Just who is the top star in WWE?
In the opening moments of Raw last week, Roman Reigns announced that he has been living with leukemia for 11 years and the disease’s return would force him to relinquish the Universal Championship and take a leave of absence from WWE.
Pretty much as soon Reigns made his WWE debut as part of The Shield in 2012, WWE officials planned to make him the guy who would eventually replace John Cena as the top star in the company.
“Since 2012, Reigns was the guy in the on-deck circle, the handpicked replacement for Cena. He was supposed to take the spot in 2015,” Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
“While it was delayed, with Cena pretty much gone as far as full-time wrestling goes, he’s had the spot since beating Cena in a program and nobody else was considered. The feeling was that it was a spot they probably didn’t have to worry about for five or more years, giving them ample time to find somebody new.
“The one decision they figured they wouldn’t have to worry about for years is now one they have to make.”
Meltzer also noted that WWE never wavered on Reigns being “the guy” no matter how much the fans booed him.
“The company never wavered in its belief that he was the guy no matter how negative the crowds often were toward him, partially because Cena had been the company’s biggest merchandise seller and live ticket draw while getting a similar reaction,” Meltzer wrote.
It would appear that “the guy” doesn’t necessarily have to be a guy.
With Reigns out of the picture, WWE officials now perceive Ronda Rousey as the company’s top draw.
This is according to WWE insider Brad Shepard, who was told this by a WWE source.
A source in #WWE telling me who the main draw is in the company right now: “Ronda’s absolutely the main draw right now.”
— Brad Shepard (@TheBradShepard) October 31, 2018