At long last, a new World Heavyweight Championship has been introduced to WWE and will give superstars from Monday Night Raw a prize to fight for.
Triple H revealed the title on the April 25 edition of Raw, explaining how it will be on the opposing brand to Roman Reigns and that the champion will be decided at Night of Champions on May 28 in Saudi Arabia.
With the Tribal Chief staying on Smackdown in the WWE Draft, it confirmed the World Heavyweight Championship would be exclusive to the red brand and options have now opened on who could capture the title.
Raw bolstered its top tier stocks in the WWE Draft, with a tournament to decide the final at Jeddah starting soon.
With that being said, The Inner Sanctum will analyse the top five contenders who could emerge as the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Finn Balor of The Judgment Day is a sleeper to win the new World Heavyweight Championship.
His faction is currently being built as the most dominant in the company outside of The Bloodline, and capturing the title would further strengthen their credentials.
It would also compliment Rhea Ripley becoming the new Smackdown Women’s Champion, while giving Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio a chance to win tag team gold later down the road.
All members of The Judgment Day holding championships simultaneously may be unlikely, but Balor should be in the conversation to win the World Heavyweight Title.
He also became the inaugural Universal Champion at SummerSlam 2016, but had to unfortunately relinquish the title the next night due to injury and it will always be unknown how his reign would have unfolded if healthy.
A World Heavyweight Championship triumph would compensate for that and give Balor a second chance at the top of the card.
Matt Riddle is another wildcard who could emerge from Saudi Arabia as the new World Heavyweight Champion.
The Original Bro recently returned from injury to tackle The Bloodline, joining forces with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to equalise the situation.
With no World Heavyweight Championship present prior to April 25, Riddle was always going to struggle to compete for the Undisputed Universal Title.
He challenged Roman Reigns for the gold on the June 18 edition of Smackdown, losing that match and not being allowed to receive another opportunity while the Tribal Chief is champion.
Now, the Original Bro has another chance at claiming a major championship and could even revisit his hostile rivalry with Seth Rollins from last year in pursuit.
However, he is the least likely of the five contenders and could instead slot into a feud against Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship.
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Drew McIntyre was always a credible threat to dethrone Roman Reigns and with the implementation of the new World Heavyweight Championship, it presents him with another chance at glory.
The Scottish Warrior has been victim to the Tribal Chief holding two world championships, feeling lost with other directions and competing in the mid-card when he should be placed higher in the pecking order.
However, McIntyre has been absent since WrestleMania and blacked out his Twitter profile which has led to fans sharing different beliefs.
He could be injured and if that is the case, he would be unlikely to partake in the upcoming tournament to crown the new champion.
McIntyre could also be undergoing a change in persona, transitioning from a face to a heel and potentially rebirthing his Scottish Psychopath gimmick.
If the latter is correct and he comes back in time, he is a legitimate chance to walk out of Saudi Arabia with gold around his shoulder and many would be thrilled.
It would also compensate for the Scottish Warrior winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 36 in the performance centre, finally receiving a crowning moment in front of fans.
Even if he were not to become the first champion, McIntyre should still receive his opportunity down the line and he deserves it for being a key pillar in WWE during the pandemic.
Although Cody Rhodes may be fixated on the Undisputed Universal Championship, WWE could still explore him capturing the World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions.
The American Nightmare was drafted on the opposing brand to Roman Reigns, which may have increased the possibility of claiming the new championship at Jeddah.
Rhodes has a convoluted path back to the Tribal Chief if WWE is not flexible with the brand split, as a trade or Money in the Bank win would be his only methods of landing on Smackdown to challenge Reigns.
Winning the World Heavyweight Championship would also drift away from his motive, as the American Nightmare has always been set on winning the WWE Title that his late father never secured.
If in the tournament, Rhodes could advance to the final and still lose. It would be more adversity to face and he has his story with the Tribal Chief he is emphatic on finishing, as a title win in Saudi Arabia may sour fans who want to see him dethrone Reigns.
However, WWE may have a different plan for the Undisputed Universal Champion and there is some speculation that Reigns will hold his gold until WrestleMania 40. If true, it would be too long of a wait for Rhodes and could signal that the company may have another option to defeat the Tribal Chief.
Therefore, it could mean the American Nightmare wins the World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions.
Only time will tell.
Seth Rollins is the overwhelming favourite to capture the World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions, and rightfully so.
Much like Drew McIntyre, the Visionary also deserves to win the title and has creatively suffered with Roman Reigns holding both the Universal and WWE Championships.
Rollins has been stuck on Raw’s midcard, previously holding the United States Title for only 47 days and could have had a longer tenure with the belt. That is not to say anything against Austin Theory, but it served the Visionary no justice.
What also increases Rollins’ credentials and perhaps makes him the most credible superstar to win at Night of Champions, is the fact that he has never lost to Roman Reigns in their Premium Live Event matches.
The last time the two met was at last year’s Royal Rumble, where the Visionary won by disqualification and was never given a rematch.
A victory in Saudi Arabia would compensate for that and officially place Rollins at the top of the mountain on Raw, with possible feuds against the likes of Gunther, Matt Riddle, Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens when he drops the tag team titles.
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