WWE shocked SmackDown fans at the conclusion of the January 7 episode of the show, when Raw star Seth Rollins appeared on the show to be Roman Reigns’ challenger for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble.
The decision to choose Rollins as the challenger led to confusion both in storyline and in reality, as Rollins wrestles on Raw, and recently lost the opportunity to wrestle Brock Lesnar for Raw’s WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.
WWE Official Adam Pearce appeared on this week’s episode of WWE’s The Bump, where he explained that it is Reigns and Rollins’ history that led to Rollins getting the match.
“You know, the thing about finding Romans challenger is that you need to scour every nook, every cranny, and you’ve got to find somebody that you believe is a formidable challenge to Roman Reigns. I was listening to Bobby Lashley a second ago talking about the match coming up against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, and I wanted to find something that would bring a very similar feeling. What landed me on Seth, is history. Really, when you think about two people intertwined for a certain period of time, I think Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins with everything they’ve been through, with everything they’ve stood together for and against, makes a very intriguing matchup and one that I know Mr. Reigns is not happy about, but here we are. They trusted me to make the decision and it’s official.”
Rollins was initially set to be the man to take the WWE Championship from Big E at WWE Day 1, before Lesnar’s addition to the match led to a change of plans.
Rollins is reportedly set to still take a world championship into WrestleMania, leading to speculation that WWE may be set to make a big title brand switch, with Rollins taking SmackDown’s Universal Championship to the red brand.
transcription via Fightful
— WWE’s The Bump (@WWETheBump) January 12, 2022