It may be WWE’s latest attempt to help him get over as a babyface and/or an opportunity for him to feud with a different bunch of heels. But the latest WWE brand trade rumors suggest that Roman Reigns may join SmackDown Live’s roster, though it still remains unclear whom the blue brand may be sending to Monday Night RAW in exchange for “The Big Dog.”
As the Inquisitr reported yesterday, WWE has even bigger plans for Roman Reigns. With many expecting Reigns to defeat and possibly retire The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, the polarizing Monday Night RAW mainstay may likely continue to receive more than his share of boos from angry audiences. But the coming months may see Roman still pushed as a babyface character and possibly facing Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34.
According to Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio, the plan appears to have Roman Reigns step into the role currently held by SmackDown Live’s John Cena — WWE’s so-called “face of the company,” and a top draw in terms of driving TV ratings, YouTube video views, merchandise sales, and other metrics.
Aside from the widely-held belief that WWE is forcing its fans — the WWE Universe — to cheer Reigns, some believe his rivalries on Monday Night RAW are getting repetitive. In January, SportsKeeda wrote that Roman had faced Kevin Owens in 14 out of the 18 RAW matches he competed in since the July 2016 brand split. But with WrestleMania 33 approaching and WWE brand trade rumors heating up on occasion, the aftermath of WWE’s biggest pay-per-view event of the year may be a good opportunity for several wrestlers to switch brands and face a different set of rivals.
Apparently, the top name rumored for a brand trade is Roman Reigns, who could jump to SmackDown Live from Monday Night RAW if the rumors are on-point. A new report from PWInsider Elite suggests that there have been “discussions to solidify” Reigns’ move from the red brand to the blue brand, though details on the potential move are still lacking. Aside from the lack of information on whom RAW may be getting in return for Reigns, it still isn’t sure when the brand switch may take place.
Regardless of when it happens, however, Wrestling Inc. believes that having Roman Reigns on SmackDown is a good idea and a good chance for him to face other heel wrestlers, aside from the usual opponents he gets on Monday Night RAW.
“Not only would this get Reigns out of the repetitive cycle of competing against Kevin Owens, but it would also provide an opportunity to compete against strong heels such as The Miz and Baron Corbin.”
AJ Styles is another main event heel Reigns can feud with on SmackDown, though Cageside Seats noted a brand trade rumor that could have the “Phenomenal One” heading to RAW and The New Day coming over to beef up SmackDown’s tag team division. There have also been suggestions from the likes of Forbes that a Roman-AJ trade may be a sensible move due to their similarities — Reigns is a face who gets booed by most fans, while Styles is a “heel in name only,” with his wrestling skills winning fans over despite his villainous actions.
As for the rumored WrestleMania 34 main event plans, which would have Brock Lesnar holding the Universal Championship and Reigns beating Lesnar for the title, a move to SmackDown would make it hard to plan a feud against the RAW brand’s Lesnar, unless Reigns wins his second Royal Rumble in 2018, thereby giving him an automatic championship shot and WrestleMania main event.
Still, it appears to be WWE’s plans to make Roman Reigns into a “franchise player” in a similar vein to John Cena that serve as the main motivating factor for the brand switch talks. PWInsider Elite also noted that the “lack of strong babyfaces” on SmackDown Live as another reason why WWE is considering sending Reigns to the blue brand — apart from Cena and Dean Ambrose, SmackDown lacks clear-cut babyfaces in its main event and upper mid-card ranks.
Do you think Roman Reigns should go to SmackDown Live for a fresh start, or should he continue feuding against the likes of Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman on Monday Night RAW? We’d like to hear from you, so sound off in the comments section below if you’ve got some thoughts on this new rumor.
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