After Monday’s Raw, it looks more and more likely that Roman Reigns will indeed receive a championship opportunity at Clash of Champions. However, it’s not necessarily the title he was gunning for.
Rusev cost Reigns a shot at the WWE Universal Championship by interfering in his main event match with Kevin Owens on Monday. That, of course, was the “Bulgarian Brute’s” revenge for a SummerSlam beatdown Reigns delivered to him before their match at the pay-per-view even got started.
No match has been made official as of yet, but it’s a near certainty that these two titans will butt heads soon. Most likely, Roman and Rusev will square off at Clash of Champions with the latter’s United States Championship on the line.
A lot of fans are happy to see Reigns “demoted” to the mid-card. They think it’s where he should’ve been all along. They (rightly) felt that Reigns was force-fed to them and, as wrestling fans are wont to do, resisted. Three WWE Championship reigns later and many fans have irreversibly soured on the Samoan Superstar.
The bad news for them is, Reigns will be back in the championship picture. And he should be. That’s not to say that accelerating him right into the upper-echelon wasn’t a major flop, but that the WWE wasn’t wrong to see that sort of ceiling in Roman.
For a multitude of reasons, including the aforementioned fan pushback and a failed drug test, Reigns’ detractors are enjoying a bit of a reprieve from Reigns the main eventer. This is a good move on the part of the WWE as it shows that no Superstar is above the rules and allows Reigns to grow organically.
One way to push Reigns without pushing him all the way is to put the U.S. title on him. Some will groan and say that the belt should be used to elevate stars a tier or two below Reigns. As we saw with Kalisto, however, merely winning a title isn’t a surefire recipe for sustained success.
Giving Reigns the gold wouldn’t necessarily elevate him, but like John Cena before him, would do wonders for the belt. Reigns has been to the top of the mountain. He’s a three-time WWE Champion and a Royal Rumble winner who’s bested the likes of Triple H and Daniel Bryan.
If the WWE can make fans believe that the title means something to the former Shield member, then it won’t be hard to make it mean something to fans.
He certainly wouldn’t be at a lack for challengers during his hypothetical title reign. Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Cesaro and Sami Zayn are all guys who, though they may not be viewed as Universal Championship contenders right now, would make worthy adversaries for Roman going after the U.S. title. Excluding Sheamus, each of those mentioned is a relatively fresh name to square off with Reigns and a big enough name to be a worthy co-main event against him on any card.
Some might fear that Rusev’s credibility will take a blow if he loses his belt to Roman, but, presuming this program goes for more than one match, he should be all right if he can come out of their series with at least one win. Hell, he spent months as a punching bag for Reigns in the League of Nations and seems to be holding up OK at present.
Besides, who’s to say dropping the U.S. title wouldn’t free him up to ascend the card?
Roman will be a WWE World or Universal Champion again. That’s a pill his critics will eventually have to swallow. But, for now, a run with the United States title is a great way to keep him relevant, make his fans happy and also placate the boo birds.