Roman Reigns is set to take on the Undertaker at WrestleMania this Sunday in one of the biggest matches on the card. It will be a straight up singles match without any stipulations, but it’s been one of the three matches being discussed as the potential main event for the show. As of now, it’s expected that Brock Lesnar and Goldberg will close out the night, but Roman Reigns vs. Undertaker and Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton have also been considered.
From a tangible perspective, the feud between Roman Reigns and the Undertaker ignited at the RoyalRumble when Reigns eliminated the Deadman from the eponymous main event match. However, you could argue that the groundwork for this marquee program was being laid for some time with Reigns claiming the ring was his yard, a phrase previously reserved for the Undertaker.
This will not be a gimmick match, and with the streak no longer on the line, this bout is being viewed as a passing of the torch in many respects and one that Roman Reigns is expected to win. However, the Undertaker wrestled Bray Wyatt under similar circumstances in 2015 and ‘Taker was victorious. The build-up to that match was viewed as far more superior to the lackluster Reigns-Undertaker storyline in 2017, though Wyatt has not been thought of internally the same way management sees Roman Reigns.
The other reason that Reigns is the favorite going into Sunday is how the WWE is positioning him already for next year’s WrestleMania. Two weeks ago, the news leaked out that the company has already penciled-in a main event featuring Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. WWE officials are rebooting the same build-up that failed two years ago when Vince McMahon and company called a late audible and inserted Seth Rollins into the title picture.
The plan then was for Lesnar to be built into an unbeatable monster after breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak the year before, only for Roman Reigns to finally dethrone The Beast and become the new face of the company. Now, Lesnar will conquer Goldberg en route to another year of roster domination until Reigns, once again, is anointed.
Roman was supposed to take a backseat to the main event scene after failing a Wellness Policy test last summer and the WWE moving forward with Finn Balor as the top babyface on RAW. It proved short-lived, however, with Balor going down with an injury and the company botching the Seth Rollins return. Reigns was inserted back into the spotlight, and despite not winning the top title, he’s positioned in a the key role officials have long wanted.
There has been speculation that Roman Reigns will turn heel at WrestleMania this Sunday, but that may only come if his match with the Undertaker does, in fact, go on last. That could also mean the end of the Phenom’s career, with both angles being done in conjunction. However, the expectation is that Reigns will resume his feud with Braun Strowman after WrestleMania, an indication that the heel turn won’t be complete. However it all shakes out, he is sure to be the most booed wrestler on the card in Orlando.
The two major factors in booking Roman Reigns in this high profile spot, and pre-positioning him in the main event of next year’s WrestleMania is his merchandise and nightly reactions. With John Cena now considered a part-time superstar, Roman Reigns sells more merchandise than any other full-time member of the roster and no one else is considered close or ready to take the spot from him.
Also, the reaction generated by a Roman Reigns entrance is more significant than anyone else on most nights as well. It may be mostly negative, but the company cares about noise, not whether fans boo or cheer him. It’s been clear for a while that they are using the same approach with Reigns as they have with Cena for so long. It should be noted that there is a camp that believes Roman could become the great babyface they want by first turning heel, but as long as the merchandise numbers stay on top, a full-fledged turn will likely never happen.
[Featured Image by WWE]