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SLAM! Speaks - Who's next?
By SLAM! Staff


Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist


For the first time in the history of the brand split, two new heavyweight champions were crowned at WrestleMania -- Batista and John Cena. We here at SLAM! are proud of their accomplishments, but we can't help but wonder who will be the next champs.

Thus, we gathered again for another SLAM! Speaks, this time with the question of who will be the next champs on Raw and Smackdown!, and who will drop their belt first.

Steve Rennie
This is a bit of a toss-up for me. While I can't see Batista as anything more than a transitional champ between Hunter's title reigns, Cena's win didn't exactly start his reign off with much steam. That said, I think Batista will hold the title longer than Cena.

As far as who will dethrone each man, a lot hinges on the rumoured post-WrestleMania draft. Assuming that the rosters remain the same, I predict Cena will lose the title to either Eddie Guerrero or Kurt Angle. I think it's safe to say that Batista will drop the strap to Hunter.

Greg Oliver
Batista has the legs to carry the title longer than Cena, but he has the political master Triple H to battle against behind the scenes. Cena will drop the belt first, probably back to JBL. I can't see anyone else on the Smackdown! roster as a challenger to him in the short-term.

Chris Sokol
Of the two champions, I believe John Cena will hold the belt longer. He appeals to a younger crowd and he has a CD coming out, so everything appears to be going in his favor. The major factor, however, in this whole thing is Triple H. He wants to beat the Ric Flair's mark of 16 heavyweight titles, and at a decent age has already captured the strap 10 times. Expect a lot of short reigns for the next two to three years. Sad, I know.

Batista will lose the belt to Triple H John Cena will lose the belt to Randy Orton

Jon Waldman
Let's face it -- Triple H will get his title back as he said on Monday (in a veiled shoot), he owns the title. Unless he gets transferred to Smackdown! in the draft, he will get Batista's belt. Cena, on the other hand, has a slew of guys who will be gunning for him in the next while, especially Kurt Angle and JBL. My guess is Batista will lose the belt first; only it won't be to Triple H. I see edge exercising his open contract immediately after Big Dave has a hard match and taking the title. This is the easiest way to keep Batista looking strong. On the SD! side, Cena will likely lose it to a heel-turned Eddy Guererro.

Now it's your turn to have the floor. Who do you think will hold their title longer -- Batista or Cena? Who will they drop their straps to? E-mail Jon with your thoughts. Reader responses will be posted next week.

-- compiled by Jon Waldman