Roman Reigns’ time in the doghouse was short, either due to necessity, Vince McMahon’s stubbornness, or both. Once the Battleground main event was over (Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins) and the brand split was executed, original plans called for both Reigns and Rollins to stay out of the title picture for the next several months while Finn Balor carried the torch, feuding with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
Of course, Balor got hurt on the same night he became the first-ever WWE Universal Champion, leaving the RAW brand with minimal top babyfaces. Seth Rollins was turned shortly after, though many argued he should have come back as a face when he made his return at Extreme Rules. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns descended down the card, but not for long.
Roman’s demotion to the mid-card and feud with Rusev lasted all of three months and ultimately ended with Reigns going over. Upon its conclusion, he vaulted right back into the main event picture, first by being placed on Team RAW for the top storyline (outside of Brock Lesnar and Goldberg) heading into Survivor Series. And from there, Reigns was inserted right back into the championship mix and a program with Universal Champion, Kevin Owens.
The rivalry between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens, which started in November, will likely reach its conclusion this Sunday at the Royal Rumble. The two face off in a No Disqualification match for the title, with Chris Jericho suspended above the ring in a shark cage, preventing him from interfering.
Whether Reigns becomes a four-time world champion (and first time Universal Champion) is still being discussed among WWE officials. The WrestleMania card is expected to be finalized by the end of this week, after ultimate decisions are made on the Royal Rumble and then Fastlane (RAW) and Elimination Chamber (SmackDown).
For the last month, the assumption had been that both top titles would change hands at the Royal Rumble. John Cena would beat AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, and Roman Reigns would dethrone Kevin Owens for the Universal title. However, Vince has had second thoughts due to the fact that the original results have leaked out and is considering changing plans simply out of spite.
With two months in between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, Vince has plenty of time to make a title change in between and not have the switches come this Sunday. But nothing is expected to change as far as the WrestleMania card once it’s set in stone this week, barring an injury. We can, however, identify Roman Reigns’ next opponent once everything is settled with Kevin Owens.
According to a report from Wrestling Inc., the updated advertising for all RAW house shows and live events feature matches between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. That is usually the truest indicator of a superstar’s next program, as it appears Reigns and Strowman will be involved heading into WrestleMania. Strowman has been one of the frontrunners to win the Royal Rumble match for the last several weeks, so if we connect the dots, a Strowman win could lead to a title match with a new Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.
On those same house show advertisements, Kevin Owens is booked but does not have a specific opponent as of yet. Neither does Chris Jericho for that matter. It’s been assumed for some time now that Owens and Jericho’s relationship would eventually implode, leading to a match at WrestleMania. While that has yet to be confirmed by any sources leading up to this week, the live event cards can be telling throughout the year.
In any event, regardless of whether Roman Reigns wins the Universal Championship on Sunday, he appears to be on a crash course with the “Monster Among Men,” Braun Strowman.
[Featured Image by WWE]