Last week, in a move that perplexed just about everyone, WWE named Adam Pearce as the number one contender for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV.
It seems we might all have fallen for the good old bait and switch.
On this week’s episode of SmackDown, the storyline that threaded through the show was of Paul Heyman attempting to have Adam Pearce sign the ever changing bout agreement at Roman Reigns’ request.
The Head Of The Table first insisted that the match be a no disqualification match.
After Heyman had former NWA Champion Pearce sign this, he took it back to Reigns who hesitated before adding his name.
Instead, he insisted he take it back to Pearce, amended to make the match a Last Man Standing bout. Not only that, he wanted Pearce to sign it in the ring at the end of the show.
Visibly showing reluctance, Heyman proposed this to Pearce who agreed to do as Reigns asked at the end of the show.
During that contract signing, right after Reigns had also signed his name, Pearce left the ring looking delighted. He then began to limp and stumble, making out a knee injury that was clearly meant to be non-existent.
He explained to Heyman and Reigns that he had an ‘injury’ that cropped up an unfortunate time that means he won’t be able to fulfil his contractual obligations. But as a WWE official, he is obliged to find a replacement for an injured title match competitor, as per the terms of a standard WWE contract.
In fact, he already had that competitor in mind – Kevin Owens.
With that, our new Universal title match at the Rumble will be Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match.
If you want to get all the info about the Rumble including confirmed matches and Rumble match entrants, you can find out right here.