New Royal Rumble challenger set for Roman Reigns (w/ Heydorn’s Analysis)

Kevin Owens is once again the number one contender for the WWE Universal Championship.

Thanks to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, last week Adam Pearce became the man to face Reigns for the championship at the Royal Rumble after winning a number one contender gauntlet match. On this week’s episode of Smackdown, Pearce and Reigns officially signed their contract for the match, but not without a twist at the end.

After Pearce signed for the match, he informed Reigns that he had a knee injury that would prevent him from competing. Pearce then inserted Kevin Owens into the match. That match is scheduled to be a Last Man Standing match.

Owens and Reigns have been embroiled in a feud for the last two months. Reigns defeated Owens at the TLC PPV in December 2020 and also in a cage match on the Christmas Day episode of Smackdown.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This is a logical pivot for WWE to make concerning this match. First and foremost, the match itself at the Royal Rumble will certainly shine more this way. Second, even hot heels need to take it on the chin now and then so as to allow the audience moments to invest in the babyfaces. Pearce one-upping Reigns to get Owens in the match served as that moment and it was effective.

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