WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roman Reigns and the WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Predicament

Fans want Roman Reigns to lose the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. Well not all of them do, just a good number of them. To those fans, nothing would be sweeter or make more sense than to see him go down and a new champ crowned.

But the problem is a Roman Reigns loss won’t fix a thing for the company. In fact it could actually make matters worse for his critics. Not that miserable Reigns haters aren’t just a crazy fun bunch to be around because boy, they sure are. However in this case, it might be wise to keep the hate to a low roar.

The truth is that if Roman loses the belt, the reset button is hit. At first glance that may seem like a good move. After all, there’s nothing like starting over with a different champion and a new direction. But the problem here for anyone that’s ever booed him is the aforementioned reset button leads back to Roman.

So it’s a good idea to stop with what we have, change course, only to end up right back with what we already have? Does that sound like a plan to you? Because rest assured, Roman is not going anywhere and neither is WWE’s commitment to him.

Think back for a second. Why exactly is Roman’s situation often compared to that of Daniel Bryan’s? It’s not just because he has heat with Triple H and The Authority, it’s because both guys share the role of underdog. Bryan may have been a more natural fit in that role but it’s also been thrust upon Roman in order to get him over.

The main difference here of course is that Bryan was over before he beat John Cena for the WWE Championship in 2013. In fact he was over the entire time. Daniel Bryan was over when he turned heel with AJ Lee, he was over with Kane in Team Hell No and he was over when he became a main event star. Each phase saw him grow as a talent, become more popular and achieve great things.

It happened very organically, it was a natural progression for him and for the company. Daniel Bryan became the star that WWE needed because fans wanted him there in the first place; it was a believable transition that made sense and everyone was onboard. That’s what getting over is.

But we all know the same is not true of Roman Reigns. From day one, he has been viewed as an undeserving guy that has no business wearing the gold. He has no background on the independent circuit, he never traveled the world honing his craft and he didn’t put himself through hell to get to the top. In other words, he’s not Daniel Bryan.

WWE knows this, they saw it from the beginning and even though fans made their voices heard in opposition to Roman, it did not prevent the company from elevating him. So instead of just turning him heel and allowing him the chance to explore that side of him as a top guy, WWE pushed on and built the Daniel Bryan angle around him. The problem is there’s a big difference between natural growth and rushed construction.

What happened with Daniel happened with Roman. Roman fought his way up, only to be shoved back down again. Every time he took a shot at The Authority, they came right back and laughed in his face. Every time he took a step forward, the company put him in a seemingly impossible situation that he had to fight his way out of. WWE believed this would eventually get him over in a major way and that’s indeed what happened when he beat Sheamus for the belt on Raw.

But then Brock Lesnar came back and laid him out. In one night, Roman went from being the guy that finally broke through as the main event star to the guy flat on his back thanks to the mega popular box office draw. Reigns may have gotten a measure of revenge on Brock the next week by hitting him with two spears but he was booed for his efforts. The damage had been done and now we’re back to square one.

So what’s the answer? What’s the brilliant move from WWE that will fix all of this? If you buy into popular opinion, then you believe that Triple H will affect the outcome of the Rumble, possibly even winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship himself. A lot of fans are in full agreement with that. At least Roman would no longer have the belt, right?

But what no one is thinking of is the Raw after the Rumble. Are we all truly ready for yet another 20 minute opening segment with The Authority? Are we ready for Triple H as champ when he works a less than less than part time schedule? Do we really believe that’s the best move for WWE and is what we really want?

Do you know what else no one is thinking of? If the Triple H scenario plays out then all of this leads back to Roman once again winning the championship, this time at WrestleMania 32. The Daniel Bryan angle will be fulfilled, with Roman playing the lead. This is what the company believes needs to happen in order to not only get Roman over but to keep him over; beat the only legend left that will be on TV the next night to continue the heat, so it will all mean something.

To put it another way, if you want to reach the mountaintop then you have to get past Triple H to do it. Is that the process that fans really want to get behind? Is all of that worth it, just so we can end up right back where we are now? Is anyone even paying attention?

Roman is the one WWE wants at the top so ultimately, all roads will lead back to that. The problem is not with the players, it’s with the play. As long as that is the case, then no one will be happy.

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Tom Clark

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/

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