There comes a point in which even die hard Roman Reigns fans have to admit that the WWE is pushing him entirely too hard. What started off as an entertaining episode of Monday Night Raw ended with a match filled with unnecessary shenanigans and awkward moments. Raw saw the return of Chris Jericho, the formation of Social Outcasts, and delivered three hours of excellent professional wrestling. The Wyatt Family established their dominance, Owens and Ambrose furthered their exciting feud, and Becky and Charlotte brought the house down. But with enough engaging excitement to make three hours fly by in no time, WWE simply could not help but make Reigns overcome ridiculous odds in a mess of a main event.
Aside from the forgettable opening of the show, Roman was kept off television until his title match against Sheamus at the end of the night. I’ve noticed that WWE has avoided giving him a lot of mic time after winning the title, which is probably for the best. Reigns vs Sheamus started off strong. Reigns looked superb in the ring with Sheamus. The match, despite being a feud fans are already over, was high in adrenaline. But although it was outstanding enough to stand on its own, the match was filled with awkward and nonsensical moments. Reigns got booed for threatening to beat up a 70 year old man, Vince pretended to be too hurt to count for Sheamus while doing a laughable job of selling, and Reigns once again defied all odds to gain the victory in the end. And all of that was topped off with the announcement that the Royal Rumble will now revolve entirely around Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns is a difficult superstar to criticize. Sure, he has his flaws and weaknesses. But the biggest issue with him is the way WWE has booked his rise to the top of the card. Even after becoming world heavyweight champion, WWE is still trying to force him down our throats. This is very unfortunate considering that Reigns would make an outstanding heel. Even his mannerisms while threatening both Stephanie and Vince throughout the night screamed vicious top heel. But he is currently mixed in a feud with a classic WWE villain that the audience has entirely too much nostalgia over to want to see destroyed by him. So in other words, Vince could screw over Reigns, but Reigns would come out looking like a jerk for attacking him for it. Mainly because Mr. McMahon is a 70 year old beloved character getting roughed up by a 30 year old powerhouse. And that makes it kind of hard to sympathize with.
After the mess of a finish to the show, Vince set up for Reigns to either overcome the odds once again and win the Royal Rumble, or lose the title just to regain it back at Wrestlemania. The Royal Rumble is now officially a thirty man gimmick to get Reigns over instead of a setup for a new opponent for Reigns at Wrestlemania. And the big rumor is that it was only set up for Brock to finally face Reigns at Wrestlemania and lose the title to him as originally intended last year. If true, it would make sense as to why WWE has booked Reigns ridiculously strong as of late if it’s all gearing towards him going over on Brock clean. But regardless of the reasoning behind it, WWE is starting to kill the momentum they built for Reigns by dropping the ball on how he’s been handled so far.
This episode of Monday Night Raw brought all of the excitement missing from the previous few episodes by expanding the focus of the show. It made the most of its three hour running time by giving us lengthier matches, more development in the midcard, and more focus on the importance of the upcoming Royal Rumble match. However, turning the Royal Rumble in to a ploy to make Reigns look strong is an awful decision. And the booking Reigns has endured is starting to take a toll on the audience. If the show continues this way, all of the progress WWE has made with him will be lost. And Reigns will once again find himself with an extremely mixed crowd. The reaction he received during the show is already indication that things are starting to cool down for him. If this sort of thing continues, Reigns will eventually find himself receiving an indifferent reaction from fans once again. And that would be a shame for Reigns, and a waste of WWE’s efforts.