Let’s start by using a couple expressions we all have heard in life: timing is everything and everything happens for a reason. You can apply both to Roman Reigns and his current injury woes that will see him on the sidelines for two to four months or even longer. It all brings into question if the monster push that everyone seemed to be accepting as being a foregone conclusion may not happen now. Reigns has been long rumored to be the opposition for Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31 and having his moment capturing his first major singles title of any kind in the WWE.
Prior to Roman’s injury he was starting to get a lot of backlash at being what people perceived as the next WWE “golden boy,” replacing John Cena in that role. Online fans in particular had been finding flaws in Reigns and looking for reasons that he shouldn’t be the man and instead, pointing to the assets of his fellow former members of The Shield.
I am not here to tell you Reigns can cut a promo as well as Dean Ambrose can. He can’t and honestly may never be better than he is. Go back in history though; I could say the same thing about Hulk Hogan in comparison to Randy Savage. The Rock in comparison to Stone Cold Steve Austin you could make a similar claim. Is he as good in the ring as Seth Rollins is when he’s in the squared circle? No, he’s not but he doesn’t need to be. Reigns has a look that is undeniable and I am secure enough as a man to state the obvious that he is attractive. He also has a cool factor to him that you can’t teach at the end of the day.
Honestly, Reigns is the right guy to be groomed as the eventual face of this company. He fits the model that the WWE wants for that role. He is always going to be a contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for years to come regardless of how quickly he heals or if he faces Lesnar in April.
Perhaps this injury is a blessing in disguise. Reigns was not getting over with fans to the levels he should have been in part to his own development and in part to an audience that was having a bit of backlash to his push. Not even really to his push, as much as where they perceived it was heading. In this time when Reigns is rehabbing, he can focus on his skills as a performer with his promos and his presentation. This will give an audience that was not exactly fully invested in him an opportunity to miss him. Nothing rehabilitates anyone better than some time on the sidelines.
This is, of course, if the return is handled correctly. Given how much the WWE is behind him — specifically Triple H — you can count on that return being done in a big way. Much like when Triple H returned from a torn quad, I could easily see that the WWE would tease a Reigns return in a similar manner. This could be a risk and create that resentment all over again, but if we get a more polished Reigns on the other side that should be easily handled. The next promo Reigns cuts as a returning active competitor should be the biggest of his career.
Many have also taken issue with his move set. I think this is a bit silly for me to fail to acknowledge the fact that Reigns is really a big guy that should be booked like it. He may move faster than your average big man moves in sports, but just like as in football as a defensive lineman he isn’t doing much more than that. He has good explosion and can make a solid babyface come back. I have far less issues with Reigns in-ring work than most. He isn’t going to be Rollins, Daniel Bryan or even Ambrose in the ring. He doesn’t have to be nor should he be. So when he comes back add a move or two and give those names and maybe that will calm the masses or is it vocal minority.
Ideally, Reigns comes back and he is able to continue on the planned path for him. It is the best thing for not just him, but for the WWE as a whole at this point. I am a huge fan of Ambrose and think he will have his time as a champion and as “the” guy but I don’t see it being a good pairing to have him with Lesnar though. It’s not a match for Rollins either in my opinion. Even though it was teased at “Night of Champions” the logic gap of Rollins beating Lesnar is too big a jump for my mind to make. Even with the ideal circumstances laid out if Cena had not cut him off could I really have believed Rollins could pin a beaten down Lesnar. Sorry to the Seth Rollins fan club but I think he is better suited for guys like Ambrose and a returning Bryan to work with.
And Bryan maybe the wild card to all of this. He is on a schedule that could see him returning around the same time as Reigns, perhaps even a little sooner. This could be a terrible disaster for Reigns depending on how it all works out. Bryan could take all the steam from any Reigns return and as he was for Batista last year become a huge roadblock. Add in the fact that Bryan was supposed to be the one battling Lesnar at Summerslam and he has long had a desire to get in the ring with the former UFC Champion and current WWE Heavyweight Champion. This all could be bad news for Reigns.
The WWE and Reigns need to be very careful, but if handled correctly he could come out on the other side of this thing being better for it. I feel that way, regardless of if he ends up getting his dream situation at Wrestlemania or not. Would it be better if he did? Absolutely it would, but nothing is a guarantee. You only need to ask Bryan about that. He got his moment but his 2014 will be remembered for injuries and a personal, tragic event with the sudden loss of his father. Reigns can only deal with the hand he is dealt and if he is given a royal flush by the WWE or two pair it’s still a long game and he is always going have a seat in this card game that is the main event scene in the WWE.