A month ago, Roman Reigns’ glaring absence was at the forefront of WWE, storyline or otherwise. At the time, Reigns’ suspension felt like it would cast a cloud of uncertainty over the entire roster for the 30 days he would be out of action. Many even questioned why WWE officials would continue with the plans to book him in the Battleground main event with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose if he wasn’t on television for the entire build to the match.
As they say, “the show must go on,” and it has, but not without not-so-subtle nods to Reigns on multiple occasions. Seth Rollins had the honors of ribbing Roman, most notably during the debut edition of the “Rollins Report.” But fortunately for Reigns, other headlines have taken some of that spotlight away from his suspension. Unfortunately, one of those headlines involved Brock Lesnar and the recent revelation that he may have violated the Anti-Doping Policy.
But from a storyline perspective, the brand split and Tuesday’s WWE Draft have shifted the focus away from Reigns for the time being as well. Reigns is eligible to be drafted but, of course, will not be in attendance for the first live episode of SmackDown in the new era.
Roman Reigns’ suspension went into effect on June 21, the day after the RAW that followed Money in the Bank and set the stage for the triple threat match for the WWE Championship at Battleground. Reigns’ absence will keep him on the sidelines until this coming Thursday, meaning he will have missed every episode of RAW and SmackDown between then and Sunday’s pay-per-view.
However, Reigns will be back in a WWE ring before Battleground, according to Cageside Seats. Reigns is scheduled to appear at this Saturday’s live event show in Wildwood, New Jersey, and is already advertised on the WWE’s official website. The main roster has two touring shows going that night, as one-half will be in Salisbury, Maryland. Meanwhile, the Wildwoods Convention Center will host the WWE Live SummerSlam Heatwave Tour, and joining Reigns on the card will be Kevin Owens, Rusev, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, and Kalisto, among others. The event begins at 7:30 pm, but no word on who Reigns will be wrestling or how he will be used.
This is likely to help Reigns shake any ring rust off before his big match with Rollins and Ambrose at Battleground the following night, his first night back on television since June 20 as noted. However, Roman is not expected to win the WWE Championship, as Vince McMahon has grown increasingly sour on the man he was once grooming as the face of the company and eventual successor to John Cena.
Original plans called for Reigns and Rollins to be the top two names on RAW while Cena and AJ Styles were picked to headline SmackDown once the brand split was initiated. That will now change quite a bit with Reigns falling out of favor with WWE management and Cena cutting down his schedule considerably to the point that he is no longer scheduled for any domestic house shows for the foreseeable future.
Rollins and Styles have emerged as the most likely candidates to carry the torches for their respective brands. Reigns will still likely be a top pick in the draft and pushed as one of the top stars, but apparently not as the top star he once projected to be. In any event, things will become clearer once the draft is over, and then even more so, at the conclusion of Battleground. We will know by then who the WWE Champion is, whether or not a second title has been introduced and if either of the two losers from the Battleground main event is in consideration for said championship.
[Image via WWE]