First, we have to get the Randy Orton business out of the way. If you’ve paid any attention to WWE, and wrestling in general, over the past few years, then you would have noticed that when a new champ is crowned and gives the former champ a rematch, the former champ does not get the belt right back. In the Miz’s case this is even more paramount because he had the MITB briefcase all those months. Why have him win the belt, just to give it right back? Makes no sense. So let’s assume that Miz somehow gets passed Orton. WWE Cretaive will have the task of making Orton still look strong through this. But that’s their problem.
So who will be next? Who will challenge Miz at the Royal Rumble? I’m not going to go through the Santino’s of the world. Let’s look at challengers with a real shot of moving into a program with the Awesome One. Also, we must be sure to look at the event. The Rumble. The Royal Rumble match is the main event here. It always has been. And because that’s the case the WWE sometimes will take a chance and bring along a mid-carder and give them a shot at the championship(s).
Another way of putting it would be the WWE gives guys title shots even though everyone knows they have no shot of winning. This helps the champ(s) look stronger heading into Wrestlemania. Examples of this would be Undertaker over Mysterio (2010), Cena over JBL (09), Batista over Kennedy (07), Angle over Mark Henry (06), and Cena over Umaga. (07)
Since 2005, there have been 12 championship matches at the Rumble. 2 per year. The WWE and World titles. In 10 of the 12 matches the champion has retained. The exceptions to the rule are Cena over Edge in 06 and Edge over Jeff Hardy in 09.
So, let’s assume Miz will win at the Rumble and it will be against a worthy, but beatable opponent and hopefully not one of the “main eventers” that litter the pay per view main events month after month. I see two possibilities that fit into this category. Morrison and Bryan. R-Truth would be a third possibility but I think the other two have a better shot because of the built in storylines. Daniel Bryan is a no brainer because he would deliver in the ring, and would lose clean without taking too big of a hit to his momentum. He also has the US title because he made Miz tap out on two consecutive pay per views. That’s a built in storyline. Morrison has the tag team history with the Miz and the fans have wanted a program between the two since they split. Morrison has a bigger risk attached, though. I think if he loses clean it will be tougher for him to recover. So what about a triple threat match? Have Miz pin Bryan, so Morrison doesn’t look bad.
As for the bigger names, they could go into the Rumble itself. Most of them will. But even with that assumpition, who else would make sense to challenge Miz at the Rumble? HHH is not back yet and he will most likely feud with Sheamus, taking both of them out of the mix. Cena is involved with Nexus and a match with Wade Barrett is on the horizon. Orton, is a possiblity, and they have given some programs 2 or even 3 straight pay per views, so he is a possibility. If WWE doesn’t feel Morrison or Bryan are ready then he is the choice. But he could just as easily enter the Rumble.
So there you have it. The crystal ball is a bit cloudy but we’ve narrowed the field down to 3 possible challengers that make the most sense. If WWE takes a chance, it will be either Bryan or Morrison. If they don’t it will be Orton.