Roman Reigns became the Undisputed Champion in WWE at this past Wrestlemania, defeating Brock Lesnar in the main event of what was billed as the “biggest match of all time”.
Of course that was all hyperbole to sell the fight, but the idea behind it was clear. That a match for both World Championships (the WWE and Universal Championship) would be a huge event and crown for the first time since 2016 one World Champion in WWE.
The result was obvious and while the match disappointed, seeing Roman Reigns host two titles aloft as the fans cheered was a good sight for WWE. They were moving away from the part-time champion era of Brock Lesnar (something Roman Reigns has long been critical of) and instead focused on a champion who would be there for the fans each and every week.
The reason WWE unified the two world titles was to get Roman Reigns appearing on both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown. Before, each superstar was assigned to a different brand with each show having their own World Champion.
Prior to Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar was on Raw whilst Roman called Smackdown home. Roman Reigns is the biggest star in WWE at the moment and only ranks behind the likes of John Cena and Brock Lesnar in terms of star power in the company. Getting him on both programs would be a huge move for WWE to help reach a wider audience and increase their viewership.
However, that has not been the case so far. Roman Reigns has not been wrestling much at all on TV or Pay Per view. He missed the recent Hell in a Cell show entirely, and whilst he did wrestle at Wrestlemania Backlash, he did not defend either of his world titles and instead took part in a six man tag team match.
A title match usually main events WWE’s big shows and without Reigns butting his belts on the line, it leaves the shows wanting. Him holding both of the belts signifies he is the top star so having a show without Reigns makes it immediately a lesser show and one that loses it’s “must watch” factor.
In addition, he won’t even be making many appearances on Monday Night Raw. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that Roman Reigns will only appear on the Madison Square Garden episode of Monday Night Raw, and no others before Summerslam 2022. This means that Raw will be without a world champion for 2 more months and loses any sense of direction it has in it’s main event scene – if the stars aren’t trying to be the champion why are they even wrestling?
Reigns last wrestled for WWE at a house show on May 22 and has not wrestled on TV or a premium live event since he and the Usos defeated Riddle, Randy Orton, and Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania Backlash in early May. He is scheduled to defend his championships against Riddle on Smackdown this week, which will be his first match in a month in a time where WWE is clamouring for main event talent.
Whether it is injury related or not is currently unknown, although nothing has been reported regarding an injury yet. His absence may be related to Roman Reigns’ Hollywood ambitions and he could be following his cousin The Rock’s lead in starring in movies.
Putting the championships on one man who will not even be wrestling and reportedly wants away from the company really makes a mockery of the belts, and the other wrestlers. Roman Reigns is positioned so far above every other wrestler in the company and has beaten all challengers that have come near him, that nobody could even compare to him in Kayfabe.
With him not bothering to wrestle and wanting to leave for Hollywood, it just makes the title belt and the other wrestlers look bad. When Reigns can’t even be bothered to wrestle, the fact he beats all these stars who are trying their hardest to overcome the Big Dog makes a mockery of them and makes them all look like massive losers.
If Roman Reigns did actually wrestle then it would be slightly better, but even then he has held the Universal Championship for two years with very little sign of him dropping the belt. WWE have built nobody but Roman Reigns up as a star, which is a criticism which has been levelled at them since 2015.
I suppose they will never learn. However based on the ridiculous amount of money they made this year, and how revenue continues to climb to unprecedented levels, clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about an Vince McMahon is a genius.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.