The “Modern Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal has enjoyed a lengthy stay as the WWE Champion, but all good things come to an end. There are currently four WWE superstars who have the best chances of dethroning the champion and becoming the new WWE Champion within the next several months or early next year. Based on the latest WWE odds being offered by a few sportsbooks, fans can gain a good idea of who might be the favorite to hold the championship gold after Jinder Mahal’s reign has concluded.
Jinder Mahal has now held the coveted WWE Championship belt for over 116 days, dating back to when he defeated Randy Orton at the Backlash 2017 pay-per-view in May. Some fans feel he’s overstayed his time at the top, but who will finally defeat him? As WWE Leaks recently reported, the “King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura leads all contenders with 1 to 4 odds. This makes the most sense as Nakamura gets to face Mahal for the title at the upcoming Hell in a Cell 2017 pay-per-view. Fans would love to see this happen, but it seems more realistic that WWE might save the big championship win for Nakamura at a bigger pay-per-view such as WrestleMania 34.
It’s no surprise that John Cena has the second-best odds in the market for who will replace Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion. Cena is listed at 5 to 4 odds via the sportsbook. The case for Cena to win the title is made stronger should Mahal carry this title reign towards the end of the year. As mentioned with Nakamura, WWE loves to give fans “WrestleMania moments.” Having John Cena break Ric Flair’s long-standing record for the number of title reigns would be just that moment. Cena is still considered a WWE free agent and could easily return to SmackDown Live after his work is done with Roman Reigns and the Raw roster.
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles ranks third overall with odds of 3 to 1. Styles has held the championship before so this wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him do so again. There are also rumors that AJ Styles will clash with Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34. Will that match be a battle for a championship? Styles currently holds the United States title, but dropping the belt might signify that something bigger is in store for Styles. He really hasn’t crossed paths with Jinder Mahal much either.
The fourth superstar being given high odds to dethrone Jinder Mahal is none other than Kevin Owens. He seems to be a longshot as Owens and Mahal are both heel characters on the SmackDown Live roster. Owens is currently booked to take on Shane McMahon for a Hell in a Cell matchup at the pay-per-view. However, could WWE decide to throw some sort of curveball and make Owens a face at some point who challenges and defeats Jinder? The only other possibility here is that Owens is involved in a multi-superstar match for the title, such as a Fatal 4-Way where he wins the belt. The other possibility could be that Jinder is champion past the next Money in the Bank PPV, where Owens wins the briefcase and then cashes in on Mahal.
There are probably a good number of fans who would rather see Jinder Mahal dethroned sooner rather than later, though. Recent rumors have indicated that Jinder won’t appear during WWE’s next upcoming tour of India, which is the main reason he’s been booked as champion. The event is said to include mostly Raw superstars on the tour. However, that could certainly include Jinder if WWE decides to move the title from him ahead of the event, or simply add the WWE Champion to the lineup.
That said, it seems more and more likely a top talent like John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, or Kevin Owens will end this run. Which of these superstars will be the next WWE Champion and when will it happen?
[Featured Image by WWE]