KELLER’S TAKE: What Reigns’s loss last night was setting up, and how Lesnar re-signing with WWE plays into that

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Roman Reigns (artist Joel Tesch © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

The Roman Reigns Era hasn’t been deleted. It’s just been delayed until Apr. 27.

The news of Brock Lesnar signing for another match – or more – this afternoon is no surprise. It had to be that either reports that his last contractual match at WrestleMania 34 last night were wrong or that he signed for at least another match. There is virtually zero chance Vince McMahon would bypass a chance for Lesnar to lose the Universal Title in the ring, especially to Roman Reigns, no matter what the situation.

Wade Keller, editorSo without details on whether Lesnar signed for more than the Apr. 27 date in Saudi Arabia, it’s not clear whether the unexpected finish at WrestleMania 34 last night was a step away from Vince McMahon’s commitment to Reigns or a delay in the long-planned transition to Reigns to be the central babyface champion on Raw.

My hunch right now is that Lesnar signed for one more match and it’s going to be a match where he loses to Roman Reigns in Saudi Arabia in front of a giant stadium crowd that is more reception to Reigns. McMahon knew that Reigns would likely be heavily booed last night if he won the championship. He probably underestimated the rebellion within the Superdome to the match itself, believing if he delivered a hard-hitting match with no downtime, heavy violence, and a lot of surprising kick-outs, that fans would stay engaged and then pop big for the unexpected finish of Lesnar winning.

Instead, fans were not buying into Reigns kicking out of five F5’s and saw that as more of the same – “McMahon shoving Reigns down their throats.” With the belief that Lesnar was leaving after that match and Reigns winning was “inevitable,” fans checked out early. It didn’t help that the match went on last and was nearly seven hours into the event counting the two-hour Kickoff show.

Last night, many of wondered if Reigns not winning was a sign of McMahon losing faith in Reigns, today it appears that wasn’t the case, and McMahon was simply setting Reigns up to win in a better situation, and booked the match the way he booked it to try to win over fans by having Reigns take a brutal beating and withstand five F5s before going down. I have heard from people in the company that the perception of the Reigns-Lesnar match and how it was meant to be interpreted are far apart.

I expect the narrative on Raw from the announcers to the video packages will ignore the crowd response, and instead focus on Reigns’s gutsy performance and tout how he walked away from the beating of his life. In retrospect, WWE focusing for several minutes on Reigns’s long walk to the back, selling the brutality of the beating he took, was a set-up for his rematch just weeks later.

Until someone else beats Lesnar or until Reigns is


NOW CHECK OUT THIS RELATED ARTICLE: Brock Lesnar re-signs with WWE, will defend his Universal Title against Reigns in a rematch later this month

7 Comments on KELLER’S TAKE: What Reigns’s loss last night was setting up, and how Lesnar re-signing with WWE plays into that

  1. I’m sure the thought process in WWE is that Saudi Arabia will be a much more “Pro-Roman” crowd than Wrestlemania, and that’s why they’ve delayed the grand coronation.

    • It’s a bit weird to do it in Saudi Arabia just to get better crowd audio, they could edit the audio anyway. A better crowd response to Roman won’t change the way fans at home watching TV think.

  2. I don’t understand Vince’s stubborn approach toward this. Maybe with careful booking, and the right audience, you can get Roman a pop in Saudi Arabia? That does nothing for him moving forward, though. People aren’t all of a sudden going to like Roman in, say, Brooklyn, just because he got cheered once in Saudi Arabia.

    I can’t wait until the XFL starts so that Vince has something else to occupy his time, and HHH & Steph can run the WWE with a different vision.

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