SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
So you know how this has been the year of Drew McIntyre? How Drew has been a great, fighting champion taking on all comers, being smooth on the mic, strong in the ring, and basically unstoppable? Yeah, Roman Reigns absolutely destroyed him. It wasn’t even fair. As great as McIntyre undoubtedly is, he basically had to sit and smile while he was repeatedly verbally bitch slapped.
This week’s Smackdown was heavy in two things. Firstly, Undertaker talk. He was mentioned a lot. Secondly, promos. Not just any promos, but good promos. The Street Profits cut a good promo. Big E cut a good promo. The New Day cut a good promo. Sami Zayn cut a great promo. The build to Survivor Series actually hasn’t been bad. The tag match has been built on respect. The women’s match has been built on hatred. The top match is pure star power. It’s not the worst is all I’m saying, and that’s not a bad thing. Bobby Lashley really does look good in a suit.
The intro was really long, is what I’m saying. Felt very classical twenty minute talky intro. Not a bad thing if the talking’s good, just really long.
A half hour in, Michael Cole and Corey Graves run down the card. Murphy and Seth Rollins get to have a scrap, finally. Long, long overdue. Daniel Bryan will get another match with Jey Uso, which is nice. Daniel Bryan has even less hair than usual. Most importantly, Drew McIntyre will get the honor of sitting in a contract signing with hashtag The Big Dog, hashtag The Tribal Chief, hashtag The Head Of The Table, Roman Reigns.
As we come back from break nearly 40 minutes in we get our first look at Roman in a recap of the previous Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan match. Roman Reigns does not do much wrestling any more. Instead, he is the most cutting talker in the world all of a sudden. How did that happen?
Near the top of the hour, Roman features in yet another recap hype package. This time we’re recapping last week, when Drew McIntyre invaded Smackdown because reasons. We get to see Drew in a kilt throwing his sword about again and I have absolutely no issue with that.
Drew makes his entrance first so that the proper champion can traditionally enter last. He’s wearing a shirt, which is a shame. I notice they changed his branding. He’s no longer the hashtag Scottish Psychopath, he’s now the hashtag Scottish Warrior. Personally, I’m surprised they don’t want to keep tapping into the psychopath market.
Roman takes his time making his entrance. McIntyre spends a moment looking around as if expecting The Big Dog to enter via the crowd in the old style. Or maybe he was feeling nostalgic about the good old beach ball. I don’t miss beach balls. Cesaro might.
As soon as we have crowds back the first thing that’s happening is that we’re going to get lots and lots of beach balls.
Roman saunters to the ring. He is super casual and super cool. In my years as your Reigns-o-meter writer, dear reader, I have repeatedly torn Roman Reigns and the WWE apart for some truly terrible decision making. For some truly awful acting. Those days are very much in the rear view mirror right now.
Adam Pearce, essentially WWE’s dad since around SummerSlam time, is there to host proceedings. He takes a seat as directed by Roman. Paul Heyman hovers in the background. There are no hand-held microphones. I can’t see any lapel mics so at a guess the table is hooked up. Roman is really supportive and I mean really supportive. Drew is bold in the face of the biggest threat in the company. His record against Roman Reigns is not good. It’s not good at all and there is practically no chance of Roman losing on Sunday.
McIntyre signs the contract and hands it over with a few threats. Roman hovers over the contract with Paul Heyman ensuring that no germs are passed pen to pen. Then Roman goes into Tribal Chief mode. He’s a teacher. He’s a scholar. He’s a saint. He brutalizes the WWE Championship. He brutalizes Raw. He highlights that the WWE Championship is a secondary title. It’s meaningless and its champion is meaningless because nothing is more important than Roman Reigns and whatever title he holds.
Then things get real. Roman says something very simple but all too true. He’s at the top now and he’s going to be at the top for a very long time. Nobody else can be there while Roman is there. Much like the strangleholds of John Cena, Triple H, and Steve Austin in the past, nobody gets to be the top guy as long as there already is a top guy. Drew McIntyre can never be the man around here as long as Roman Reigns is capable of holding gold.
Since WrestleMania, the WWE championship has been the most exciting title in the company and the Universal Championship has just sort of been there. Braun Strowman’s reign wasn’t bad. Admittedly the feud with The Fiend was long and drawn out and featured some really gimmicky things, but on the other brand, Drew McIntyre was destroying all comers and picking up clean win after clean win after clean win.
Drew McIntyre made the WWE Championship the biggest title in the game and then Roman Reigns walked in, reclaimed the Universal championship, and all that was over. Normal service was resumed and Drew was thrown back down the ladder. One day soon Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair will return and Drew McIntyre and his WWE Championship are in even more trouble.
The only way that Drew McIntyre can reclaim the top of that mountain is to not just beat Roman Reigns, but to utterly destroy him. Does anyone actually see that happening?
Keep fighting, Drew. You’re not beating the odds this time. Roman Reigns is the odds.