It took a lot of time and effort, but it seems like WWE was finally able to give Roman Reigns the title without a sea of boos to follow. It took Vince McMahon himself to make it happen. Proving that he will forever be one of the greatest heels in professional wrestling, Vince gave Reigns the type of treatment usually reserved for the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, and CM Punk. In other words, big stars. And while Roman Reigns may not have had the crowd fully behind him leading up to the match, the big star treatment finally made him a legitimate big name overnight.
The biggest problem Reigns has had in the past was how he was pushed and handled. But it seems like WWE has allowed his character to act more natural after TLC. Raw started off with Stephanie McMahon coming face to face with Reigns, but he was able to avoid a long and boring promo while keeping it short and sweet instead. And while Reigns was still booked overwhelmingly strong, (He ran through the League of Nations, Vince distracting the Ref and breaking up a count, a White Noise and a Brogue kick, and was still able to score the pinfall after giving Vince his comeuppance) Vince’s involvement helped Reigns at least give the illusion that he worked his ass off to leave Raw with the title. Which in a way finally helped him get over with the crowd somewhat organically, and reminded fans that the world title can still change on Raw and not just big events.
Fans are now invested in Reigns. But unlike the reaction Dean Ambrose received earlier in the night, fans are invested in to the storyline around Reigns rather than Roman himself. So he will possibly never get as huge of a pop as Dean has received, but WWE has successfully maneuvered him away from boo territory. We’re finally behind him because we legitimately want to see what happens next. And to be honest, Raw hasn’t ended with fans genuinely excited for the next episode in a long time.
It seems like WWE and fans have finally made a compromise with each other. WWE has based their entire programming around pushing one particular superstar, and WWE fans have grown bored with how the company had become stagnant while trying to get Reigns over. So ratings have dropped significantly, and a lot of people, including me, avoided watching TLC out of boredom with the product. But the compromise made was that fans are willing to accept Roman Reigns as world champion, and even cheer for him, if WWE is willing to give us outstanding programming behind him. Because there is no doubt that the way the main event went down would have ended with the crowd booing how strong Reigns was overbooked if it wasn’t for Vince McMahon’s involvement.
This episode of Raw delivered the kind of show fans have been craving for years. It also showed that no matter how hard the Authority tries, they can not hold a candle to Vincent K. McMahon’s presence. And most importantly, if you shove someone down the fans’ throats long enough, they will eventually stop fighting it in hopes of just getting it over with and moving on; which is what I think has finally happened to Reigns. Because like him or not, WWE was willing to continue pushing him despite the massive drop in ratings. Nothing says “We’re not behind this guy” more than die hard wrestling fans deciding to not tune in at all. But WWE was finally able to have their cake and eat it by going as far as Vince himself getting Reigns over, and fans are finally able to enjoy Raw again for the storytelling. So, congratulations Roman Reigns. We now tolerate you. Now WWE can finally stop holding the show hostage, and move on. For the love of God, move on.