WWE has long resisted the urge to turn Roman Reigns heel. But a match with The Undertaker at the “grandest stage of them all” — WrestleMania 33 —may just be what the doctor ordered for a man who has been booed viciously for years despite being booked as a babyface.
As we draw closer to Royal Rumble 2017, most are expecting Roman Reigns to beat Kevin Owens in their match for Owens’ Universal Championship. With the match now a no-disqualification match, one would normally expect the heel Owens to take full advantage of the new stipulation, but it’s not just the experts predicting a Reigns win on Sunday. As of this writing, Wrestling Inc’s polls have 56 percent of fans expecting Roman to beat “KO” at Royal Rumble 2017. And as Smark Out Moment wrote, this may be because WWE would want to build toward a Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho feud, as the onscreen best friends’ partnership ultimately implodes in the run-up to WrestleMania 33.
Recent reports, including a PWMania report on Wednesday, had suggested the possibility of a Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman feud after Royal Rumble 2017. This is based on post-Rumble WWE Live Event schedules, which show Roman facing Braun in upcoming house shows, and PWMania believes this is because WWE Creative is thinking of Reigns vs. Strowman for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 33. But newer reports hint that there may be other backstage plans for the “Big Dog” after all, as we may be seeing Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, a match that may leave WWE with no choice but to go with a Reigns heel turn.
— R-R.Net Media (@RRNETMedia) January 24, 2017
— Joshua Caudill (@JoshuaCaudill85) January 26, 2017
In a report from earlier today, WrestlingNews.co cited the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s latest issue, where the esteemed publication wrote that WWE’s plans now have Roman Reigns facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando. This may likely be a match for the Universal Championship, should Reigns beat Owens at Royal Rumble 2017 or at Fastlane in March. And if Roman does end up winning the Universal belt, this could mark a chance for The Undertaker, now a part-time performer at 51-years-old, to challenge for a main event title in the twilight of his legendary career.
Commenting on the rumored match, WrestlingNews.co sees Reigns vs. ‘Taker as a potential catalyst for a Roman Reigns heel turn, as WWE likely gives up on the idea of Roman as John Cena’s successor as the company’s top good guy.
“It’s an interesting match-up because Reigns is already having trouble getting over with fans and a match with Taker will make sure that he gets booed heavily at ‘Mania. I wonder if they are already looking at a potential heel turn for Reigns. At this stage in his career, there is no way they would turn The Undertaker and even if they did, the fans would still cheer him over Reigns.”
WrestlingNews.co also noted that there aren’t too many previous interactions between Roman Reigns and The Undertaker, though one did take place when Reigns was still booked as a heel. As one-third of The Shield in 2013, Reigns launched a spear on Undertaker following his match against Dean Ambrose, followed by Roman and Dean teaming up with their Shield “brother” Seth Rollins to triple-powerbomb ‘Taker through the announcers’ table. According to WrestlingNews.co, this could be used as a storyline device, as The Undertaker seeks to take some long-overdue revenge on former Shield member Reigns.
WrestleMania 33 is only a few more months away, but even in the two months and change ahead of that event, booking plans can change at the drop of a hat. But if Roman Reigns and The Undertaker do face off at WrestleMania 33, with WWE going with a Reigns heel turn beforehand, it could be exactly what the company needs to capitalize on the boos and jeers Roman has been getting since the weeks leading up to his much-maligned Royal Rumble 2015 victory.
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