As he begins a feud with Kevin Owens that looks to culminate in a match at TLC next month, Roman Reigns' next challenger looks to have already been decided: Daniel Bryan. A potential showdown between Reigns and Bryan is one of major star power and one of the top matches that the SmackDown brand can offer at this moment. The way that television has gone down in recent weeks, a match between the pair seemed like an inevitability.
It was stated on a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that Bryan vs. Reigns is in fact being planned for the Royal Rumble, one of the biggest WWE PPV shows of the year. We would expect Bryan to start being built up as a threat soon, though he did just suffer a loss to Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn on last week's SmackDown. Bryan is involved with the SmackDown creative team and will have some say on how the story plays out.
Bryan vs. Reigns seemed like a logical direction ever since Bryan was attacked by Jey Uso on a SmackDown episode at the end of October as Uso went through his transformation of trying to please Reigns. Bryan returned to television three weeks later, defeating Uso on SmackDown.
While some thought Bryan vs. Reigns could happen at TLC, the thought process was likely that a match of that magnitude should be reserved for a bigger event like the Rumble. With Reigns needing a challenger in the interim, Kevin Owens stepped up.
Friday night's SmackDown saw Owens attack Jey Uso with a chair in the show-closing angle in order to get Reigns' attention. Owens and Paul Heyman then had a sitdown interview segment that aired on Talking Smack on Saturday morning.
Heyman said, "You could say, 'I want that to be me. I want my reputation to live on for 100 years from now. I want to be a multi-time WrestleMania main eventer. I want to be a legend above all legends, an icon above all icons. The way to do that, and this is where it's interesting for me, is it's at Roman Reigns' expense. A champion is only as great as the challengers that he puts down. Nobody else around here may realize that you're the number one contender, but I do. Because I know how twisted that brain is, and you're looking at an opportunity here to get to Roman Reigns and solidify your legacy."
"You know what I am, Paul?" Owens said. "I'm not a good guy, I'm not a bad guy, I'm the guy that's going to beat Roman Reigns and take the Universal Championship from him."