WWE's Original Plan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 38

WWE has shuffled around a few of its plans since the start of 2021 ever since Roman Reigns was forced to pull out of Day 1 after testing positive for COVID-19. The end result now has a newly-crowned WWE Champion Brock Lesnar taking on Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble while Seth Rollins has crossed brands to challenge Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. Reports previously popped up that Rollins was originally going to win the WWE Championship at Day 1 back when it was a four-way match, and according to Dave Meltzer via the Wrestling Observer one of the headlining WrestleMania 38 matches was originally going to be Rollins vs. Big E for the WWE title. 

It's not out of the question that the two could still clash at WrestleMania, but now Rollins would have to dethrone Reigns at the Royal Rumble and E would need to win the Men's Royal Rumble match. Plus the two just wrestled on this week's Raw so the novelty of the match is already gone. 

E spoke with Sports Illustrated this week and reflected on his first WWE Championship reign. He admitted some disappointment, saying, "I wanted it to be a five-course meal, and it was more of an appetizer. I'm overly critical of my work to begin with, so I wouldn't say I was happy with it. My hope was to knock it out of the park, and I fell a bit short. So it's motivating to start that climb back. I'm not comfortable being just a guy on the roster. I'm not good with going back to the way it was before. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to see it end that way. And it's not anything against Brock. Brock is a very special athlete, human and performer. There is no shame in losing to Brock Lesnar. I took a moment to soak in the sadness. The highs of winning, like at Money in the Bank or cashing in, those are incredible. But the lows suck, too. And that's motivation to fuel me. This is my chance to show another side of me. It's time to turn up the intensity. My role with The New Day is so often comedic relief, but I don't want to be one-dimensional. I want to be as well-rounded and as whole a performer as possible."

He also addressed the comparisons to Kofi Kingston, who also dropped his WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar and wasn't given a rematch — "I don't want to position it as learning from Kofi's missteps. I know what his intentions were, and mine would have been the same. He didn't do anything wrong. But I have learned that losing this title hurts. I love being myself and being entertaining, but you can't go from dropping a world championship to saying everything is golden. This title meant a lot to me, and it meant to a lot of people, too. My focus is clawing back to that spot."