On Sunday night at WWE SummerSlam, the WWE was able to place the Universal Championship on the waist of Roman Reigns without a riot in Brooklyn. This was because after over a three year build the WWE (namely Vince McMahon) finally put the right story in place. Over the last year plus the build has always been to put the Universal Title on Roman Reigns. But this time it wasn’t entirely rejected. We explain why.
Profiling Roman Reigns
While Roman Reigns has his share of supporters, he also has his detractors. When the WWE Universe sees Reigns, they look at someone being force fed to them as the new “Number 1 Guy.”
Roman was mainly being pushed as the “New John Cena.” What made Cena so polarizing was the fact that He too was being pushed upon the WWE Universe. Roman like Cena was a “WWE Guy” he wasn’t a guy that worked his way through the “indies.” Guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens all spent years toiling in obscurity in “Bingo Halls” for real pro wrestling fans. Reigns and Cena did not. That in part lead to his initial adverse reaction after his singles career began.
The other issue that Reigns faced (and will continue to meet) is that he is the viewed as the third best in the shield. When the Shield broke up, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins changed, Reigns did not. Roman would continue with the same look the same music. The problem with this was after not having his shield brethren by his side this made Roman’s character feel stale and played out.
Not The Hero We Want, But He’ll Do…For Now
Throughout the last several years Roman Reigns has been seen as John Cena 2.0. He has been called a polarizing figure. Yet an article by the Daily DDT postulated an idea that got me thinking. The article posed the idea that Brock Lesnar, not Roman Reigns, is the most polarizing man in the WWE. Brock spent 504 consecutive days as champion. However, he spent most of those days on his couch. And when Brock did show up on Monday Night RAW, he appeared in a short segment and we didn’t see the Universal champion again for months on end. Roman, however, will be there every week.
While Roman Reigns will never be fully cheered like a babyface Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose. The heelish actions of Brock Lesnar in the recent build leading up to SummerSlam gave Roman a slight babyface reaction. When Lesnar seemed to turn on his advocate Paul Heyman, it was a shocking turn to many people. And thus when Reigns was then set up by Heyman and Lesnar, it was seen as time. Along with the knowledge that Brock would be departing for UFC, it became even more difficult to stomach a “Part-Time” Champion.
Right Move At The Right Time
Roman Reigns will never be the beloved babyface that Vince McMahon envisioned. However, at this point, his work rate has helped him garner some support. The other fact that the WWE and Mr. McMahon can bank on is the overwhelming love and adoration that the Shield receives from fans. Having Roman Reigns remove the Universal Championship from a part-timer was step one. Having Reigns come out on Monday Night RAW after SummerSlam and challenge the man who never lost the Universal title and fan favorite Finn Balor was a good second step. The match was one of the best matches for Reigns in recent memory as well. Then step three when Mr. MITB Braun Strowman appeared to “Cash-In” here comes the Shield.
Roman Reigns standing alone will always get a mixed reaction. However, Roman standing in the ring alongside his SHIELD brothers will always be cheered. While it may not have been the way Vince initially wanted Roman cheered. And while it may not be the member of the SHIELD, the WWE Universe would want. The WWE took a step in the right direction for the betterment of the product. The WWE Universal Championship needs to be seen each and every week. And Roman can provide us with that opportunity.