(Photo Credits: Fox Sports)
It seems like the moment has finally arrived. Roman Reigns will go Beast Hunting at SummerSlam for the third time in six months…only this time, he might actually get the job done.
All of us were expecting him to go over Lesnar at this year’s WrestleMania, but to our surprise, the Beast decided to re-sign with the company and hence retained the title.
Then came the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia, a spectacle as big as WrestleMania itself if the WWE promotional machine was to be believed. However, Lesnar still managed to walk out of the squared circle with his Universal Title – albeit barely.
Since then, Lesnar has been pretty much absent from WWE TV in general. Reigns, on the other hand, has been involved in a number of high-profile non-title feuds with some of the top stars in the company.
With SummerSlam on the horizon and Reigns’ promised destiny still awaiting its fulfillment, let us look into the build-up and potential aftermath of this long journey embarked by the Big Dog that started pre-WrestleMania 31.
Reigns’ story is incredibly saddening thanks to the situation he finds himself in. His booking has been besmirched by the powers that be on more than one occasion. And even when it hasn’t, the fans have made it a point to play spoilsport.
It a cyclical process that starts off as a repetitive and clichéd underdog story which no one buys which ultimately leads to the writers giving up and making it a “Roman wins it all” scenario – something that only enrages the fans further.
This, however, has very little to do with Reigns’ in-ring performance. He, in every regard, is a deserving choice to be the top dog of the company.
Excluding his lackluster promo skills – that has, admittedly, improved of late – Reigns fits the mold of a legitimate mega-star who could fill in the shoes of some of the greats of this business.
However, the audience, the so-called WWE Universe, have been very, very indifferent about him.
They unleash their hatred for WWE’s booking onto the man being booked and often times, boo him out of the building regardless of how well he performs.
The live audience, the ones at home or the ones on Twitter; everyone finds a way to incinerate the poor bloke with all they have for a mistake that he didn’t commit – being chosen as Vince McMahon’s guy.
One can never imagine how daunting it must be for an individual to receive constant negativity on such a large scale from thousands of people on a daily basis. To endure such hatred on a regular basis is no small deed and for that alone, the Big Dog deserves our respect.
Which brings us back to the SummerSlam match against Brock Lesnar.
Has the booking leading up to this particular attempt at pulling off Roman’s coronation been any better than the previous ones?
The answer is, surprisingly, YES.
The booking, this time around, has been drastically improved since the last time we saw these two go at it. This improvement didn’t occur out of changes made to Reigns’ character; he is the same old Big Dog that everyone loves to hate.
Instead, it came out of a strength-driven single-dimensional mammoth who was too lazy to really tap into the pro-wrestler that resides within him. In other words, it was borne out of Brock Lesnar’s ability to come across as particularly unlikeable.
Lesnar’s consistency as a performer is undoubtedly a spectacle worth witnessing. However, his character work and development has been uncomfortably abysmal.
Luckily, they’ve finally decided to right their wrongs with the entire scenario. They’ve let Lesnar be as unpleasant as he wants…and in the process, make Roman Reigns come across as a legitimate babyface.
This small change provides credibility not just to Lesnar or Reigns but to the Universal Title and their feud in general. More importantly, this change comes across as a catalyst for something that the WWE hasn’t achieved in all their previous attempts – to finally crown Roman Reigns.
It doesn’t matter if the audience cheers or boos Reigns at this point because for once, he finally gets to be in a solid main title storyline that possesses a legitimate big-fight feel. But one gets the feeling that, given Brock’s whole I’m-bigger-than-WWE demeanour, the boos may be a little softer and the cheers a little more vociferous.
All in all, this just might be the ultimate coronation ceremony that the WWE has been trying to set up for years now.
So much so that if he walks out of the arena with the Universal title, Reigns will have a new aura to him.
He would have finally attained super stardom by slaying the Beast when he’s at his absolute best – about to go and compete in the UFC no less.
WWE has the solid build-up it wanted and all the tools in place for Reigns and Lesnar to make magic as well.
Now, let’s sit back and enjoy the show for once.