SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Roman Reigns is one of the most divisive and talked about WWE performers in history. The company makes desperate play after desperate play to make him their number one star – thus far to no avail. How do they do it? What do they do?
I’m Tom Colohue and this is the Monday Night Reigns-o-meter.
Monday Night Reigns-o-meter
Before I begin this in proper I just want to let you know that my Friday Feature this week will be covering Reigns and, in particular, his current anti-villain persona. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and his double booking during the Rumble, including different postures and facial expressions, will give me plenty of material to really make the point I’m trying to make.
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) January 31, 2017
We begin at the Royal Rumble. Roman features in the second match against Kevin Owens but we’ve been promised no odds. Only Owens. No wild Chris Jerichos appearing. Just a solid, no DQ, no screwy finish brawl similar to Roman vs. AJ at Extreme Rules. Say what you want about Roman but the man can brawl.
The promo package happens, encouraging us to feel sympathetic towards Roman because he lost the US title he loved so much. He was in every shot with that belt. He’s been trying for weeks to get it back, desperately. He can’t eat. He can’t sleep. He’s forgotten what the belt even looks like.
Did they beat up Roman for all those weeks just for this one promo package? Moving swiftly on. That superman punch on Jericho in mid air was alright, wasn’t it? The package ends with Roman reminding us that he identifies as male and apparently Owens does not.
The champ comes out first, for some reason. Jericho is wearing 2 scarves tonight. Definitely no brass knuckles in that knot. Nope. That huge knot on the extra scarf he’s wearing isn’t hiding anything.
Roman comes out to a Cena reaction, which is a massive upgrade on his usual reaction and away we go.
I really can’t fault the match and I really don’t want to. These 2 can really go, and Roman was sure to flex everything at all the important moments. The half bucket of water he threw over his hair before the match started makes him look super talented. Reigns gets a mixed reaction chant through the match, showing that opinions are genuinely starting to shift in his direction.
Then come the brass knuckles. Owens hits Reigns with a brass knuckles superman punch and William Regal turns in his grave when Reigns kicks out. (yes, I know) Owens hits Reigns with a stone cold stunner and Steve Austin turns in his grave as Reigns kicks out. (yes, I still know)
In the end, Braun Strowman ambles out, probably on that little mobility scooter they used for the Big Show during the Rumble, and interferes. Reigns, too buff to go through a table, ends up unable to beat the odds.
And that should have been him done for the night. However, Roman Reigns is too important for just one match. He has to pull double duty to make sure that people have someone to focus all of their hatred on that Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kurt Angle and Kenny Omega aren’t in the Rumble. His demeanour is different. It’s like everything since the drug taking never actually happened and he’s back to the faux heel he was against Styles and Rollins. Sexy Reigns is back.
Far too important to not be in the Rumble – and clearly far more important than AJ Styles – Reigns comes down to quite possibly the biggest heel heat that it is possible to get. I mean from the off the star power just got bigger and bigger and bigger, with Orton followed by Lesnar followed by Goldberg followed by the Undertaker and finally, the brightest star of all: Roman Reigns.
I admit, it was a surprise. I did not see it coming. Mostly because I didn’t want to. They let Reigns and the Undertaker get a couple of moves in to tease an upcoming match between the 2 and then the nightmare happens. Reigns crushes the dreams of so many WWE fans, denying Cena-Taker from happening at Wrestlemania by eliminating the Undertaker.
They stare down, Roman’s enormous ego keeping the 2 apart and then the Undertaker walks. Roman’s heel face needs work. He looks backed up. You know, after that I think we can just call him a hell and have done with it.
Thankfully he entered the Rumble almost purely to be eliminated last, ensuring that the “anyone but Roman” sentiment that the fans hold makes for a big pop for an Orton win.
But that’s not all folks! Roman also featured on Raw. He interfered to make sure that KO didn’t lose his UV title! Isn’t he a lovely fella? Roman comes out to an okay pop before sustained boos set back in but this isn’t chatty Roman. Heel face Roman comes down looking for revenge on Strowman and hey, if there’s one thing that man can do it’s brawl. He’s so tough that he’s actually fighting without his big bra on for once.
Strowman gets beaten up and falls in the direction of a possibly planted pro Reigns sign. Roman is getting pops for his moves all over the place. He spears Owens and then walks out without saying a word.
Owens, the current UV champion, is forgotten in the mix, because who cares about him, right?
– No Disqualifications
– Jericho dropping brass knuckles
– Brass knuckles and pin
– Stone Cold Stunner and pin
– Braun Strowman
– Royal Rumble
– The Undertaker
– Wyatt Family
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
Took that stunner well though, didn’t he?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #3: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top