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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 – to limited but vocal success. 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
For a while now, since just after WrestleMania effectively, Roman Reigns has not been the top story in the WWE. Samoa Joe has had his moment. Jinder Mahal has had what feels like a lifetime. Shinsuke Nakamura, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, and A.J. Styles have all been in that top spot. Kurt Angle has had more pay-per-view main events than Roman Reigns has had since WrestleMania. That’s the world that we live in.
Today, everything was made right with the world. Today, for the first time in forever, Roman Reigns opened Raw with a promo in what is now the typical Roman Reigns style (short, confident, plenty of empty space for the fans to boo) with no Kurt Angle, no Stephanie McMahon, and no Shield. Roman, The Guy, The Big Dog, The Roman Empire, The Big Guy, The Dog Empire, I could go on but I won’t. But I could.
Next we have a classic open challenge. Roman defends The Miz’s prestigious Intercontinental Title against any and all comers – if Kurt says it‘s okay, naturally. He steals a line from Cena – who himself stole a line from a The Rock t-shirt back in the day – and Roman moves smoothly into requesting his first challenger.
It’s Bo Dallas! It’s Bo! I bolieve. I want to see this, I… wait, no, it’s Curtis Axel! Neck brace and all he’s going to defend the honor of The Miz and get revenge for the rampant bullying from The Shield, he’s… nope. Well The Miztourage just got more mic time than they’ve had in a good month or so. Bo always looks slick and confusing.
It’s Elias. I spent over £100 on WWE t-shirts on Friday and I didn’t see an Elias one. Would have bought that.
So Elias, who has been pushed hard but subtly in the background, gets to line up against Big Nickname himself in his first title match. He’s come quite far, hasn’t he?
Later, Elias and The Miztourage perform such a stunning musical number that the audience in attendance actually chant that they want Roman. When did you ever expect that to happen? Man’s got talent. That’s good heeling. Way good heeling.
Of course all of this is forgotten when your hero and mine, Roman Reigns, emerges from the seas (his hair is never dry) to do battle with the evil axe-wielding maniac. He’s oiled up. He’s tattooed up. He’s ready to save the day.
Together, these two put on a solid match; probably match of the night depending on whether or not Seth Rollins and Cesaro did much of anything during the three breaks they had to suffer during their match. There’s a Macho Man style elbow drop, some classical Miztourage interference, and even some big power moves. I don’t have a punch line here; it’s just a really good match. Kevin Owens and Randy Orton will be watching over their shoulders on Smackdown tonight.
Roman defends successfully and pledges to love and honor The Miz’s belt forever in his carry over the shoulder like a sack of potatoes style. What a hero.
And finally, in shades of an attack on Lesnar earlier in the year, Samoa Joe brutalises an exhausted Roman. He squeezes the neck, he trash talks to an extreme degree. Roman, tired from the match and the Coquina Clutch, finally succumbs to Samoa Joe’s intense Old Yeller reading in his ear before the lights go out on Roman Reigns for the night.
Going to be a good feud this. Joe was at risk of losing steam. Why waste time feuding with someone as not over as Finn Balor when you can take on a sizable dog instead?
– Bo Dallas
– Curtis Axel
– His own promo skills
– Seth Rollins theme (without Burn It Down) completely stealing the show
– Samoa Joe
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
Yes and no. He successfully defending the title but he now has a full time feud that might see the end of that open challenge. Unless Joe and Roman fight next week to a clean win of course.
Roman can do it! The sea told me so!
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #42: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top