WWE continues to mishandle Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns took a beating from Brock Lesnar like a man at Wrestlemania 31, bringing up the question: Is the WWE mishandling him?
Jed Jacobsohn /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

By Michelle Shelton

Roman Reigns became the focal point of an immense amount of backlash from the WWE Universe in January when he won the annual Royal Rumble match, thus making him the man that would face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 31. The fans believed that he just wasn’t experienced enough to be in the company’s top spot. On the road leading up to WrestleMania, Reigns continued to struggle on the microphone and still failed to connect with a majority of the audience.

However, Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar went on to become an instant classic at WrestleMania 31. Champion Brock Lesnar delivered a brutal assault to Reigns, hardly giving him any chance to retaliate over the course of the match. Reigns did an excellent job from a storytelling standpoint, even so much as laughing while Lesnar threw him around the ring like a rag doll.

Roman Reigns took the beating like a man and ended up earning the respect he so desperately needed from a large portion of the audience; fans who previously resented him.

Following such a large turning point for the character, WWE has now placed Reigns in a feud against Big Show that will ultimately end with a match at this month’s pay-per-view event, Extreme Rules.

After headlining WrestleMania 31 against Lesnar and taking the loss to Seth Rollins in such a riveting fashion, Reigns needed to be inserted into something of value in order to keep his newfound momentum alive. Instead, WWE made the decision to have him not only lose the number one contenders’ match for the World Heavyweight Championship on last week’s episode of Raw, but then placed him into a meaningless feud against Big Show.

If this feud seems strange, that’s because it is. Although, the career of Roman Reigns has never followed typical protocol. In one year, he went from being in a 6-man tag team match at WrestleMania 30, to being the number one contender to the company’s most important title at WrestleMania 31. He was put on the fast-track to superstardom, and ended up becoming a classic example of, “too fast, too soon”.

Going from the main event of WrestleMania to an irrelevant singles feud may seem strange, but it is the right course of action in the case of an inexperienced performer such as Roman Reigns. However, the issue with this program is that Big Show is a performer whom the WWE Universe does not respect whatsoever. The audience is tired of seeing Big Show in WWE’s main event scene, and they’ve made it clear that they would like to see fresh, new performers be given a chance to shine in that spot. Reigns and Big Show have also had countless battles over the past year or so, and the fans are pining for new match-ups as well as new storyline possibilities.

One major issue the WWE Universe had with Reigns was that he appeared to be the handpicked future of the company without having to prove that he was worthy of that title. Now, his main event status within WWE seems to have been abandoned by those in charge. Is this a result of the rejection he faced from the audience? That’s a possibility, but banishing the character into irrelevancy makes everything that he has accomplished thus far feel like a giant waste of time.

The audience is now finally realizing the value that Roman Reigns could possibly bring to WWE’s roster. He needs to be placed into a program with a performer that will be able to assist him in improving his skills; an opponent that will challenge him both inside of the ring and on the microphone. At this stage in his career, Big Show simply isn’t that opponent. While the two men do work well together, this feud will not give Reigns an opportunity to progress or maximize his potential.

WWE fans don’t want to see Reigns evolve into the next John Cena, but if this program is booked to simply make Reigns look like a strong competitor once again, it will be detrimental to the characters’ success in the long run. WWE needs to use extreme caution in where they place Roman Reigns moving forward if they still plan on having him become the next face of the company.

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