Roman Reigns’ Universal Title Run Is All Killer No Filler
WrestleMania Backlash wasn’t all good, that’s for sure. When someone who doesn’t like ads on the ring mat because it’s deemed too tacky is happy to use an entire match to promote a movie, it’s probably time to start making some changes. Back to what was great about Backlash, and the match of the night goes to Roman Reigns versus Cesaro, or at least it did for a lot of fans.
This won’t have come as a surprise to most watching. Not just because it was Cesaro getting an opportunity he has deserved for the better part of a decade, but because of Reigns. Everything the man touches is turning to gold right now. His segments and his matches are can’t miss, an ingredient WWE has been missing for a while. The Tribal Chief is yet to hit a bum note since he returned, and there’s no sign of that changing any time soon.
Under Our Nose The Whole Time
This is nothing new. Much like John Cena, Reigns has been having great matches for years but has been unable to win over the fans. Proving he can put on top-quality matches with everyone from AJ Styles to Brock Lesnar to Cena himself. The problem has been the way Reigns has been framed for most of that time, something fans tried to tell Vince McMahon but the chairman didn’t want to hear it. His move set, his look, his general aura. Reigns was always destined to be a heel.
The turn has allowed Reigns to take what was an effective style already and turn it up a few notches. The balance of brutality and calculated attack he uses in all of his matches is what makes them so good. His in-ring style now perfectly pairs up with his persona. Plus, as he showed against Daniel Bryan first of all, and then even more so versus Cesaro, the more time passes, the more Reigns shows he doesn’t need anyone’s help to do what he does best.
12 And 0
As the nine-month mark of Reigns’ run as Universal Champion grows closer, it’s hard to pick out a single misstep. The assumption when Reigns returned was that he would battle with The Fiend and Braun Strowman over and over again. That didn’t happen, not even a little bit. Reigns instead feuded with Jey Uso, showing the world just how great a singles star his cousin can be.
And the hits have kept on coming since then. A titanic battle with Drew McIntyre at Survivor Series. An epic series of matches against Kevin Owens. Usually, when a challenger keeps coming back for another beating it can get tiresome. That wasn’t the case with KO, and even if he were to return for yet another match against Reigns most fans would probably be okay with it. Daniel Bryan then did what was effectively the same thing, but it worked because the matches were unmissable.
Leave Them Wanting More, Brother
While the complaints have been few and far between, it has been highlighted that Reigns doesn’t wrestle all that often. Just 16 matches since he became Universal Champion last August. Even though we are here hyping how good Reigns has been in the ring, fewer matches is a good thing. Despite the era of three-hour Raws showing WWE believes more of a good thing is always better, that wouldn’t be the case for The Big Dog.
Much like Hulk Hogan in his prime, Reigns needs to be made to feel special. That he’ll only compete when the stage is big enough to warrant him. It’s why when he defends that Universal Title, it closes the show. His in-ring style might be perfect for who he is, and raises the game of those he wrestles, but just like anything, if fans were exposed to it every week, it would quickly lose its appeal.
It isn’t just the matches that are can’t miss. Every time Reigns is on the screen, the show becomes must-see TV for WWE fans. It’s why, much like Stone Cold on Raw 25 years ago, whatever Reigns has got going on is the running thread throughout SmackDown each week. He opens the show, closes it, and you need to watch all two hours to make sure you don’t miss what’s coming.
Give Everyone What They Want
We’ve reached a point in Reigns’ career that seemed like an impossible destination a few years ago. A point where not only is McMahon happy with what Reigns has become, but the fans are too. He has also reached a point where so many of his matches have been good, we actually want to see him take on Goldberg. The showdown was supposed to take place last year but the pandemic prevented it from happening. Maybe Reigns is the man who can get a good match out of Goldberg at this stage of his career, if there is one in there to be got, of course. Whatever happens, it’s hard to imagine a match between the two would be filler.