The world was ready to (mostly) accept Roman Reigns as is just a little over one week ago. Sadly, the WWE would then have to go and do the thing that makes everyone and their respective mothers furious on the insides. The company inserted him into a main event story with the WWE Universal Championship on the line.
Obviously, it is worth noting that this was an unplanned venture. Finn Bálor going down with injury, forcing him to vacate the title, put the WWE in a precarious situation to begin with. However, there’s a reason the reciting the definition of insanity has become such a cliche.
Putting Roman in that title hunt, even if only for one night, ruined most of the momentum built by his feud with Rusev. His newly found aggression, which bordered on heel behavior, took a backseat to the idea of him once again claiming a world championship.
That has, clearly, not sat well with wrestling fans. Then again, what exactly sits well with wrestling fans?
Now that Kevin Owens won the Universal Championship on Monday, it leaves Reigns in a weird spot. His next steps will be pivotal to his career. Unfortunately, there’s really only three options.
Let’s take a gander at them.
Main Event Picture
Listen, this is the least ideal of the scenarios (even though I will soon mention another bad one).
With the way Monday Night Raw ended, as Triple H whooped on Seth Rollins and Reigns, there is easily a scenario which can see him being involved in that storyline. Whether that is a semi-Shield reunion to battle Hunter and Owens, or simply being the next No. 1 contender, or roughly eleventy-billion other potential stories, this might be the most likely to occur.
The problem with this is that the WWE Universe was (somewhat) beginning to accept Reigns as that mid-card title guy. A man who was reworking his way back to the top by feuding with Rusev. Everything was going over smoothly, too. Well, that was until Bálor’s injury made the entire Rusev angle vanish overnight.
That’s a logistical problem if Reigns is to be gently hurled into this main event angle. The WWE not only expects us to randomly forget about the “Bulgarian Brute’s” anger toward Reign, but we’d be going through the same mega-push rodeo that resulted in the former Shield member’s universal (pun?) disdain from crowds.
Back To Rusev?
This was touched on above, but it is the most normal of the options we will discuss.
Rusev vs. Reigns was doing a great job in building both men. It elevated Rusev’s star since he was battling a top dog like Reigns. It was also humbling Roman in a way. Not in a real fashion, but the crowd more easily took to him in this role – similar to John Cena in the U.S. title challenge series – because he wasn’t necessarily being jammed down anyone’s throat.
Reigns can go back to feuding with Rusev, continuing on with his rebuild as a character, and it can all work out swimmingly.
There are problems here, though. Mostly due to the fact that Reigns was already plucked from this angle, and everyone acted as though there wasn’t a blood-feud going on between Reigns and Rusev just 24 hours prior to Bálor relinquishing the title.
Yes. Sometimes logic needs to be hurled out the window with the expired milk when consuming the WWE, but if this is the option the WWE goes with – and it is the one it should, mind you – hopefully the company does a decent enough job explaining why Rusev or Lana didn’t invade Reigns’ title match on Monday, especially since there were no disqualifications and that would normally be the perfect time for a heel to get revenge.
This one is a bit trickier. Still far better talents than Reigns have been lost in the shuffle due to a major storyline being played out above them.
If Reigns isn’t in the main event picture, or any of the Triple H-related fallout, and he’s not going to circle back to Rusev for whatever the reasons, what in the heck would he be doing next?
There’s reason to think this can happen. He doesn’t sincerely fit in the assumed Triple H vs. Rollins angle, nor does going to re-feud with Rusev make logical sense. In an honest effort to try something fresh with Roman, meaning neither of those two angles, the WWE can accidentally send him on a pointless squash run of matches or battling a random guy on the roster.
What Should The WWE And Reigns Do?
Turn full heel. This remains the least complicated booking in the history of the free world. By turning him heel, he can then trot about the WWE Universe with a plethora of fresh feuds, angles, etc., awaiting for him.
By staying face, it is really just those three options listed above. Save for the Rusev angle – which might not even have lasting power – there are no good options left for him as a face-ish character.