It’s taken almost two years but the WWE has finally gotten Roman Reigns where they want him. After enduring the wrath of fans, Reigns is finally the babyface they hoped he would be. The real test here is whether the company has the patience to let the organic growth continue.
Roman Reigns was the chosen one, long before he even had his first singles match on the RAW roster. While that certainly made it easy for him internally, externally he was on death on arrival. Once the WWE Universe figured out that he and not Daniel Bryan was the chosen one, they chose to make his ascension as miserable as possible.
Fortunately for those fans, the crack WWE creative team made their job incredibly easy. The WWE creative team continued to write scenarios for Reigns which accented Reigns’ weaknesses while failing to take advantage of his strengths. On the rare occasions they got it right, they were quick to make sure they got back in there and derail his ascension as quick as possible.
Then something happened and Reigns took destiny into his own hands. He finally took hold of that brass ring by failing a WWE Wellness test and getting suspended. Nobody knew it at the time, but that violation would be the catalyst to the rebirth of Reigns. Ironically enough, once Reigns took his direction away from the writers, he finally had a chance.
Vince McMahon finally had enough and demoted Reigns to a mid-card star. Reigns left the company as a recently defeated world champion and returned challenging for the U.S. title. Whether by design or by accident, this actually all worked out in Reigns’ favor. Thanks to the highly talented Rusev, Reigns was finally put inside of the ring with someone the fans refused to boo him against and Roman Reigns finally had a chance.
Vince’s obsession with Reigns will be Reigns’ greatest obstacle. Do Vince and his yes-team see this and use this scenario as an excuse to go back to Reigns in the headline spot? History shows that their impatience to let things grow organically most likely has them thinking of ways to get Reigns back into the championship picture by Survivor Series and that will be a big mistake.
How long does this program with Rusev have? If Monday Night RAW’s main-event was any indication, this feud will not end at SummerSlam. Chances are very good that Rusev will prevail and the two will wrestle again. There will be a fine line at some point where the company will need to end this feud at just the right time, but where they go from there is the big concern.
In my opinion, Reigns is more of an investment than a payoff. It is critical for the company to use this time to re-invest in Reigns, keep him in the mid-upper mic card matches, and let him fight his way to the top. Everyone loves an underdog and there is a great story of redemption here with Reigns fighting his way back to the top from now-WrestleMania.
Whether the powers that be have the patience to see that big payoff in several months or attempt to cash in early? That is always the question. Unfortunately for them, there can only be one redemption story here and they can only play this hand once. Resisting temptation to shove him down the fan’s throats again will be the real test in making sure this thing works once…and for all.