When Roman Reigns failed to win the 2014 WWE Royal Rumble, the heads at the biggest wrestling brand seem to make a huge mistake. At WrestleMania 31, he will be set to right some wrongs. In a highly anticipated match against WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Reigns gets the shot that eluded him a year ago.
The match should be billed as the present versus the future.
On the way to lasting until the end of the final participants, Roman Reigns had eclipse an elimination record of 12 superstars (via Bleacher Report). The previous record was held by Kane.
In a thought of fairness, Kane didn't win the 2001 Royal Rumble when he originally set the record. He was defeated by "Stone Cold' Steve Austin in the showdown of the final two combatants, per Wikipedia.
Needless to say, the road to WrestleMania should have come last year for the challenger. The WWE opted to go with a returning Dave Batista instead. WrestleMania 30 featured a triple-threat match with Batista, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton.
Over at my network gig at @120Sports we had @WWERomanReigns on. Watch the interview. #Wrestlemania http://t.co/BjdpQvLFXY
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) March 27, 2015
It was a good match, one that was highly competitive, but it lacked the up and coming superstars who seemed on the verge of greatness.
One of the WWE's biggest failings is that they do not always take advantage of wrestlers on the rise in an expedient manner. Imagine The Rock in his prime not getting that push. He wouldn't be anywhere near the celebrity he is today.
Now consider talented superstars such "Bad News" Barrett, Rusev, and the aforementioned Daniel Bryan. They are wrestlers who have seen their peaks hit great levels, only to be saddled with injuries or what many perceive to be lazy booking.
In the case of Barrett and Bryan, the WWE waited too long to give that final push of main-card status. Barrett got hurt and Bryan was deemed as too small despite his top-notch in-ring capabilities.
Rusev is a different case.
The undefeated brawler wowed fans in his PPV debut at last year's Royal Rumble. While he has the unbeaten streak going, one can clearly see that he is being groomed along with Bray Wyatt as the next big heels of the brand.
Instead of putting him in a main event on one of the lesser pay-per-views, just to see if he can hold down a card, the WWE has kept him on the mid-cards.
Perhaps Rusev's time will come at some point. The WWE should have already tested the waters though. They want to avert a problem later of not striking while the iron is hot.
Roman Reigns was almost a victim of this.
Not having him win the Rumble last year could turn awful. His injury may have forced the WWE's hand. Having him headline the main event at WrestleMania 31 may be the result of not wanting to risk having his star status fade.
The match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar should be billed as the future versus the present.
Fans know that Lesnar is the man to be right now. He has been a great champion who is deserving of the belt. Once it was announced via the Calgary Sun that he re-signed with the WWE, all talk regarding him losing to Reigns can cease. Unpredictability now hovers over the match, which is a great thing.
Whoever wins this match is set up for the long haul. Now what has to happen is the development of a legitimate rivalry.
You have two powerful guys facing each other. All believability of either wrestler winning is present. Both are skilled performers with the ability to grapple or compete technically. If the match is a technical masterpiece, do not be surprised. Fans have no reasons to fear a letdown.
Also looming large in the match is the fact that Seth Rollins has not cashed in on his Money in the Bank briefcase yet.
There are some fans who prefer a clean ending to their matches, there are others who would not mind a little interference. Seth Rollins could jump in, The Rock could exact some revenge. Anything can happen in this match. It will either end in a correlation of Roman Reigns as the face of a new era or yet another example of how dominant of a champion Brock Lesnar is.
Whatever happens tonight, keep in mind that it does not take place if the WWE had waited a little longer to give Roman Reigns the final push he needs to get over the top. It is the present versus the future. Regardless of who wins, everything is looking up for the WWE.