REIGNS-O-METER #111: Tracking the Tribal Chief’s ability to beat the odds and remain on top

By Tom Colohue, PWTorch contributor

Roman Reigns (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

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At Survivor Series, Roman Reigns wrestled for the first time since Day One Ish. Roman doesn’t wrestle all that much any more and, when he does, it’s a very different Roman Reigns. It’s a slow, more methodical assault from the top looking down. His superman punches come with less flair and he does a lot less heavy lifting. Literally. When Drew locked in the Kimura it seemed destined for Roman to deadlift him as always happened with Brock Lesnar but no, not this time.

He also dropped his big crucifix powerbomb but I’m guessing that’s Keith Lee related.

What that means is that it’s exciting to see Roman Reigns back in the ring. There are odds again. There is a question of how will he prevail? Who will he have to go through? How many bodies will be stacked against him?

Except, you know, for the past six months there’s been no doubt at any point whether Roman Reigns will win.

He walked into the triple threat with The Fiend and Braun Strowman after the match was already over, got the pin and the title and walked away. He crushed his cousin repeatedly. Braun Strowman – historically a great foil for Roman Reigns – was swept aside whereas previously he had done demolition jobs on Roman. Drew McIntyre, the top guy in the absence of Roman Reigns and Becky Lynch, surely had to do better, right? Wrong.

Drew gave a good account of himself but you can’t stop history. Roman came home and took a sledgehammer to the rest of the division so that he could stand atop it. Hell, the rest of the company are piled beneath him at the moment. Everyone else is so low that Roman barely bothers to actually wrestle. Jey Uso is just there to gatekeep and may well soon be joined by Jimmy Uso and hopefully Naomi to make sure all divisions are accounted for.

Except Sami Zayn. Roman likes Sami. They get sushi together all the time. Sushi Sami they call him. Don’t Google that.

Roman Reigns’ record against Drew McIntyre is exemplary. And let’s not forget that this particular Drew McIntyre was the guy who ended the entire existence of popular upstart Dean Ambrose. Have you seen Ambrose since? Clearly not. Drew claymored him so hard he stopped being a thing entirely. Ambrose never recovered. What I’m saying is that Drew is kind of a big deal, just not compared to Roman Reigns.

At the end of Survivor Series Roman Reigns and the Universal Championship stood tall. That title has come a long way from the days of hide and go seek it used to be involved in. Finally, we have a champion and a leader we can believe in.

On the following Smackdown, Roman was introduced by Jey Uso and we got to enjoy the burly look of a brand new head of the table t-shirt. If you thought this whole thing was just a gimmick leading into Thanksgiving, shame on you. Roman Reigns is going to be Mr Table Pun for the entirety of this particular run.

But Roman doesn’t look happy with Jey at all. After Team SmackDown was decimated by Team Raw at Survivor Series, what does Roman have to be happy about? SmackDown was supposed to be the A show. It was supposed to be Jey’s big moment but simple, blunt cohesion made all the difference. Team Raw’s display as a unit was very impressive and after losing their heaviest hitter in Seth Rollins there was only one way it was possibly going to go for Team SmackDown.

Down. It was going to go down. Down where? Down there.

Roman Reigns lambasts Jey Uso. Lambasts him. He serves him a thorough lambasting the like of which Jey has never seen. Also, yes, he makes Thanksgiving metaphors. He sneaks in the word bitch, which only the top guys are allowed to say on WWE TV. Apollo Crews can’t say bitch on TV. Roman shames Jey in front of Paul Heyman, the fans and the family. The family is very important, despite the fact so far we’ve only really focussed on two of them.

Honestly they should just film a match with The Rock now. It’s not like Roman’s losing that title even if they wait all the way until WrestleMania for it. Just film it now and call it done.

Jey Uso has a fit of rage afterwards, assaulting Otis from behind in the old school “please boo me” style. Roman Reigns is going to have to punish Jey again because you know for a fact WWE aren’t going to bother.

Throughout the night, everybody is talking about Roman Reigns, and by Roman Reigns I of course mean Jey Uso. Daniel Bryan is talking about Roman Reigns via Jey Uso. Kevin Owens is talking about Roman Reigns via Jey Uso. Roman Reigns is talking about Roman Reigns via Jey Uso.

Roman Reigns is woven tightly into every single ongoing storyline. As I mentioned earlier, Roman does a favor for Sushi Sami in lending him a wild Jey Uso to distract Daniel Bryan and save Sushi Sami’s Intercontinental Championship. I need to stop saying Sushi Sami or I’m going to end up making a meme.

Kevin Owens interrupts a family summit. It’s not the most comfortable family summit, given that Jey Uso is just talking away to a clearly uninterested Roman, but Owens adequately annoys Roman into a match tonight. Not a match with Roman obviously; Roman doesn’t wrestle on SmackDown. A match with Jey Uso.

These potential challengers are starting to stack up. Kevin Owens. Daniel Bryan. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a frustrated Otis completely losing it and going after Roman Reigns. It would at least be a nice way to say sorry for taking your briefcase and changing its brand so that you can’t get it back. It’s nearly Christmas guys; think of the Otis.

Kevin Owens meanwhile has been a little directionless lately. No more apparently. He’s main eventing SmackDown and lining up against the top guy in the company. Sorry, against the number two guy in the company Jey Uso. He’s pseudo-partnered with Daniel Bryan. There was a storyline about that that hasn’t been revisited for a while now. He’s making Roman Reigns’ kids ashamed of him or something like that. Look, the whole storyline isn’t exactly iron clad and clear as day but who cares when the wrestling and promos are good, am I right?

The match is solid main event of SmackDown fare. By that I mean we spend a lot of time watching Paul Heyman watch Roman Reigns watch TV during the match. We also get a commercial for Raw. The wrestling is good though. Jey Uso has dominated the main event scene but it’s hard to argue with the idea that he’s earned and actively is earning his place. Jey Uso as family gatekeeper is definitely working. Beat Jey Uso, well then you’re going to get your chance at The Big Dog who sits at the Head of the Roman Empire Table as the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns.

You know what’s missing from Roman Reigns? Branding. He doesn’t have enough nicknames.

Jey Uso lets his frustration out too early and goes for the chair, causing a DQ loss. It also doesn’t ensure the beat down he’s looking for. Kevin Owens takes over, hitting stunners and plentiful chairshots. His most devastating delivery though is right into the camera, directly on to the TV screen that Roman Reigns is watching. I’m going to be honest; that’s clever. That’s a good move. Jey Uso takes an intense beating. Even more so than McIntyre delivered and the camera just keeps zooming in on Kevin Owens’ furious little face.

KO is back, baby. Roman Reigns doesn’t leave his TV screen. Roman Reigns does not wrestle on Smackdown.


CATCH UP… REIGNS-O-METER #110: Tracking the Tribal Chief’s ability to beat the odds and remain on top

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