatt and Balor could end up occupied with their own feud that has been building up for the past month.
The last man in the fatal five-way match is possibly the man with the best claim to a title bout. Finn Balor relinquished the title the night after his victory at Summerslam last year following his shoulder injury. To this day he has yet to have a match for the belt that he never actually lost.
Balor has been booked very strong since his main roster debut last year. His only clean loss came at the hands of Roman Reigns this past week. That loss put the superstars at one win apiece against each other. He was victorious in a fairly standard singles match against former Bullet Club companion Karl Anderson this week. That win took a backseat to the promo before the match between Balor and Heyman. It was probably the biggest indication that Balor may be the man to challenge Brock. Paul Heyman came out to address each of the contestants in the match dismissing their chances. Things got interesting when he focused in on Balor in particular. Balor responded by sending Heyman away with a message for the Beast.
Finn is coming for the Universal Championship!
The main thing that could stop Balor at Extreme Rules is his already growing rivalry against Wyatt. It may lead to him coming up short at the end of the night. We all know plans constantly change so that feud may be put on hold if WWE does decide to go full steam ahead with The Demon vs The Beast!
All of the competitors go into the fatal five-way with a realistic enough chance of coming out victorious. It will be interesting to see who will earn the chance to challenge Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire. Although there are some that would be favorites to win the bout for a number of reasons, WWE has proven in recent months that anything is possible. They may just throw a curveball when it comes to the universal title picture.