As expected, Roman Reigns won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the very first time in his career at this past Sunday’s Survivor Series. However, his very first title reign didn’t last long, as Sheamus successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract just a little over five minutes after Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose in the WWE Championship tournament finals.
The Sheamus cash-in came as a surprise to some, but it being a successful cash-in is what has gotten a lot of people talking.
When Survivor Series went off the air on Sunday, WWE fans questioned the company’s move to put their main championship on a guy like Sheamus, especially at a time like this, where their weekly television ratings are steadily declining.
There were plenty of other options for WWE heading into Survivor Series. Some thought that Dean Ambrose would win the WWE Title and turn heel. Others thought that Reigns would win the title, and either continue on as a babyface or join The Authority as the company’s new top heel. While those ideas are better than what they actually ended up doing, obviously the WWE higher-ups felt that Sheamus would be a better transitional WWE Champion than Ambrose would be.
The plan is still for Reigns to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion either before WrestleMania or at the event itself. Either way, WWE wants Reigns to be in the WWE Title match in Dallas next spring.
Coming out of Survivor Series, WWE wanted to accomplish two things: create a new top heel, and create sympathy for Roman Reigns, so that the fans will quit booing him.
So, how is WWE planning on creating sympathy for Reigns? The answer is simple. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, WWE is going to book Reigns exactly like how they booked Daniel Bryan leading up to WrestleMania 30, where Bryan was constantly getting screwed out of the WWE Title. By doing this, they’re hoping that Reigns will appear as the underdog, as opposed to being the company’s guy, and he’ll become as popular with the fans as Daniel Bryan was in 2013 and 2014.
“The little game that’s going on right now is that [WWE] is trying to manipulate the crowd. They don’t want to have Roman Reigns as the champion while the people are booing him. Their mentality is ‘hey, look what happened to Daniel Bryan.’ So, that’s who they’re booking him as, because Daniel Bryan got popular.”
This past Monday’s RAW saw Reigns get the best reaction from the crowd that he has gotten in a while, so, for one week at least, WWE’s plan has worked. Will it work going up until WrestleMania and beyond? Only time will tell.
As previously mentioned, the plan is for Reigns to either be WWE World Heavyweight Champion heading into WrestleMania next April or be in the championship match at the event. Who will his opponent be? Well, that’s something that’s still a mystery, but Meltzer threw out some names that WWE is considering at the moment.
One of those names is Brock Lesnar, which would be a rematch from last year. WWE is interested in doing Reigns vs. Lesnar 2. So that match is a possibility.
As for other potential opponents for Reigns, at the moment, WWE is considering three guys: John Cena, The Undertaker, and Triple H, with Triple H being the most likely of the three to face Reigns due to the fact that both of his previously planned WrestleMania opponents — Seth Rollins and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — won’t be wrestling on the show at all.
[Featured image via WWE]