As one of our readers pointed out in the news piece detailing Orton being out, I think his HIAC absence will have more significant ramifications than us getting a lesser 6 man match as opposed to the original tag team action. And I have a few ideas how this changes things.
For one, we now have three guys with nothing to do on Sunday night. Dean Ambrose, Braun Strowman and Luke Harper (assuming he’s back, depending on whatever his personal issues were that kept him from RAW) all just had their evenings freed up. The logical first assumption? They will be heavily involved in the Wyatt/Reigns Cell match. That’s not a horribly bad guess, though at the same time, even if they were involved in a tag team battle on Sunday, they could have become involved. So I don’t know that this necessarily means that they will absolutely get their hands dirty during this match. I do think there’s a decent chance of it, however, because I still say this feud runs through Survivor Series.
My own thoughts? We have a US Open Challenge. And we have a few men who now have nothing to do. On one hand? You have Dean Ambrose, a former United States Champion, who would certainly love to get his hands on another title belt. On the other hand? You have former Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper (again, assuming he’s back from his personal issues). You also have the now returned Erick Rowan (assuming he is not limited thus far), or the green but menacing Braun Strowman. What’s to stop any one of these men from being that guy who accepts the Open Challenge? I would not be stunned if any of them answered the challenge, and having a behemoth like Strowman be that guy? Yes, it would put a belt on him really early, but having him take out Cena is neat and clean for John’s prolonged vacation, so it works. Or, if you’d rather not see Strowman with the title? Have him win, but get DQ’d. On RAW the following evening, announce that due to his injuries, Cena is out of action for at least a few months, and thus had to surrender the US Title. WWE then gets to have a wide-open, 16 man tournament to crown a new US Champion, and the finals of that tournament can be one of the few singles matches that should happen at Survivor Series.
To be completely honest, any or all of this could have happened even if Orton was healthy and working at Hell In A Cell. His absence, however, makes things a bit more likely to happen.