Face it...Roman Reigns is Going to Wrestlemania...
(from Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast episode 153)
...for the Roman Reigns/John Cena match, I was in the same boat as a lot of people in the sense that none of us quite knew what to expect out of those two in that match with the audience being what we knew it would be., And I think it was a pretty good match, it wasn't Roman Reigns' best match, and it wasn't John Cena's best match, but it was still a good match and it told a story and I for one really liked the ending, I liked the moment with John Cena. I don't think that John Cena is retiring personally, I think he is just probably going to slow down, he will just probably take more breaks to do movies and things like that. He says he is 40 and he has been going for 15 years and whilst that is true, he has got a lot of gas in that tank, he is showing no signs of slowing down. We are learning now with the way guys are taking care of themselves, somehow, you look at AJ Styles and 40 is not this sort of death number in the career world of wrestling anymore. It's kind of amazing that Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage and those guys were in their early 40's I believe when they went to WCW and they were being portrayed as these old guys being sent out to pasture and now you look at the current WWE and 40 is the new 30. But I don't think that John is done, but what I do think is that a story is being told about Roman Reigns.
The story is that he is either being given or taking the torch, however you want to see it, I think more people see it as him being given the torch but the story will probably be told that he is taking the torch, but either way it's kind of regardless. You have the John Cena moment coupled with the Undertaker moment, it seems like they are building this Roman Reigns story to eventually lead up to him being the guy to beat Brock Lesnar. He retires The Undertaker, quote on quote, he retires John Cena quote on quote, I don't know what he is going to do between now and March, I hope he doesn't retire The Miz because Miz is amazing. But, he will probably have one more big moment on the way to what will probably be WrestleMania, right? He will probably have one more big moment where he beats somebody and then he will finally get the shot at Brock Lesnar. I would hope that a SmackDown guy wins the Royal Rumble this year because I don't think that Roman Reigns winning it would be a great decision, because I do think that this story is going to build all the way to WrestleMania. That kind of hit me all when I watched John Cena say goodbye to the audience in the same way that Undertaker said goodbye in the sense that the character was saying goodbye in character without actually, saying goodbye. Even if these guys wrestle again, they have symbolically given the torch, The Undertaker putting his stuff in the ring and walking out, maybe he wasn't saying that was his last match. Maybe he was saying, I was the man now Roman Reigns is the man, John Cena is saying, you know what, I was the poster boy now Roman is the poster boy. Maybe there will be one more moment like that between now and March before Roman Reigns gets to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar.
I wouldn't mind, maybe it would be kind of poetic, maybe at the Royal Rumble to do a Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns triple threat match? You don't even need to do this big feud, you could just have Seth Rollins say "I'm the guy, I am the Architect, I built the Shield" and Ambrose saying "Let's go back to when the Shield first started, who did the fans say would be the man in that group?" Then Roman Reigns could simply say that it is his hard yard, what shall we do about it and maybe that is your moment, maybe he has the approval from The Undertaker and he has got the approval from John Cena, maybe Ambrose and Rollins need to say that. Because I don't know if there is another guy to pass a torch because I don't know any other guys that are ready to retire. Chris Jericho is already passed that in the sense that he's here, gone, here gone so I don't know who else would pass a torch but that is a moment. Those are arguably on Raw, the top three good guys quote on quote, because in my mind Braun Strowman is a good guy, Samoa Joe could be at any point so you have lots of stuff going on there. That's probably the position I would put Roman Reigns in at the Royal Rumble and not put any of those three guys in the Royal Rumble and maybe have AJ Styles win the Royal Rumble. That way you have a guy who fans will be excited about seeing win and even if people aren't going to be super pumped about Roman Reigns beat the Shield members, they will at least be excited about seeing the match, so I think that would be a cool Royal Rumble moment. Then from there, Brock Lesnar is the guy that Roman could never beat, who has pinned him and then you undoubtedly have that moment at the end of the night when Roman Reigns once again holds his hands up high as he beats Brock Lesnar for his first Universal Championship.
Now, the reason why we really have to look at that is because and I said on Twitter, I like the story that is being told, because I like long stories that are being played out. I like when lots of micro stories end up telling one big macro story, when all the stories we are looking at end up being trees in one big forest that we didn't even see being grown in front of our eyes, does that make sense? That is what I felt when Cena gave the salute and said goodbye at the end of the match, I said this story is now a continuation from The Undertaker match. Even though they mentioned Undertaker in the build-up to this match that was just to add credibility to Roman Reigns' resume. So, I thought it was cool that you turn around and that's what you've got, you have a guy that is retiring the legends and is making room for everybody and in some ways, that is a good thing, whether you think Roman Reigns is the right guy or not, it is nice to see the old guys get cleared out and have young guys step up. The reason why I am optimistic about this story, because I think at the end of the day that is what people want to know, because if there is a thing in the pit of their stomach they're going look, I know we just saw a PPV where we had Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman and John Cena vs Roman Reigns, I think the pit in people's stomachs at the end of No Mercy was that as cool as the PPV was on paper, this still leads to a Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns match at WrestleMania. People started to get wind that might be happening as early as a couple of days after last year, and you come out of this and you are kind of in the same place as we were, we are still on that road. Now, for me I am not getting too hung up on that because the idea of Roman Reigns being very successful kind of is what it is and I'm not mad about it. Because it's long term, it's at least poetic, if unnecessary I like the build for Roman Reigns right now, I like the idea and it's at least a story I can sink my teeth into.
Now, the reason there is a lot of pessimism, I think, is that nobody is looking past WrestleMania. We have this thing that looks like from WrestleMania 33-34 is all about cementing Roman Reigns as the guy, and you have a couple of things that happen. Number one, Roman Reigns will be in even more of a John Cena situation where he has been around, he is credible, we can count on him for good matches and even when he gets booed, it's almost like we are just doing it because we love him. John Cena doesn't actually get booed, John Cena's boos are not real boos, Roman Reigns right now are real boos but at one-point John Cena was getting booed out of the building but now he is getting the we love you boos. So, we could, over the course of years see Roman Reigns move into the position of getting we love you boos, and they are okay. What else could happen, is after WrestleMania, who knows what this place looks like. I don't see a scenario where Braun Strowman is not a Universal Champion and I don't really see a scenario where Braun Strowman isn't a good guy. I would not be the least bit surprised if Strowman is this guy that nobody saw coming, I would not be surprised if Braun Strowman ends up being this guy that goes, you know what, we are never not going to treat Roman like the man, but Strowman could be our guy. I could easily see going into WWE post WrestleMania, after Roman Reigns gets truly crowned the man, because that is what we are on the road too, when he is champion and has taken his place at the top of the mountain. Once that happens, heavy is the head my friend, he's got to maintain the position in that throne as the man, and that is the moment we find out if this Roman experiment has worked. We are building towards a world when not only is he champion but nobody is above him, it's a scary spot to be in but that is the story that is being built right now. Once he is done being built, then we find out if the Roman experiment worked or not and there is a possibility that people will admit it isn't quite working as well as they thought, what if ticket sales go down? Should that conclusion be reached, I don't think we will ever see a scenario where Roman gets buried, but if Roman isn't going to make that money, which he might, the experiment may very well work. But, if it doesn't work then, you've got amazing people who could be taking that spot, you have Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, that's when we find out. I am hooked, I like it and Its real life because it is here real life and storytelling mix and I think we will see next week when Braun Strowman faces Seth Rollins, I think on some level Seth Rollins knows, he is a smart guy and he knows Strowman is a very important piece of the puzzle in shaping what WWE looks like in a post Undertaker and John Cena world. So, what is he going to do? He's going to show up, Seth Rollins is going to try to have the best Braun Strowman match that anybody has ever had. I am super excited to see that one. I think that the turning point for Strowman, it is going to happen, it's the match that I said should've happened at this year's WrestleMania. We are going to see Samoa Joe/Braun Strowman feud and Samoa Joe is going to be the bad guy and that feud will create the Braun Strowman where you go, yep, he is the guy. Something that I think people should give some kind of credence to is that, everyone is in agreement that Strowman is much better now than he was when he first started. But if you remember WrestleMania 32 the rumor was it would be Strowman vs Undertaker and people were like No, god no! But now, everybody would be losing their minds because Strowman has gotten so much better. Now how does one get better? Practice that's generally what makes perfect right, and your dance partner is important. Who has Braun Strowman been working with night after night on the live events on PPV, who has he been having matches with whilst his skill has increased, the answer is Roman Reigns. There is something to that, I'm not giving him full credit but we do have to acknowledge it, and it is a fact.