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Forbes
Forbes
1 Jul 2023


Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins has cemented himself as one of WWE's most beloved stars. (Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty ... [+] Images)

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WWE Money in the Bank 2023 marked the continuation of Seth Rollins’ first World title reign since 2019, but where “The Visionary” goes from here is anyone’s guess.

Inside a jam-packed O2 Arena in London, Rollins defeated his longtime nemesis Finn Balor to retain the World Heavyweight Championship, oddly enough at least in part due to a distraction from Balor’s Judgment Day buddy Damian Priest. That was the second time Rollins defeated Balor in a major match in as many months, which is good news for Rollins as he looks to maintain the momentum that has cemented him as one of WWE’s most popular stars.

WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship scene on Monday Night Raw, however, is, well, a bit of a mess. Its biggest issue? No clear contender for Rollins moving forward.

Balor and Judgment Day have been getting lots of praise backstage as one of the most important acts on Raw, which just drew its highest viewership since April. Raw’s rating success can, at least in part, be contributed to stars like Judgment Day’s Balor, Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio doing tremendous work with their characters.

But with Gunther, Raw’s top heel, holding the midcard Intercontinental Championship, Rollins already getting past Balor and neither Priest nor Mysterio being cemented as a top attraction, the red brand has a main eventer problem. More specifically, Raw badly needs a main event antagonist who can approach the level of Roman Reigns on SmackDown.

Where that villain will come from, though, is unclear, and it may, in fact, may be impossible.

WWE has the best of both worlds with Reigns. He’s both a must-see villain and wildly popular, so much so that he’s a big draw for WWE not just as a ratings mover but as a merchandise seller as well. SmackDown’s viewership has soared with Reigns as one perhaps the best “final boss” villain in WWE history, but one thing that is already holding Rollins back is the lack of heel challengers.

Babyface champions already are fighting an uphill battle because, generally speaking, it’s more entertaining when a fan favorite chases a title than holds one. But the World Heavyweight Championship, despite the popularity of Rollins and his consistently strong performances, is quite clearly WWE’s second most important world title.

That can change, but the only way it will is if Raw develops or brings back some strong villains as opponents for Rollins.

WWE has some choices in that regard, too. Perhaps it’s Randy Orton. Maybe Gunther is elevated from the upper midcard sooner than expected, but he’s set to feud with a returning Drew McIntyre. Maybe even someone from NXT XT , like Bron Breakker, rises to the occasion.

Whoever it is, WWE needs to do something about Raw’s World Heavyweight title picture because Priest and Balor appear headed for a split, and as good as Rollins is, he can’t carry the title scene on his own.