This past week on Raw, Triple H made a major announcement that while Roman Reigns will be acknowledged as the official winner of the Royal Rumble, his spot in the main event of Wrestlemania isn’t confirmed yet. A few matches were made and Daniel Bryan defeated Seth Rollins on Raw to go to the Fast Lane pay-per-view to wrestle Reigns in a match to determine the challenger for Brock Lesnar. On the surface, it was actually a logical segment because Bryan can make a case to get a title shot, as he was stripped of the title due to an injury, but the justification that The Rock’s interference affected the result of the Rumble almost taints the victory for Reigns. The Rumble win is designed to push Reigns and how the segment was presented, it somewhat downgraded Reigns so the WWE should probably be careful going forward with the angle because it could actually increase the hostility toward him.
Obviously, this scenario is being put booked because of the outrage after the Rumble when Bryan was eliminated early in the match and as I said in the previous column, didn’t the WWE realize anything from the Batista debacle? However, the WWE calling an audible isn’t a negative thing because the angle puts an importance on Fast Lane, which probably wouldn’t have been there. If the main event of the biggest show of the year is confirmed, what’s the point of the Fast Lane PPV? The Reigns vs. Bryan match will have a direct effect on the main event of Wrestlemania and it gives the fans a reason to tune into the show. So, will the WWE actually book Bryan in the main event or is this an attempt to squash the chants?
As I’ve said before, I think the hostility isn’t necessarily directed at Reigns, but rather a response to the disappointment that Bryan didn’t win the Rumble. Stone Cold made a really good point on a recent podcast when he mentioned that some fans might not think that Reigns earned the spot, particularly because he was originally a member of The Shield, which had three competitors for storylines. It’s a valid point because Ambrose and Rollins had spotlight matches recently, but how many great Reigns matches are there? That’s not a jab at Reigns or to say he can’t reach the next level, but the title match at the Rumble is a prime example of Rollins being elevated to the next level and he proved he can go with the WWE’s top stars, but Reigns has yet to have one of those career defining matches. If Reigns is going to boost his stock, he has to prove that he can have main event quality matches but, it remains to be seen.
While Bryan vs. Reigns adds an emphasis on the Fast Lane PPV, it’s almost somewhat risky because if Bryan loses the match, it could increase the resentment towards Reigns, but if Bryan wins what does the WWE book for Reigns? It would be difficult for him to maintain the credibility of being the next top star, if the WWE acknowledges that he’s not ready for the push that they tried to book for Wrestlemania. At this point, it might work well if Reigns loses and turns heel to feud with Bryan for the title after Wrestlmania. Jim Ross mentioned on his podcast the possibility of Paul Heyman doing the mic work for Reigns if Brock Lesnar doesn’t resign with the company, which would be great for him. Heyman has cut more money promos than anyone featured on WWE TV in the past few years and again, it would make sense for Reigns to turn heel if Bryan gets the spot.
That being said, the bottom line is, the fans want to see Daniel Bryan in the main event of Wrestlemania and if it happens or not remains to be seen, but it speaks volumes to how over he is with the WWE audience. How many other performers have been as over as Bryan is for a two year span? Is that to say he will set the merchandise records of Stone Cold or The Rock? No, but he’s the most over performer on the current roster. The audience knows that Bryan is a genuine competitor and they recognize that he earned his spot in the WWE. Regardless, it should be interesting to see the direction of the storyline and if there continues to be a hostile response for Reigns.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It