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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 – with limited 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
So you may have noticed that, this time last week, your life felt empty, quiet and dark. Your poor soul, reaching out for fellowship on these cold wintery nights (it’s still snowing in the UK because, you know, WWE logic) felt someone vacant. You felt lonely, heartbroken and dead inside. Yes indeed, there was no Roman Reignsometer last week.
Why? Well you see Roman Reigns might have a good storyline but he’s not exactly been facing much in the way of odds recently. His last actual match was the Elimination Chamber and though his promo segments have been littered all across the Raw card he’s essentially been saying the exact same thing for the last three weeks.
So, given that there really isn’t much I can do to mock Roman, fans, WWE, Wade Keller, myself and the small race of pygmy chipmunks that live underneath my mattress, where does that leave me and my Reignsometer?
If a Roman Reigns beats the odd but no one is there to see it, is he truly overpushed? Did that hurt your brain as much as it hurt mine?
And so what are my options? I could highlight why his new face turn isn’t really working? Wade Keller pointed out his reasoning behind this in a Raw recap recently and pretty much nailed it.
“Don’t touch my microphone” he says in that ineffably smug way that I very much enjoy but nobody else seems to.
“…my ring” he calls it in that same glorious manner in which he declared the ring his yard so long ago and made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
So there’s not really much room for that when it’s been very clearly explained, repeatedly, on hundreds of different sites before. I could maybe pull apart everything Roman said, word for word, but that means I would be listening to Roman Reigns about 200 times, or reading transcripts and using my absolute lack of transcription skills because knowing me I’m just going to completely forget that copy and past actually exists.
So tell you what I’m going to do. Now, bear with me, don’t run away. Give me a chance, okay? I’m going to tell you why I think Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar should main event Wrestlemania. I’m going to tell you why I think Roman Reigns should join Hulk Hogan as the only other man to have ever main evented Wrestlemania four years in a row.
Wow, okay, I see that about seventy percent of my readers just walked out the door. Come back, come back, I’m not insane, honest!
For me, the rights to main event Wrestlemania 34, a mania which is already promising an immensely strong and varied card, is not quite as big a deal as it is for a lot of the fandom out there. You see, a lot of people are personally insulted that they might have to suffer Roman Reigns being the last match at Wrestlemania. Certainly these people are yet to discover the off button on their TVs, or are yet to discover the life changing wonder that is the TV remote.
Don’t get me wrong; I did not watch much of Reigns vs. HHH at WM32. As I recall I stayed up all night to watch that show and, with the general consensus of the friends who travelled to work with me an hour later at 7am, we all agreed that we could honestly have turned it off the second Charlotte Flair had taken the women’s championship for herself.
The battle royal was okay. Shane McMahon kicked out of a last ride onto steps, a tombstone and a choke slam before the foregone conclusion of him jumping off of the top of the cell happened and Reigns vs. HHH wasn’t so much an obvious finish as an obvious everything. I’m a HHH fan – have been since his ladder match with The Rock at Summer slam ‘98 – but that doesn’t change the fact that his matches have been one track formulaic for decades.
So why am I more excited for this one? Why do I think Reigns vs. Lesnar should main event? Well, many reasons.
Firstly, over the course of the last year, WWE have been trying to make a big deal out of the Universal Championship. With the belt not on TV though, and The Miz doing a great job making the Intercontinental title relevant in its absence, they haven’t been altogether successful. It started so well, with a year long storyline that saw the rise of Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman as a by-product.
Right at the beginning everyone was talking about slaying the beast but over time that concept simply vanished.
As such, the UV title really needs this to main event the biggest show of the year. I see a lot of people unhappy when a world title doesn’t take up the final match on the card and that’s what they’re trying to make this belt into.
Why else? Well I think the length of the storyline should mean something. While potentially huge matches such as the IC triple threat or the WWE championship match will be tremendous affairs that I won’t be blinking during, neither storyline is particular long term or well built. The history between Styles and Nakamura might be well known to Japanese fans but the average mania viewer has no experience of that history.
Reigns vs. Lesnar is a match that we first saw three years ago and we never got a winner. While Lesnar has been on a roll, Reigns has been on quite a slow burn. He’s lost to Braun Strowman on a number of occasions. He was pinned by Lesnar at Summerslam. He was beaten by Nakamura at the Rumble from a very strong position. In kayfabe terms Roman has a lot to prove. Add in what he’s been saying lately, most of which makes a lot of sense, and the motivations on both sides are very clear and polished.
It’s also going to be a very fun match. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar have put on some of the highest rated spectacles that there have been this year. Lesnar’s showing against Joe, AJ Styles and the Summerslam four way, coming off the back of his intense brawl with Goldberg at last year’s mania, have been heavily entertaining. Meanwhile, Roman’s IC title run was one of the most positively heralded in years. Matches with Jason Jordan, Elias, Samoa Joe again and two matches with The Miz were all delicious morsels.
While some matches technically have greater star power, those matches have a much greater quantity of part time wrestlers. The mixed tag will feature four competitors, only one of which is likely to wrestler another match in the following twelve months. Cena vs. Undertaker has absolutely no stakes because both of them will vanish again straight afterwards even if they don’t retire.
So with that in mind what other matches could main event? Well Styles and Nakamura still could, though Nakamura’s sub par reception and limited time spent on the main roster work heavily against it. I think it’s possible, if severely unlikely, that Charlotte Flair and Asuka could main event the show of shows but sadly this is not going to be their year.
This time last year I was salivating at the prospect of Styles vs. Rollins as the main event this year. However, I am very happy with the show that we have. I’ll cross my fingers that Reigns takes the title straight into a feud with Samoa Joe and that we see Rollins join Styles on Smackdown Live.
Who knows what we’ll get next year?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #54: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top