It is quite amazing how times have changed in the WWE regarding Roman Reigns. From what seemed like an impossible way to flip the crowd over from booing him and despising him for reasons that some would say do not hold much weight, has turned the corner positively for The Big Dog. Since WWE split the Shield and he became a singles competitor, Reigns has won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship three times, as well as a reign as United States champion. Since aligning back with The Shield, he has captured the Intercontinental Championship.
One of the biggest perks of reuniting The Shield is WWE's relentless effort in making Reigns the top star of the company. While some strongly criticize this move, Reigns has shown over the past few years that he is willing to put the effort in to continuously improve and mature in both his in-ring work and promo. Despite the forward progress, there were fans who felt that he was over-pushed and undeserving.
However, since The Shield has returned, Reigns has perhaps received more cheers than he has in a number of years. The level of respect from the fans has further increased since Reigns announced that he would be having an Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge.
Since the inception of the IC title Open Challenge, Reigns has competed against Elias and Jason Jordan. Most recently, Reigns competed against Raw Tag Team Champion Cesaro. Not only was this the match of the night to many fans in the WWE Universe, current and former WWE talent also had rave reviews of the match. Although she lost her tag team match on Raw, Bayley still made it a point of importance to announce her approval of the match.
WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin particularly had some very fond words to say about the match. He stated, "Cesaro and Roman just ripped it up. Real good match."
Reigns was also sure to put over the match, speaking highly of Cesaro. He stated that the Swiss Superman is "one of a kind in the ring," and that he has "mad respect" for his effort in the match. While there have been plenty of conversations about why Cesaro should be a top star, even to the point of mocking the "brass ring" reference from Vince McMahon as reported by Wrestling Rumors, he continues to earn his stripes in the ring week after week.