In a matter of mere minutes, the joy and relief of hearing Braun Strowman’s familiar roar over the loud speakers juxtaposed with Roman’s quick title victory is probably enough to deflate even the most faithful of wrestling fans.
We didn’t get what we wanted tonight.
Kevin Owens cashing in? Not only did that not happen, he wasn’t even going to be taken serious in this plan given his quick squash. This may not have been high on many people’s priority list, but I can guarantee you it went ahead of Roman for most.
Roman heel turn? He’ll only be a heel to his detractors and never one that plays up to the perception. Whether it was Paul Heyman joining him in some crazy plot twist or Reigns doing some out of character shenanigans, it probably was a pipe dream given Vince’s vision for the guy.
Strowman cash in? Sure, it seemed like a realistic possibility tonight but the gimmick of cashing in on a vulnerable champion doesn’t fit the personality, and Braun even admitted the fact tonight.
No, what we got was Roman Reigns spewing off all of the scripted lines that would have been better served for anyone else as the show went off the air- lines about bringing the Universal title back to RAW and being our full time champion.
Roman starred tonight in a role that probably should have gone to Seth Rollins. The role of actual hero who can get a hot crowd behind him and believing he can end the cocky, entitled, champion who doesn’t have a shared passion for the business. Yes, this role was tailor made for Seth to sling some stones and slay Goliath.
And that’s why it pains me to say this, but Roman winning was best for business tonight.
No, I haven’t bought into WWE’s propaganda. In fact, I was on twitter asking the wrestling gods for a 35th birthday present which was a simple demand: Summerslam to go off the air with anything but a baby face Roman Reigns holding the championship.
I don’t have my foam finger out for the guy, I’m not endorsing him as the best person to usher a post Lesnar world, and I certainly hate his roster position as much as the next guy.. but on this night in this particular corner the WWE backed themselves into, Roman winning was best for business.
I do not remember an individual in recent memory who has felt like a world champion without actually holding the hardware for two years. Roman has lurked in WWE’s plans for so long that it has killed the joy of fans who stop themselves from organically enjoying an event in exchange for wondering how Reigns will ruin their night.
Roman the chaser is worse than Roman the champion by a comfortable mile.
Roman the chaser managed to kill the Shield reunion mostly by just being a part of it. We all know that the real Shield reunion happened when Seth Rollins character maturation came full circle and he had to deal with the repercussions of earning Dean Ambrose’s validation, which of course did not come easy. That was true heart and forgiveness, Roman just happened to show up for part 2 because he needed some back up and a purpose before Wrestlemania.
Roman the chaser briefly stopped the momentum of the Intercontinental title’s rise to prominence as the belt made a stop on the “lets give Roman something to do before Mania” tour last year.
Roman the chaser ruined Elimination Chamber 2018 when Braun was eliminating people and dominating left and right before “underdog” Reigns brought that to an abrupt halt. Our last and final hope of the powers that be changing their minds was crumbled on that very night.
Roman the chaser lurked around months too long building a redemption story that never needed to be told. His losses to Lesnar and lack of tangible motivation left a lot to be desired and is worse for the company than Roman being the champion himself.
Roman Reigns as champion opens up the most options of any scenario that could have come out of tonight.
Kevin Owens– Let’s say he found a way to beat Strowman by hook or by crook and then found his way into winning the Universal championship. Haven’t we already seen him spoon fed the Universal title by HHH? It would have made ZERO sense for him to be the champion doing essentially the same thing over again. Not only that, he really needs to be built up again and the context of it made no sense to do. I think we are heading towards a face turn sooner than later, and that is a story that needs to slowly develop with the fans.
Braun Strowman– Braun wins the title, the fans go crazy, we get what we want as the show goes off the air. Or do we? No, probably not. The threat of “Roman the chaser” would lurk like hell and we would again have all that familiar anxiety wondering not if Roman wins the title, but when I think Strowman comes off more as an Undertaker type who probably isn’t built to have lengthy title reigns in the manner that AJ Styles has. Who matches up with him? Do you want to see a bunch of Braun/Roman matches and maybe Braun/Lashley? Nope.
Brock Lesnar– If the company had chosen to keep him as champion and stretched him out even longer, we likely would have had to deal with Roman Reigns in some capacity. I assume even the WWE wouldn’t be stupid enough to give us ANOTHER 1-on-1 match, but there’s no doubt Reigns would’ve been at or near the title picture as we endured the idle Lesnar even longer.
So who’s the best option? Roman Reigns. Re-match with Lashley (who beat him once) is a possibility, matches with Braun who could cash in ahead of time are possible, and a Shield triple threat or combinations of fighting Seth and Dean would also be on the horizon. Putting your most polarizing figure, even if the company paints him as a babyface, opens the door for LOTS of talent to get those built in cheers to be the guy who can knock off the big dog.
For those of you feeling down, lift your heads up. The band aid has been ripped off, the title is back to a full time competitor, and there are several brand new possibilities opened up here even if the company wants to give Roman a lengthy title run.. No more Roman redemption story, no more fillers while we wait on him in the main events. He’s the champ and the hunter has become the hunted. If he runs roughshod over everyone, your worst case scenario is that we are banking on someone to beat him rather than waiting around for Roman to take what eluded him for 2 years and tortured all of us.
If I could go back to Wrestlemania, I’d have booked Roman to win the title there and Seth to possibly take it at Summerslam. That didn’t happen and I wish it had. On this night, however, Roman winning was the best thing the company could do to stretch out intriguing feuds for the rest of the calendar year and beyond.
Roman the chaser is gone, and that is what you should take solace in.