What’s Next for WWE U.S. Champion Logan Paul? – TechVerdant

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Logan Paul competed in his first WWE match at WrestleMania 38 in April 2022, teaming with The Miz to defeat Rey and Dominik Mysterio. It’s almost fitting, then, that just eight matches and nearly 20 months into his professional wrestling career, he can call himself US Champion.

Despite his championship win at Crown Jewel coming via nefarious means, there’s no denying Paul’s in-ring ability and how quickly he’s taken to WWE. Naturally unlikable, he’s leaned into his heel status while on the microphone. And regardless of who he’s worked with – from The Mysterios and The Miz to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns – he’s upped his game each time out, providing viral moment after viral moment thanks in large part to his athleticism.

Yet, WWE has saved Paul for special occasions and big moments so far. Now that he’s a champion, though, should we expect him to appear more often on SmackDown? Is he capable of carrying a title? And, who might step up to challenge “The Maverick?”

Looking Back at Paul’s Feuds

Whenever Paul has stepped foot inside a WWE ring, it’s mattered. Before becoming an active competitor, he got involved with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. All eight of his matches have come at premium live events – two at WrestleMania, two at Crown Jewel, two at SummerSlam, one at Royal Rumble, and one at Money in the Bank, with Paul nabbing a spot in both the Men’s Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank ladder match.

Of his five singles matches, he’s battled The Miz, Reigns, Rollins, Ricochet and now Mysterio. And in just his second-ever singles contest, he got 25 minutes with Reigns in a back-and-forth battle for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. His next marquee matchup came at WrestleMania 39 when he battled Rollins.

The pattern so far is that while WWE clearly trusts him, all five of his singles feuds have led to one-off matches. They’ve generally followed the same structure as well, with Paul showing up for a few weeks at a time to promote and verbally spar with his opponent before stepping into the ring. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be appearing more frequently, but it’s difficult to imagine his feuds becoming less layered now that he holds championship gold.

Who Could Logan Paul Feud With Going Forward?

That brings us to the SmackDown brand and the many faces who could step up to challenge the brash superstar. The case could be made that Santos Escobar will want the title that his fellow LWO member beat him to, but something tells us he and Mysterio are going to have their own issues to sort through over the coming weeks.

There are a couple of heels that present exciting matchups, but with one problem. While the obnoxiousness levels would be off the charts in feuds with, say, Austin Theory or Grayson Waller, it’s difficult to imagine WWE going heel versus heel, especially right off the bat. Plus, you could even argue Paul would be the face against Theory. Speaking of, what about the faces?

Two big names we haven’t seen much of lately are AJ Styles and Sheamus. Styles hasn’t been seen on SmackDown since September 15, when he lost to Finn Balor before being brutally attacked by Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso. Sheamus, meanwhile, was last seen on WWE television losing to Edge in August in what happened to be the “Rated-R Superstar’s” final WWE match. We don’t know when either of them will be back, though.

Fortunately, that leaves a few other interesting possibilities.

The LWO Subplot

A recently returning Carlito could prove to be an interesting first test for Paul as champion. A former US Champion in his own right, Carlito hasn’t held WWE Championship gold since 2009. He hasn’t held singles gold for nearly 20 years, winning the Intercontinental Championship back in 2005.

What’s tricky about this, of course, is the current state of the LWO. Carlito, like Escobar and Mysterio, is a member. At Crown Jewel, Escobar leaving the brass knuckles on the apron would allow Logan Paul to take advantage and defeat Mysterio underhandedly. Presumably, even if it’s slow-going at first, there’s going to be fallout from that. And in the meantime, it’s difficult to see Carlito rocking the proverbial boat.

But we’re not ruling out a one-off match entirely.

LA Knight Take a Step Back?

We’re not suggesting LA Knight be the first to face Logan Paul for his title for a couple of different reasons. On the other hand, in their Money in the Bank lead-up months back, they did have beef.

But here’s another way to look at it. Yes, he just lost to Reigns at Crown Jewel. Ideally, though, he won’t be leaving the main event scene quite yet. After all, Reigns didn’t beat Knight cleanly to retain. Their showdown hit all the beats, including run-ins from The Bloodline to ultimately help the Tribal Chief. Interestingly, Knight would kick out of a spear and battle out of the guillotine choke along the way before the shenanigans took place.

Knight becoming Undisputed WWE Universal Champion didn’t ever seem likely, but WWE did appear to do everything it could to keep him strong. So if not Knight, then who? Well, there just so happens to be a newcomer to the blue brand who is always ready for a fight.

Paging All Prizefighters

Kevin Owens loves to fight. And if the past is anything to go by, he doesn’t particularly care for Logan Paul. Currently, “The Prizefighter” is battling A-Town Down Under’s Theory and Waller. But after that, what’s stopping him from stepping to Paul? From the outside, there appears to be very little. Heck, we could even imagine Owens wanting to battle everyone all at once. He wouldn’t care. It’s just what he does.

A three-time US Champion, KO hasn’t held singles gold since 2017. In fact, it was the last individual championship he held. It might just line up too perfectly.

Again, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the status of Styles and arguably even more so Sheamus. And while SmackDown seems to have a disproportionate amount of heels, we’re ruling out a heel-versus-heel situation. Knight is going to have plenty to say, and we’re not discounting their brief history. But after Crown Jewel, he’ll still have plenty of issues with The Bloodline.

All that established, there’s one more factor to consider

There’s Already One “Part-Timer” on SmackDown

We’re not about to dig into Roman Reigns here. A champion for over three years now, his character work has typically made his title defenses must-see viewing, even if some of those defenses descend into similar territory. His presence matters. Moments are made whenever he is around. The same can be said of Paul’s presence, to an extent, but he is no Reigns. And that’s the thing.

If Paul wasn’t on SmackDown, maybe you could get away with him not being there too often. But he is on SmackDown, and WWE can’t feasibly have two “part-time” champions and expect fans to care. Reigns has built his character up over time, and Logan Paul brings a whole different set of eyeballs to the product. Paul also has the added benefit of fans tuning in solely with the hope he loses. But you want your title-holding individuals to be around from time to time.

Now, you could even space out his defenses a little bit more, similar to GUNTHER on Raw with the Intercontinental Championship. Regardless of where they land on the matter, his involvement needs to ramp up from one-off matches to layered storylines. To that end, and considering the challenges he may face, it’s difficult to see Paul dropping the title before WrestleMania next April.

WWE knows what they have in him, and it’s clear they’re willing to work around his schedule. It would also make sense to have him defending his championship at their biggest show of the year. From now until WrestleMania 40, there are three premium live events to look forward to – Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and Elimination Chamber. It’s important not to risk burning him out, but WWE shouldn’t give him the Roman Reigns schedule, either.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.

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