Once the Royal Rumble has passed, WWE usually has its champions in place for a few months. However, the Road to WrestleMania 36 can be treacherous, and any titleholder can drop their belt along the way.
With Super ShowDown, Elimination Chamber and several television episodes coming up before The Show of Shows, there are plenty of opportunities for the company to change direction and crown new champions.
Which WWE titleholders are in most danger of not being champions by WrestleMania 36 on April 5? Let’s take a look.
Before addressing those in danger, let’s first look at the champions who are guaranteed to have their title reigns intact heading into WrestleMania 36.
WWE champion Brock Lesnar will defend his title at Super ShowDown on February 27 against Ricochet, but there’s no way Drew McIntyre eliminated The Beast Incarnate before going on to win the Royal Rumble just to fight The One and Only on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
The Raw Women’s Championship match will assuredly be Becky Lynch against Shayna Baszler. The bite angle on the February 10 edition of the red brand would not have happened if that wasn’t the direction WWE was going in.
Likewise, Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair are heading toward a match. If The Nightmare were to drop the NXT Women’s Championship to Bianca Belair before WrestleMania, it would be too much of a pivot, and there’s no need to make it a Triple Threat match on April 5.
Braun Strowman won the Intercontinental Championship as recently as January 31. If he were to drop it now, it would render him a transitional titleholder and negate that progress.
The same goes for Keith Lee as NXT North American champion. He’s on far too much of a roll to stop that momentum.
While Adam Cole’s NXT Championship and The BroserWeights’ tag team titles could change at TakeOver: Tampa on April 4, they won’t drop them on television leading up to that point.
Walter, Kay Lee Ray and Gallus from NXT UK will all retain their belts as the tapings for the next few weeks have already taken place.
Lastly, The Kabuki Warriors should have no issue retaining the Women’s Tag Team Championship, primarily because there aren’t any others being groomed to take the title anytime soon.
Bayley retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship over Carmella on Friday but only by cheating, placing her feet on the ropes for leverage. She’s set to defend the title at Super ShowDown, possibly in a Triple Threat match that could also feature Naomi.
Whether Bayley retains may be dependent on whether WWE wants to have a title change hands in Saudi Arabia. If that history-making moment is all that matters, she will drop the belt.
It won’t happen if WrestleMania 36 plans depend on her still being champion by April 5, but no feud has been built here. Even the biggest match possible of Bayley vs. Sasha Banks has not been teased, so this title could go in any direction.
Of course, if WWE wants to have its cake and eat it, Bayley could drop the belt in Saudi Arabia and just win it back on SmackDown to course-correct for WrestleMania 36.
It likely won’t happen, but there’s a chance.
One would think the Universal Championship match for WrestleMania 36 was thought out well in advance and is set in stone. But who’s to say “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt is going to be the champion?
Goldberg dethroned Kevin Owens at Fastlane in March 2017, only to lose the belt a month later at WrestleMania 33. Maybe this year, the veteran will lose to John Cena or Roman Reigns, allowing one of those major names to take down The Fiend before The Show of Shows.
Stranger things have happened than Goldberg beating someone, and his track record is one of the most impressive in the business. But with so much time invested in Wyatt, it’s difficult to see WWE ditching him at the 1-yard line.
There are a handful of champions who are just as safe as they are in danger.
Andrade didn’t drop the United States Championship when he was written off television for his Wellness Policy violation, which is a sign he could keep it even longer. However, such a suspension is a black mark on his career, and WWE may want to put that belt on someone such as Aleister Black, Humberto Carrillo or Rey Mysterio instead.
Jordan Devlin is most likely safe as NXT cruiserweight champion after winning it on January 25, but the same could have been said for Angel Garza, who dropped it only 45 days into his reign.
The Raw Tag Team Championship is an oddball. It’s strange that Seth Rollins and Murphy are holding the titles, as The Monday Night Messiah should be above that. At this point in The Architect’s career, a singles match with someone like Kevin Owens at WrestleMania just won’t suffice, so what would he do if he weren’t a champion?
If WWE has no other plans outside of a tag title defense for Rollins, he and Murphy may as well keep them. But if the former universal champion has to be freed from title commitments, The Street Profits stand a good chance of winning the gold at Super ShowDown.
While The Miz and John Morrison might have lost to Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan on Friday’s SmackDown, they stand a good chance of dethroning The New Day at Super ShowDown on Feb. 27.
Morrison and The Miz are not only a fresh act, but they are also credible and capable former champions.
Big E and Kofi Kingston could drop the SmackDown Tag Team Championship and not have their reputations hurt in the slightest. They could then chase to regain the titles or WWE could pivot to The Usos as the next challengers.
It will be a shock if new champions aren’t crowned at Super ShowDown, if only to try something new—even if it’s technically a throwback.
The nature of the 24/7 Championship is so hectic that there have already been almost 100 champions in less than a year.
The average title reign is less than 24 hours, with the longest being R-Truth’s 19-day run.
When Riddick Moss turned on Mojo Rawley and won the title on the February 10 edition of Raw, he was already on borrowed time. There is no way he will last more than a month without dropping it. He could win it back, but Moss still being the titleholder by the time of WrestleMania isn’t a safe bet.
Whoever does walk into the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, as the champion will probably lose it on the show too, as a random title change during a backstage segment or during the Hall of Fame parade would be too tempting to pass up.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.