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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
I’m actually enjoying this storyline. Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe, and Seth Rollins all get a huge build as legit top level stars, Brock gets to be the ultimate heel, the UV Title becomes the most important thing anyone has ever heard of, and Roman Reigns – after a whole year coming up short – finally earns his coronation as the top star of the company. I’m enjoying it. If Reigns can get more and more frustrated at losing his number one contendership matches, it’ll be sweet.
Tell you what I didn’t like, though? When Roman interrupted quite possibly the best Wyatt promo I’ve ever heard. Didn’t like that.
Roman strides towards the ring while Kevin Dunn desperately searches the crowd for any pro-Roman camera angles available. He enters the ring, returning to a feud that last year looked set to be the modern Rock vs. Triple H rivalry. Yeah, I’m in, you got me.
Roman plays monster heel. You know, if Lesnar had never re-signed, Reigns would currently be playing the exact role that Brock is. I’d buy that.
Roman threatens to beat everyone at Extreme Rules, even though in the last 12 months every one of his upcoming opponents has pinned his shoulders to the mat for a three count. They square up, with the crowd genuinely loving every second of it. Then Kurt Angle appears, changing the whole dynamic of everything.
Angle announces a match between Roman and Wyatt for there and then. After a break, of course. Roman’s firm, toned physique and wet, dark hair tangles with Bray Wyatt’s voodoo hobo aesthetic. The Big Dog takes on The New Face Of Fear. The Mercenary Muscle takes on The Crazy Cult Captain. Some wrestling eventually happens.
The crowd is hot from the off, laying into Roman Reigns and, to a lesser degree, supporting Roman Reigns. It’s primarily stalling and character work. There really isn’t much wrestling involved but, to be fair to both men, they did have another match coming later in the night.
Wyatt does a bit of Shawn Michaels-Hulk Hogan comedy selling for a bit too. That was pretty sweet. Enjoyed that. That’s what you get for ruining his promo. Wyatt even goes a little bit Nikki Cross and starts eating a ring rope. Nikki Cross for Sister Abigail confirmed, obviously.
Yeah, to be blunt, this match sucked. Thankfully, there was then overbooking, which was nice. Samoa Joe comes out and beats people up a bit. Starting with Roman, obviously. Roman’s the top guy, after all. After Roman escapes, Seth Rollins charges out to rescue his best pal Wyatt from attack.
No, that’s not a typo, Seth came out when Wyatt was in trouble. Reigns was fine.
Seth turns his back on Wyatt and then needs a Reigns rescue because, you know, he dumb, am I right? The two former Shield mates stand together (you realise Ambrose is still on Raw, right?) and Roman’s music evolves to level 2 when it’s played over the arena speakers.
Later in the night, Heyman puts Finn Balor over, further adding to the sense that Roman Reigns is a Sami Zayn level underdog. See, nobody thinks Roman can win because Heyman doesn’t. Nobody believes in him. Doesn’t that make you want to believe in him?
Still later in the night we had a recap of the Reigns vs. Strowman battle, particularly the part where a kayfabe injured Roman Reigns beat on an actually seriously injured Braun Strowman. See, the message here is that Roman is the all-powerful, all-conquering hero who can take on anyone and anything.
I sometimes wonder if Vince and Hunter both decide on how to book Roman and just forget to get rid of one of the options first.
The main event arrives, with Roman and Seth lining up against Wyatt and Joe. Fifteen hours later everyone has finally arrived in the bloody ring. Roman comes out last because he’s the big draw star unbeatable underdog guy, naturally.
Once again, there is eventually some wrestling. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle watches the match on TV from a viewing angle that is simply impossible. No chance he’s watching that. No chance. They need to stop messing around with this backstage stuff. If you filmed it with any sense of realism you’d have a much more engaged audience. Just saying.
I start watching again while Samoa Joe is beating up on Roman Reigns. No one expects Roman to be pinned, let’s be honest. Seth makes the hot tag and gets cleaned out by the softest shoulder tackle Reigns has ever thrown. Seth gives him a lecture, then Reigns is pulled away from the danger of actually being involved in a losing result so that Seth can take the loss for him.
Standard. Kurt makes Reigns vs. Rollins for next week, then undermines everything ever done by completely mispronouncing the name of one of his top stars (“Bay-lore”). So Reigns can get his heat back next week then.
Or maybe Ambrose will wander down and just be like, “Hey bro and bro. Shield. Am I right?”
No? Just me then?
– Bray Wyatt
– Samoa Joe
– Paul Heyman
– Backwards booking
– Joe and Wyatt at the same time
– Seth Rollins’ beefy shoulder
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
No, but they didn’t beat him either
Sold that Wyatt promo well though, didn’t he?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #18: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top