At the highest, I ought to state that I’m all for anyone making their bag with placing their physique at much less and fewer threat. If Roman Reigns needs to proceed to make his tens of millions by wrestling solely 20 instances a 12 months, you get that, my buddy. If he needs to do it by eradicating all threat and and simply going to make motion pictures from right here on out, that’s cool too (identical goes for Sasha Banks, who’s extra probably to take action, however my heartbreak at by no means seeing her within the ring once more can be unmanageable).
I additionally was one of many greater followers of Reign’s repackaging, which is now nearly two years in the past, as an all-conquering, ass-kicking heel who didn’t must do anything. It’s what he was all the time made for, and it solely took a pandemic and lack of threat due to there being no stay crowds for Vince McMahon to determine it out.
But all the pieces has a shelf life, and it’s feeling like this Roman run has run its course. Except it’s not going to cease for a short time but, and possibly even longer.
We know Vince wished Reigns on the high of the corporate desperately for years. It’s why he crowbarred him into Mania foremost occasion after foremost occasion though followers didn’t really need any a part of it. But now that Vince has obtained what he chased, he’s made it clear he would sit on it. And sit on it. And he nonetheless is.
Now that Roman holds each titles although (each Raw and Smackdown), WWE has the identical drawback that it had when Vince let Brock Lesnar sit on the title for over a 12 months. It’s not on TV. That doesn’t imply that Roman has to wrestle on each exhibits on a regular basis, nor something shut. But Raw passed off final week with none point out of the title or Reigns. It felt centerless, and much more so when the principle occasion was one among these nonsensical and idiotic “Championship Contender” matches that forces a champ like Bianca Belair to wrestle a non-title match to see if she has to wrestle a title match down the highway. Even Becky Lynch known as out its stupidity on the present. And in fact it had a non-finish, which made the entire present really feel pointless.
But Roman must be a presence, and he wants somebody chasing him to play off of. He hasn’t had that since Mania, and even that Mania construct was skewed as a result of, as enjoyable as Brock was throughout it, nobody thought for a second he’d win. And the precise Mania match left most chilly, whether or not it was attributable to damage or not. There was no glow from it that Reigns may use to shine up the aftermath. He’s simply been sitting there.
There’s nonetheless some confusion on what precisely Roman’s schedule will probably be now. He began the fifth gear rumor buzz at a home present in New Jersey, hinting he may not be again. Some thought he was leaving altogether. Some thought he was simply scrapping home exhibits for probably the most half. It seems to be the latter, with Reigns solely really getting within the ring on PPVs (or PLEs, Premium Live Events, to make use of the parlance of our instances). And once more, that’s tremendous. It needs to be a BIG DEAL when Reigns wrestles. It needs to be an occasion, which implies it shouldn’t occur that usually.
But you continue to want builds, you continue to want anticipation, you continue to want story. WWE doesn’t have one, and having Roman run by means of everybody has left the sphere bereft of credible challengers. New York gave the impression to be beginning Drew McIntyre on the highway on Sunday’s PLE in a six-man tag with Reigns and the Usos, alongside maybe WWE’s hottest performers proper now in Randy Orton and Matt Riddle. It was an opportunity to point out a crack or two. Reigns wouldn’t have even needed to eat the pin, however it might have been really easy to start out the crumbling of the empire with the Usos dropping whereas being paired with Reigns and his dissatisfaction and paranoia beginning to kick in and creating fissures. Instead, Roman pinned Riddle. We’re again the place we began.
There’s nonetheless time right here in fact, if Orton and Riddle have been to unify the tag titles over the Usos, however why not begin on Sunday? Reigns dropping the title needs to be a giant deal, constructed over months, so why not take some small steps? Reigns received’t be round when and if the Usos lose, and neither will McIntyre.
All of this ignores that New York eschewed one of the best angle it had going with Reigns of their desperation to place him with Brock. And that’s his feud with Seth Rollins at Royal Rumble. That match was borderline good, and the non-finish labored as a result of it uncovered the chinks in Roman’s armor — his insecurity about his historical past with Rollins and the Shield, his incapability to reconcile that his former buddies all the time obtained one over him, that he can’t face really dropping and panics. It’s additionally what Kevin Owens introduced out in him within the dying days of the Thunderdome. It was all there, and made this unscalable monster that Reigns has turn into appear conquerable, if just for a minute.
And WWE went forward and ignored it, chucked it within the dumpster in service of extra Brock-Roman matches. Never heard about it once more. Which turned Roman again into the identical factor we’ve seen for over a 12 months, “I’m the best no one can beat me this is my ring.” There’s no variation to the character. He’s little greater than a cardboard cutout. You do this lengthy sufficient and followers cease shopping for it or caring. And they’ll’t ignore how fiercely McMahon wished to cement Roman as his subsequent Hogan, which is all Lesnar was used to do. It’s too bland now.
Seth isn’t a chance anymore, and WWE has by no means been keen on calling on its historical past, even current historical past, to construct a match. It may very well be they’re lining up McIntyre to win it in Wales, whereas ignoring that McIntyre is Scottish (there’s little probability that Vince is aware of the distinction between Wales and Scotland). Still, that crowd will probably be close to riotous and a Drew win there’ll really feel monumental.
But not having Roman round a lot isn’t going to assist that. And having no change in his character isn’t going to assist that both. There’s 4 months to show McIntyre again into a real titan once more, however that is nonetheless a man who’s spent the previous few months chasing round Baron Corbin and Madcap Moss with a sword. It doesn’t precisely scream “wrestling icon.” Is Drew a powerful sufficient promo to construct to this partly, or largely, on his personal? Questionable.
Maybe it’s Cody Rhodes, one other man who’s solely too blissful to disregard giving his character any flaws or depth and could be the paint-by-numbers face to counter the paint-by-numbers heel that Reigns has turn into. Rhodes undoubtedly is an effective sufficient promo to do the quantity of labor on his personal it might take, and WWE followers are extra forgiving of somebody being to date up their very own ass they’ve come round once more.
What’s clear is that this has gone on too lengthy. Having Reigns carry the highest spot on the cardboard merely to have Reigns carry the highest spot on the cardboard has washed it out. McMahon obtained his validation, obtained his prize, however now it’s time to maneuver on.