Could Roman Reigns win the WWE Universal Championship at Royal Rumble 2017? Nothing is certain as we draw closer to WWE’s first big pay-per-view of the year. But pundits believe that the time has never been better for Reigns to become Monday Night RAW‘s main event champion, with a win possibly setting up a feud between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho for the United States title.
On this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW, Roman Reigns lost his United States Championship to Chris Jericho, thus taking away his chances of being a rare double champion with both a main event title and a mid-card belt. Though the decision to have Reigns hold the mid-card U.S. title following his Wellness Policy violation from last year was thought as a good move by many, critics soon suggested that Roman didn’t really care for the belt as much as he should. Goliath wrote that this was especially true when Reigns began going after Kevin Owens’ Universal title late last year.
Meanwhile, WWE appears as determined as ever to push Roman Reigns, not just as a future Universal Champion, but also as the company’s “alpha dog” in waiting, what with John Cena advancing in age and focusing more on outside endeavors. But that’s something that hasn’t sat well with fans, not only because of the “force-feeding” argument, but also because many feel that WWE hasn’t done much to make him worth cheering for.
Normally-comedic YouTuber Martin “LittleKuriboh” Billany, who hosts the WWE parody recap The Mark Remark, debuted on Monday what could be a new regular segment called Mark My Words, and in this serious op-ed segment, he admitted that Reigns has improved a lot, but opined that his quest for the Universal Championship hasn’t been accompanied by a compelling heroic motivation.
“Roman Reigns is an invaluable talent that is being mishandled. I think that much is obvious. He’s a consummate professional, he’s improved significantly on the microphone, he can put on a great match, and he has that definitive badass look. But I have absolutely no reason to cheer for him.”
But whether fans like it or not, there appears to be a solid chance Roman Reigns will win his first WWE Universal Championship at Royal Rumble 2017 and defeat Kevin Owens for the title. Bleacher Report’s Donald Wood is one of those predicting a Reigns win, and in his view, Roman going over at Royal Rumble could set up two things: a feud between erstwhile best friends Owens and Chris Jericho, and one that would bring prestige back to the U.S. Championship after Reigns had seemingly treated it with so little importance.
“Not only would Owens losing at the Royal Rumble give Reigns the Universal Championship, but it also builds to the inevitable Jericho vs. Owens matchup the WWE Universe is eagerly anticipating. Now instead of the feud being for the Universal Championship, it could be centered on the U.S. title, which would bring prestige back to the belt.”
Writing for Cageside Seats, Marc Normandin agreed that Roman Reigns winning the Universal Championship could also be the catalyst for an Owens vs. Jericho feud and the eventual breakup of their storyline friendship. He added that if Reigns ends up beating Owens for the Monday Night RAW-exclusive Universal title, fans shouldn’t react so violently against it, as SmackDown Live‘s WWE World Championship, which is currently held by AJ Styles, remains the most prestigious belt in all of WWE.
“The Universal Championship, despite its interstellar naming conventions, is not the top belt in WWE: that still belongs to the WWE World Championship, which has history on its side as well as a less-neutered champ and a better show behind him.”
It’s still impossible to predict Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship win at Royal Rumble with certainty. But it may be an eventuality fans should brace themselves for in the coming weeks, and one with the potential silver lining of triggering an intriguing rivalry between the two men he currently feuds against.
[Featured Image by WWE]