Roman Reigns is one of the most dramatic, divisive and discussed WWE performers in history. The company makes desperate play after desperate play to make him your favourite graps guy – 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.
Is Roman Reigns a good guy or a bad guy used to be an awkward question based largely on opinion. If you hate Roman Reigns, you think he’s the good guy. If you don’t, you think he’s the bad guy. Easy, logical and very wrestling based. Now though, who knows what the hell is going on?
The Shield returned last week to a raucous reception. A reception so powerful that it turned to disdain within moments apparently. Is Braun Strowman simply too popular a good guy to boo? Possibly. I mean, WWE only accidentally turned him face last year by having him flip an ambulance with Roman Reigns inside. Even when three on one Strowman still came close to fighting The Shield off.
It was only October last year, in the build towards TLC, that The Shield attacked Strowman in a good way; taking the big man down en route to TLC. Of course, Strowman’s had almost an extra year of push so intense that even Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair are getting together and being a bit jealous but still, you’d think people would be happy to see The Shield, right?
And so we come into this week, where Ultraviolent Champion Roman Reigns enters an arena that’s obviously been paid to be madly in love with you, if you pretend to be in love with him of course. He fistbumps a kid on his way down, completely ignoring a grown man beside the kid who had the world’s most cunning plan in mind to pull his fist away at the last minute. Our captain, our hero.
They recap The Shield reunion, editing out anything that made Strowman look good and meanwhile Coachman forgets that they’re Hounds of Justice and refers to the three as cats for some reason.
Shield merch is now being given locations, similar to that of Lesnar’s Suplex City merch. That’s how you know it’s selling. I wonder if Roman’s brothers in arms will be wearing their combined merch as well.
Roman let’s the crowd boo for a while – nowadays letting the fans boo Roman is in the script as the “opening embrace the hate segment” – before the arrival of a very angry Braun Strowman. He could also be hungry, happy or even flirty; it’s very hard to tell when it comes to Braun Strowman.
Roman shows off his entitlement, heeling it up and pausing to leave space for a “get these hands” chant. Roman declares that he’s held every championship. Tag titles. The US and IC championships. Both top world titles and of course a short lived three month stint as Raw women’s champion. Strowman, clearly the baby face in this scenario, declares ahead of time that he will face Roman in a Hell in a Cell match. They shake hands, the war booked for later in the night, before other drama starts interfering.
Dolph Ziggler, believed to be largely a waste of time in his second year on Smackdown, arrives as a bad guy to a rather large cheer. He manages to turn the crowd back to hating him by showing off his entitlement. A proven heel trait you see.
Entitlement is proven damn heel trait WWE!
Anyway, McIntyre and Ziggler line up against Roman and Strowman, or, you know, Rowman, I guess, in the main event. It’s great having a top tier main event level tag team you can just throw in to any storylines. Corbin does a thing but that’s not important so let’s just pretend it didn’t happen.
In a surprise backstage segment (surprise because it’s sometimes hard to remember that Jinder Mahal works for WWE) we see Dean Ambrose wearing a nice big jacket to hide his The Shield merchandise. Going well this reunion isn’t it? Almost like not everybody is fully committed to it.
Aw hey, Seth’s rocking the shirt. That guys knows. Later Ambrose would tear his shirt straight off. Not a good move for the man who was previously the leader of The Shield.
Before the big match, Roman Reigns, wearing Shield blue and holding a red snakeskin belt over his shoulder, takes on Braun Strowman in a scripted doubt session. Not the best of therapy options in case you were wondering. Roman comes out first to try and keep people from going to bed too early. The camera pans down to the belt, or his below the belt region depending on how attractive you find him.
Within minutes of the match starting, fans were chanting “We Want Strowman.” Naturally, WWE would make them wait as long as possible in the build for a hot tag, because that’s what you do with good guys. After last week i there’s one thing we can be certain of it’s that Roman Reigns is the bad guy here. Roman Reigns and the reunited Shield are the villains of the piece long term. Ziggler and McIntyre might be the bad guys of the moment but it’s all about bad guy Roman trying to keep his previous piece of red clothing away from Braun Strowman.
The moment came. The hot tag. McIntyre stood at ready. Meanwhile, our hero, our angel, the future champion of us all, the anti-Roman, despite being very similar to Roman, did nothing. In fact, he literally just stood there and did nothing.
Opportunism at its best. Well Roman, if you’ve got backup, maybe Strowman should find some too and what better backup that a world renowned veteran and a Scottish Psychopath?
So that whole good guys and bad guys thing sort of went out the window, didn’t it? Are they both bad guys? Both good guys? Is Seth Rollins secretly an evil agent of Triple H? Is Dean Ambrose really, really mad all the time?
Or are there actually no good guys left in professional wrestling?
– Braun Strowman
– Dolph Ziggler
– Drew McIntyre
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
Now let’s go and watch Smackdown, where you definitely know who the good guys and bad guys are, especially that definitely a baby face fan favourite Becky Lynch.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #74: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top