SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Roman Reigns may be back in full force, but he’s returning to a very different place than the world he left in October. The WWE Universe no longer revolves around Roman Reigns. This past Monday he received the biggest pop of his career, a well-deserved one at that, when he announced that his leukemia was in remission, but I fear that honeymoon could be short-lived if not managed properly.
Having beat cancer for a second time, Roman has a lot of goodwill with the fans right now, but Vince McMahon can make that all go away with the flick of a pen. I concur with PW Torch VIP analyst Todd Martin, as stated on the most recent episode of “The Fix” VIP podcast, that the top babyface in the company right now is Becky Lynch.
If Roman starts eating into her time and her monster push begins to decrease while he starts getting four or five segments on Raw, there’s going to be a backlash and the boos will return in force. He needs to be carefully weaved into a story where he won’t appear to be big-footing anything. As improbable as this would have been a year ago, a feud with Baron Corbin may be the best thing for him.
Reigns’s biggest problem last time around that he was pushed as the top babyface to a resistant audience and his push commanded so much creative energy that everyone else on the Raw roster suffered as a result.
This created a massive dilemma that Vince ran into when Roman left. Everyone else on the roster had been so neglected that there was nobody immediately ready to step into his spot. Eventually Seth Rollins was elevated to number one male babyface (#2 overall behind Lynch), but he had to get through a disappointing feud with Dean Ambrose first.
Vince has to resist the temptation of becoming obsessed with Roman again. He cannot afford to once again starve the rest of his roster of creative attention in order to get Roman over. Nobody wins if that happens. Not Vince, not Roman, not a single person on the Raw roster, and most of all not the fans.
Vince also has to consider Roman’s health. I’m sure Roman was chomping at the bit to get back in the ring. I would be too if I had been kept from doing what I love for four months, but the reality is cancer is a tricky thing. I don’t presume to know the details of Roman’s medical situation. However, from a business perspective, Vince would be negligent if he weren’t at least a little hesitant to build everything around a man who could, in theory, become sick again at any time, and perhaps exacerbated by putting too much pressure on him mentally and physically.
Roman must be handled very delicately right now if Vince wants to keep the fans from falling back into their Pavlovian pattern of booing vociferously the moment The Big Dog’s music hits.
Send a guest editorial for consideration to email@example.com.