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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
There was a week, in the slow days of WCW’s slow collapse, in which WCW abandoned the concept of having wrestling for the first hour of their show. Instead they threw together hype packages for pay-per-views, sketches, and skits with lower card talent and interviews with top brass like Bret Hart. As experiments go it was soon abandoned but it’s hard to say that last night’s WWE Raw didn’t heavily remind me of it a full 17 years later.
That’s not to say that the hype packages and recaps weren’t excellently put together – WWE has a universally respected reputation in this area – but every now and then WWE shows us how dangerous it can be when a small handful of top stars vanish abruptly while most of your backup established names are feuding over the tag titles.
Thankfully, whilst WWE used their top talent sparingly, most of their UV7 were used memorably.
Lesnar swore while leaning in close and seducing the camera, sending a flutter of excitement through the lens to all electronic equipment in a six mile radius. My TV still hasn’t recovered, so thanks Brock.
Strowman also threw suggestive glances at his camera lens, but his biggest moment was undoubtedly his casual demolition job on Enzo Amore. The running ramp slide is one of Braun’s better maneuvers, not least because of how sparingly it’s been used thus far. Aggressive pelvic thrusts are all the rage right now, as any good obsessive wrestling fan knows.
Bray Wyatt has had a brief and interesting feud with Goldust, for a legitimate reason and involving legitimate feelings and emotions on both sides. Wyatt has always been best as a long term, slow moving character and this was a perfect example of that.
Balor, meanwhile, appeared on the Titantron to tell touching stories of childhood jaunts through years long past. Nothing says touching and emotional like the mental image of a mini Balor with glorious abs bursting from his chest like an alien parasite.
This left two. Samoa Joe’s absence was memorable in itself given how strong a push he was being given before his injury and how strong a reaction he is likely to get upon his return. Rollins was involved in what I believe was the majority of the second hour, teaming with backup star Ambrose against backup stars Sheamus and Cesaro. Anderson and Gallows were also there.
That of course leaves the most magnificent of the seven – Roman “big dog broke my zipper” Reigns. Roman’s last few weeks have been a repetitive but enjoyable collection of trash talking Cena, being buried by Cena and then not punching Cena in the face. As you might expect, and as was likely the plan, I am now very much looking forward to the moment at which Roman punches Cena in the face.
This week, however, there was no Cena. The question on everybody’s lips was, who was Roman going to not punch if the guy he usually doesn’t punch wasn’t there to not punch?
A terrible problem for a guy who loves to cock his fist, isn’t it? Sure, Roman went for a succinct promo that contained a wonderful piece of sound editing. How anyone in the back knew to blank Roman’s naughty word from the audio before Reigns actually said it is beyond me. Incredible stuff.
So Roman also swore, but he didn’t make mental love to any electronic equipment in the process. He verbally attacked Cena, but couldn’t then complete his role as the guy who doesn’t punch Cena.
Something was missing and it wasn’t the patented Dance Dance Revolution t-shirt. He made his promo, he got people booing, he even interacted positively with the audience like a confident, assured top guy should do. So what was missing? He didn’t even get much hate as he walked down that ramp.
There is a moment coming in the not too distant future in which John Cena and Brock Lesnar are not in the WWE. The writing is on the wall for a post-WrestleMania in which Lesnar is replaced by Reigns. In the course of one year are we going to see Roman replace and retire The Undertaker, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar?
Who’s to say? One thing’s for certain, a WWE without those three is a WWE that might just struggle. Roman Reigns might just be the only guy at the required level to take their place right now.
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
You can only say yes when the odds in question didn’t exist.
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Like what you're reading? Help me get to 1,000 followers by the end of the year with a like or a retweet and have my eternal thanks. Thanks!
— Tom Colohue (@Colohue) August 29, 2017
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #35: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top