As WWE counts down the day until Roman Reigns returns to the ring following his recent suspension, what role will the three-time company champion have at the Battleground on July 24? If you look at WWE’s website, Reigns is still prominently featured on the pay-per-view’s promotional poster, along with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
If the McMahons determine that Reigns will still be part of the show and he will wrestle in the main event following his suspension, what kind of impact will that have on viewership and fan reaction? More importantly, how can Reigns, who violated the company’s wellness policy and has been suspended for 30 days, be included since he is not part of the buildup or the promotion of what was supposed to be a historic match?
Respected wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham addressed this in his piece in the Charleston Post and Courier this past weekend. Mooneyham writes …
“The burning question is whether WWE will allow Reigns to compete on the show, and if so, what type of message does that send to the rest of the roster?
If WWE decides to keep Reigns off the show, turning the main event in a one-on-one matchup with Ambrose defending his title against Rollins, the company always has the option to book the advertised three-way bout for an even higher-profile event on Aug. 21 at Summer Slam. That is, of course, if the draft on July 19 doesn’t split the Shield members between the rosters. As of now, though, the Triple Threat match is still on for Battleground.”
I like the idea of keeping Reigns out of the actual match – allowing Rollins and Ambrose to do their thing in the ring – which is something the fans would approve of. What I see is some turn of events at the close of the show, possibly with Reigns turning on Ambrose, should the current champion retain his title. If WWE is still hell bent on getting the former Shield member over with the crowd and for him to remain the future of the promotion, the heel turn must happen and happen soon.
This is a firestorm that isn’t going away, even if Reigns is on the shelf and has only been heard from on his Twitter account when he apologized for his actions. Fans are still reacting to the rumors that the company knew of the issue before Money in the Bank and still allowed Reigns to compete in the main event against Rollins. The known issue probably (yes, this is opinion) led to a last minute decision for Ambrose to win the MITB match and cash in the same night.
It also meant that Kevin Owens, the heavy favorite and the one we all thought would get a huge push following the show, is left in a state of purgatory. We can only watch Owens and Sami Zayn fight night after night for so long.
As Mooneyham wrote, he does not think this is the end of the road for Reigns, but it might make things a bit harder to sell him as a babyface in a wrestling world of ‘tweeners who get more pop from the fans than the chosen one did while he held the belt. A heel turn will be the better move when it comes to promoting Reigns – should he hold the title again – in a match for the ages with John Cena, as it was once thought to happen at some time in 2016.
Until this is resolved and there is a concrete plan (which I am sure there is one that we don’t know), Ambrose should win at Battleground and the three former Brothers in Arms should meet at SummerSlam in August.