There was a poll on Yahoo! at the end of last week asking who fans wanted to see win the Universal title on Raw. Like more than 70% of the people taking part in the poll, I went with Kevin Owens. The logic was simple. Former champs Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins would cancel each other out, and Big Cass just wasn't ready to be in this position. He was in, you might think, because Rusev, the US champ, was "injured" and unable to go in what would be an elimination match.
But no one saw it coming. "It" being the return of Triple H, who not only collected a receipt on Reigns from Wrestlemania, but also screwed over Rollins, the former organizational golden boy, to get Owens to the promised land. As a result, Owens joins Rollins as the only ones to complete the Ring of Honor/NXT/WWE hat trick. If we're lucky, Samoa Joe will be next should he be called up, and probably will, and in Joe's case, it'd be a grand slam, since he also has a TNA title on his resume.
Digressing. While the fans fawned on Owens with chants of "You deserve it!", which Finn Balor had gotten a week earlier in Brooklyn, the new champ is swept into the midst of another McMahon family soap opera. Rollins was shown in a WWE.com exclusive video after Raw confronting Stephanie, while Mick Foley tried playing peacemaker. Steph could be heard audibly stating she didn't know what her husband had in mind.
There are multiple options here.
1. There could be a rehash of an old angle from 2000. Simply sub Rollins for the more charismatic and genuinely funny Kurt Angle as the "other man" coming between HHH & Stephanie, and you get the idea. Rollins, you see, does have the rock star look, having taken the blond patch out of his hair, but has all the charisma of a broken stapler. That would conceivably turn Rollins babyface after being a heel for most of his run, and the last face run didn't last long (3 months in 2014).
2. Hunter could be upset that Stephanie went with Foley, an old nemesis, as GM over the Cerebral Assassin, but the truth is he has a higher position anyway, and being GM would lead to complaints about reviving the Authority gimmick, which had long since worn out its welcome. So far, Mick has played the good soldier, putting past issues aside for the good of the company.
3. But what about Brock Lesnar? Did Stephanie fall for Paul Heyman's shell game of an apology? Probably, but we won't know for sure. A $500 fine to Lesnar was a joke to begin with. Hunter might think that the fine wasn't big enough, and that he may be the only one who can stop Lesnar should the Beast engage in another rampage like he did at Summerslam. Bank on this still being a possibility, but down the line, like, say, at Survivor Series in November.
The dirt sheets are already speculating that this could lead to Rollins & HHH finally facing each other in a singles match at Wrestlemania next spring. I wouldn't wait that long. I think Triple H could face Rollins at Survivor Series and a rematch with Lesnar at Wrestlemania, or the reverse, then hang 'em up for good, and prepare to enter the Hall of Fame himself.
As I wrote here last week, the likely reason why Rollins didn't get the Universal title may be because of his reputed reckless, careless in-ring performances against Balor, Sting, and John Cena. Kevin Owens, then, is a safer bet as champion, but I have a feeling he won't be headlining Wrestlemania. Rollins will---against a returning Balor. And all will be right with the world again.
For now, Owens can savor the moment. The regular guy is on top again, and for WWE's sake, that's the way it should be.