A little over 48 hours since the biggest wrestling weekend has concluded and here we are once again asking questions like the last year before: What happens next? Who debuts on Raw? Where does Roman Reigns go from here?
The last one happens to be the most intriguing on the list for me, as after a year and a half of back-and-forth, he finally wins the big one at WrestleMania 32. Granted this is Roman’s third time winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in six months, defeating Triple H in front of 93,000 101,000 people at AT&T Stadium this past Sunday. For once, WWE’s creative was able to complete the story they wanted in spite of crowd opposition and determination to hijack the progress. The Big Dawg is officially the Top Dawg and this is the chance for WWE to redeem themselves and for Roman to make the most of this new opportunity.
It’ll a nice change of pace for Reigns as the character would be a closer portrayal of him personally than a clone of Cena. In his ascension, WWE trying to make him another Superman with the dumb lines like “Suffering succotash” and “Tater Tots” only added fuel to the fire of their resentment towards him. Everything he was doing from the promos felt inorganic and unnecessary, making him less compelling as a potential megastar until recently. Eventually the creative team smartened up and had him deliver terse and succinct promos leading up to WrestleMania and tried everything in their power to make him come across like a bad ass. Of course they found ways to fumble in the process, but all of that can change in a positive light if Monday was any example.
Right now he is set to defend the WWE Championship against AJ Styles – victorious in a Fatal-4Way to earn #1 Contendership – at Extreme Rules four weeks from now. Styles is already seen as the second full-time top babyface in the company and with Reigns already public enemy number one to the hardcore fanbase, WWE can capitalize on this opportunity to make Reigns a heel champion hell-bent on destroying the fans’ indie darlings/favorites. It would essentially steal the gimmick Baron Corbin has done in NXT, but it also something the main roster creative is certainly not above doing. It would behoove of Roman to embrace the hate because after all, it worked for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
But to turn Roman heel in WWE’s eyes mean that they failed with their project and that the ‘vocal minority’ of the fans won again. For Vince McMahon, that’s something his pride cannot allow even if it is the right thing to do. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they keep Roman from turning out of cold feet, but it would be very telling watching him enter to a raid of boos and doing all he can to be cheered. It is best they whatever interesting they have planned right now for Reigns that Vince and Co. should stay the course and watch it unfold organically.
As a message to the fans that really want to see Roman fail: grow up and get off his case. Sure he has come off as 2016 Lex Luger in most cases, but much of it isn’t his fault. He’s a very good in-ring worker with flaws that can be sharpened and a natural tweak to his character could do the trick. Maybe a turn could right the way for him, but one thing is for sure is that he’s here to stay on top.