One thing us wrestling fans have had to come to terms with over the last few years is that Roman Reigns is happening. Vince McMahon has made up his mind and he will not change it. Roman Reigns is the new top guy and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
However, the majority of fans just aren’t accepting him as the top face. His booking has been handled badly and everyone who remembers how boring WWE became when John Cena was an unbeatable Superman for ten years can see that Roman is being shaped to do the same thing.
Right now, it’s embarrassing every time Reigns makes his entrance. It’s embarrassing for Reigns (who I honestly think could be great if handled better). It’s embarrassing for the announcers who still have to fawn over him like he’s the best thing in the world while the live crowd venomously boo him. And it’s embarrassing for the WWE because they appear unable control the situation.
So how do you take a guy who has been misused for so long and try and make things right?
You turn him heel.
Obviously you turn him heel. This isn’t an original idea. I’m not claiming to be some kind of wrestling visionary. It’s just so logical that everyone can see that it’s the only real option.
While the fans are booing him anyway, WWE should at least make it seem like it’s on purpose.
Not only do you turn him heel, you make him the absolute top heel in the company. A bad guy so hateable that you can launch a myriad of new babyface stars just by having them go up against him.
But to launch a top heel, you need a great heel turn, and with Reigns looking almost certain to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, the opportunity is there for perhaps the greatest heel turn since Hogan.
There are two uncomfortable things that fans have to accept going into the match:
First, Roman will be booked as a babyface through the entire build-up. He will go up against one of the greatest of all-time and will be booked as his equal despite the fact fans won’t buy it for a second.
Second, The Undertaker, and I say this with a heavy heart, probably can’t put on a truly great match anymore. He is way past his prime, he’s suffering with injuries and recovering from surgeries. Even at the Royal Rumble, when his contribution was minimal, he looked slow, tired and rusty. Considering that this will likely be Taker’s final Wrestlemania match, if not his final match ever, I don’t think it would be worthy of his legacy for him to try and fail to put on a decent match.
Instead, here’s what I would do.
Build the match around the idea it is Taker’s last ever Wrestlemania. Hammer that home. Have Reigns talk about how he is honoured to be the last opponent of one of the all-time greats on the biggest stage of them all. Have him say he has all the respect in the world for Taker but he won’t pull any punches and he will prove that WWE is his yard now. All the while he will be getting booed relentlessly because of course he will, but have him keep up his usual schtick regardless. By the time he makes his entrance on the night, he will be the most despised man in the building and, in contrast, Undertaker will be the faciest face that ever faced.
At Wrestlemania, Reigns enters first and waits in the ring for the half hour or so it takes Undertaker to join him. Then, just as Taker is taking off his hat and rolling his eyes back into his skull, Reigns strikes, catching him completely off guard. The bell rings while Reigns continues his assault. Maybe Taker manages to find his feet enough to get some offence in but it’s short-lived. The match is essentially a squash. Reigns destroys Taker.
It would be cool if Reigns has trouble keeping Taker down for the three. Maybe, despite the fact he is never able to mount any real offence, Taker just won’t stay down. If it’s a no DQ match, this is when Reigns grabs a chair to brutally finish things. If not, he just spams Taker with spears until he stops kicking out. Then, after getting the pin and to probably the loudest chorus of boos WWE has ever prompted, Reigns continues the beatdown on a helpless Undertaker before dropping to one knee and striking Taker’s famous pose in mockery. He walks out, laughing, proclaiming that he is the big dog who runs this yard.
I know, I know. This might seem disrespectful to Taker, but it’s a well known fact that Taker is a traditionalist when it comes to the wrestling business. He’s made it very clear in the past that he believes you should “go out on your back”, doing the honours and putting over current talent in your final match. It’s another well known fact Taker is basically the epitome of the “company guy”. He’s proved throughout his long career that he will do what’s best for the business. So what would be more fitting than for Taker to be the one man who finally does what so many before him have failed to do – get Roman over.
It will be Lesnar mauling Orton at Summerslam. It will be Goldberg beating Lesnar in 84 seconds at Survivor Series. It will be all of this and more. It will be the most shocking thing to happen in wrestling for a long time and it will be major news. Anyone who is or ever was a wrestling fan in the last 20 years will be united in outrage; united against Roman Reigns.
That puts WWE in a good position going forward. The heat on Reigns will be Nuclear when he walks out on Raw the next night and then it’s up to WWE to start a new story, one with a new villain on par with Joffrey Baratheon. And, should WWE still want to eventually position Reigns as the face of the company, history shows us it is much easier to take a heel and turn him face than it is to force fans to accept a face that they don’t like.
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