The final segment of Monday Night Raw could not have been booked any better if I had written he script myself. The chemistry between AJ Styles and Roman Reigns is building, getting better and leaving me to question who the villain is in their continuing feud.
This is what is best for WWE. It’s a break from the stagnation we have witnessed for more than two years. A break from the Authority angle and a fresh face on who runs the joint between Shane and Stephanie McMahon. We all know at some point this will all backfire – more than likely leading to a brand split – but for now, let’s all enjoy the show.
Professional wrestling has stepped away from the traditional line of good versus evil. It was discussed at length by Triple H in a recent interview with The Mirror. The comments are seen here on iwnerd.com. The fact wrestlers today are “tweeners” plays right into the company’s plan for Reigns. There is no black and white anymore about these characters. Fans love and hate them, taking a theme from the years of abuse John Cena has taken in the ring for his style and character and a persona that some think is stale.
Make no mistake, Reigns is nowhere near Cena’s level. He may never achieve such super stardom. But the COO of WWE made some interesting comments when it comes to the current company champion and his perception among the fan base.
I think the world is a different place now. I think you’re going to find it very hard now, at the top level, to find anybody that is either a good guy or a bad guy. Someone who is universally loved or universally disliked. It’s very difficult. I think part of that is the internet, in that I don’t care what the topic is, whether it’s politics, music, sports, anything, you can go on the internet and find somebody who loves it and somebody who hates it. You can jump on whatever conversation you want to have with people who are like-minded to what you think, or opposite-minded to what you think. And that emboldens your position right? So I think the time of ‘hey, this is the guy and he’s the good guy’ and everybody goes ‘yay he’s the good guy’ – I think that time has gone. And I think the time of saying ‘this is the bad guy and he’s the evil one and everybody is going to hate that person’ is really gone too.
For years, Ric Flair was the baddest ass in the NWA and WCW and was booed in arenas when he would travel to different promotions with the “Ten pounds of gold” around his waist. But in cities like Charlotte and Greensboro, he was cheered and beloved. The same held true for Jerry Lawler in Memphis, regardless of him turning heel many times over. In Dallas, the Freebirds were loved by all except when they battled the Von Erichs. There is a precedent for this new “status” WWE is promoting, but it’s different in perception and its delivery.
The Reigns-Styles feud is made possible by the sum of its parts, the subplots of the Usos and Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. It’s a perfect escape from the constant injection of Reigns into minds and throats of the fans who have run to the hills from the sell job WWE has forced on paying customers.
It works. Styles could just as easily join his fellow former Bullet Club members – who are clearly heels in this confrontation. Reigns could turn heel and bring his cousins with him. The guessing game is the catch.
Extreme Rules will clearly define which side of the fence both wrestlers stand, Until then, we probably won’t know who will turn and who will remain true. Fans are eating it up. Reigns is getting better in his new role. Styles sells for Reigns better than anyone I have seen yet.
The “tweener” role works and for now, we all should stop questioning it and just enjoy what we see on Monday night. Oddly, it just makes sense.