There’s been a lot of press about Roman Reigns’ 30 day suspension for violating the wellness policy. The suspension raises an array of questions about the triple threat match between Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose at Battleground next month, his role in the upcoming brand split which takes place during his suspension, and more generally, his long-term booking.
WWE is without doubt thoroughly assessing the situation and all its possible ramifications while determining whether its faith and trust in Reigns has been damaged. Personally, I think it’s safe to ignore the speculative information claiming that Roman Reigns’ time is over and that the Roman Empire has fallen.
WWE Creative has put considerable effort over the years to make Reigns its top babyface star and has followed that goal blindly and despite extremely divided public opinion and the ongoing mixed reactions he is getting from live crowds or from the Internet Wrestling Community. I think his position as one of the company’s posterboys and marquee stars is secure. If WWE pulls the plug on the Roman Reigns project, that would foolishly negate years of effort and would come as a total surprise.
WWE Creative’s efforts should be now geared to restoring Reigns’ image moving forward. After all he has had a clean track record up till now; and to my knowledge, he has never been reported to be in trouble with management or the law. He’s already owned up to his mistake via his Twitter account, so why not allow him to regain that place he has earned, and why not make his character evolve in the process? After all, this was the treatment Randy Orton got.
Reigns’ suspension may in fact prove to be handy to WWE Creative if they are planning to tweak his character. 30 days is not a long time and his violation of the wellness policy will still be fresh in everyone’s minds. When he comes back, the boos he gets will only be louder.
I’d argue that would be a golden opportunity to turn him heel. WWE would be wise to tap into the narrative potential the suspension offers. Let him kick off Monday Night RAW or intervene halfway through the show to address the crowd and stare at the cameras. The WWE Universe at this point would be expecting a deep and sincere apology from Reigns and promises that he’ll be a better man. That approach would only keep Reigns in his already stagnant situation. No, what is needed is a reversal. Reigns could take the crowd by surprise and announce that he became increasingly irritated by the boos and bad reactions which happened no matter how hard he worked and no matter who he faced in the ring. He could admit that, though it was wrong and he struggled with the mere thought of it, he violated the wellness policy because all this hatred finally got to him. He could turn around and express his hatred to the crowd, say that his hatred for them was festering inside him and he was doing his best to keep it suppressed. Doing that and insulting the crowds at every chance he gets would help cement him as arguably the biggest heel in the company.
Why not make him come back with Triple H, who is also a top heel, and allow the latter to pat his back with pride. Or why not reveal that Reigns is the new Paul Heyman guy? to make him even more despised, he could win back the title at Battleground and then take the belt with him to RAW; Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose could be drafted to SmackDown, creating a significant obstacle for them should they seek payback. If Battleground is too early, why not let him recapture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship using heel tactics at SummerSlam.
The heel narrative options for Reigns come naturally and easier to buy into. There’s opportunity to be seized here.
The positive news now is that it seems like WWE is keeping Roman Reigns for the triple threat match at Battleground as no changes have been made to the main event. But regardless of the scenario chosen – be it a heel turn or business as usual – it looks like there will be tough times ahead for Roman Reigns.