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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.
So 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
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