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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Roman Reigns set for Intercontinental title run after beating John Cena at WWE No Mercy

Reigns to feud with Miz with Lesnar off TV in a rivalry that could have bonus of a potential reunion of the Shield in the near future.

Roman Reigns has had a strong 2017, beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania and John Cena at No Mercy, and challenging for the Intercontinental title appears to be next on the list for the WWE superstar. Image courtesy of WWE. Image courtesy of WWE.
Roman Reigns has had a strong 2017, beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania and John Cena at No Mercy, and challenging for the Intercontinental title appears to be next on the list for the WWE superstar. Image courtesy of WWE. Image courtesy of WWE.

The latest WWE network special No Mercy, which took place on Sunday, is in the books and completed. Here are some talking points on what we learnt from the event and what to watch for in the coming weeks of WWE programming.

Reigns set for Intercontinental title

With Brock Lesnar still the WWE Universal champion after No Mercy, and not set to be on WWE programming anytime soon, the question is what next for Roman Reigns?

Reigns should be set for a title shot after beating John Cena, but that match appears to be clearly being held back until WrestleMania 34 next April in New Orleans.

So, six months is a lot of time to fill for Reigns, who is clearly the WWE's No 1 guy, even if he is not holding the title.

The fact he is appearing on Miz TV on Monday with Intercontinental champion the Miz is a clear pointer in where Reigns is heading.

He has never held the Intercontinental title, and a feud with Miz could carry him over until December at least if booked right.

Miz has done a cracking job as champion and as one of the best heels in the WWE will make for a good foil for Reigns.

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With Lesnar off TV, the Intercontinental title is the biggest belt on Raw, so it does make sense for Reigns to target it, especially if he is antagonised by Miz on Raw.

That would likely be the main event at TLC on October 22 and Reigns will almost certainly win the match there to become champion.

The only concern is that he and the WWE must treat the belt with more importance then when he won the United States title off Rusev this time last year.

Reigns barely defended it and it was treated as an afterthought and it was a relief when Chris Jericho pinned him in January to get it away from him.

Now, if Reigns is an active Intercontinental champion, duelling with Miz and the rest of the top of the card, until WrestleMania season kicks in early in 2018 then this could be good.

It also sets up the possibility of a Shield reunion with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at Survivor Series if they wanted a 3x3 tag match with the Miz and his Miztourage of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.

Overall, it will raise the importance of the belt, keep Reigns busy, and add to a good narrative of him being ready to finally beat Lesnar in a singles match at WrestleMania.

It is a good story. A fourth world title reign coming after a year in which he beat the Undertaker and John Cena, and also won the Intercontinental title. It just needs to be booked correctly. Over to you WWE.

Strowman damaged

The WWE had a chance to do something new and give Braun Strowman his first world title reign.

He had been booked like the proverbial monster since WrestleMania, and was white hot going into his match with Lesnar at No Mercy.

A win would have kept that momentum going and would have given WWE the chance to see just how hard they could push him.

It would have also ensured the Universal title was on TV screens every week, rather than sporadically with Lesnar.

But, instead the WWE went with tried and tested and had Lesnar pin Strowman to retain.

The manner of the loss was particularly concerning. Yes, Strowman manhandled Lesnar a bit, but once he had been put in the kimura lock hold on his arm he was visibly struggling, and one F-5 was enough to put him down for the three count.

There were ways of Lesnar retaining without weakening Strowman and this was definitely not it.

The monster element to Strowman's character will take some rebuilding after this, and it was dispiriting that it was at the hands of a part-timer.

WWE needs new stars, and they have a lot of work to do now with Strowman, who like a lot of the Raw locker room is now facing a number of months staring at a glass ceiling with no world title to go after, with Lesnar reportedly not due to work again until January.

Best of the rest

Finn Balor's feud-ending win over Bray Wyatt should set him up for a good end to 2017. He looks right now the most likely man to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble in January, unless WWE goes down the route of a rematch with Strowman.

Expect a strong performance at Survivor Series in November from the Demon to keep his momentum up.

With options limited as singles performers right now, expect Ambrose and Rollins to stay in the tag division as champions for the forseeable future.

It was the right call for Alexa Bliss to remain champion in the Raw Women's division after she retained following her 5-way match with Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Bayley and Emma.

With Asuka debuting at TLC, it will be interesting to see if the woman who dominated the NXT women's division goes straight for the title, or whether she goes through someone else, like maybe Emma to start with.

Mickie James, Bayley and Sasha Banks are also other possible opponents she could face, and beat, before challenging for the gold.

It is vital she is kept unbeaten, as she was in NXT, so it may be best to have her build up to a title shot by going through the roster, and have her take the title from Bliss or Jax at Survivor Series.