Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Roman Reigns could happen as early as WrestleMania 31 and, to be perfectly honest, it would be the match that makes the most sense from a “special guest” perspective. At this point it’s mostly a speculative pairing but it isn’t far fetched. Let’s look at the facts.
First of all, the original plan to place Reigns with the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, dried up when Reigns went under the knife for an incarcerated hernia and had to miss Night of Champions. This was actually a good thing for WWE, however, because it was clear from Reigns’ poor showing at Summerslam and his limited skill set that he was losing fan support. After that, a Reigns-Lesnar main event was well on its way to becoming a dud.
Secondly, WWE and the Texas Rattlesnake are working closely with one another on…something!? Currently, neither side is talking. Austin picks his WWE Network Match of the Week on the podcast every week and he routinely talks shop about wrestling while teasing a potential comeback under the “right circumstances” but he hasn’t confirmed anything. WWE, on the other hand, has been unofficially teasing a big partnership while ordering up a fresh batch of Stone Cold Steve Austin merchandise. They wouldn’t be doing this if Austin’s role in the partnership was minor.
Thirdly, the ultimate plan for WWE is still to make Roman Reigns the face of the company. It’s something in which even his doubting Thomases — people like Jim Ross and, yes, Stone Cold Steve Austin — still recognize the value. The general consensus: no, he’s not ready, but one day soon he could be. And as any fan of wrestling knows, the only way to get green guys like Reigns to improve their game is to put them in the ring with wrestlers who are better than they are. What better way to prepare your future face of the company for the big time than to stick him nose-to-nose with the biggest star to ever work for the WWE?
Plus, beyond being the biggest star Austin is also a darn good worker, who knows more about ring generalship than the collective knowledge of every guy on the active roster. Since Reigns doesn’t have much going on offensively, he needs to learn how to tell a story in the ring. Austin is fantastic at this, and he could teach Reigns a lot.
The only question I would have is this: how do you book the actual match? The buildup is easy enough. Have Austin make a special guest appearance where you rehash some of what he said about “Reigns not being ready.” Obviously, this could instigate an altercation between the two when Reigns confronts him. A Stunner and a Superman punch later, you’ve got the stage set for an intriguing match. (Much-needed since the Undertaker’s days are done.)
Things get much more complicated when it comes to picking a winner. I think a victory at this point would do little to help Reigns. But if he did the job, you could spend a year building his character for a historic rematch similar to what was done with John Cena and The Rock. That way you get two Stone Cold Steve Austin matches at two separate WrestleMania events. Cha-ching.
But what do you think, readers? Should Stone Cold Steve Austin take on Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31, and do you think that’s what the WWE has planned?