Slaying the Beast Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 35 should have been the beginning of an exciting chapter for Seth Rollins as the new Universal Champion and face of the WWE. Fast forward eight months and the frustrations of an underwhelming title reign ending with defeat at the hands of The Fiend, the now former Universal Champion completed his somewhat expected heel turn. Rollins aligned himself with former NXT power houses the Authors of Pain and the 'Best Kept Secret' Murphy as the self-proclaimed 'Messiah of Monday Night RAW' and his disciples look set to lay wake to the rest of the roster.
So, the best version of Seth Rollins is back but I can't help but think that this should've been Roman Reigns turning heel.
In recent years WWE have struggled to get their chosen superstars over as Faces with the two former Shield members facing the brunt of the backlash from the fans. In just a few weeks this heel turn has reignited Rollins' flame which was burning out rather than burning it down and a similar path for his former Shield brother could do wonders for Reigns and for Smackdown.
As soon as I set eyes on NXT's Akam and Rezar, orchestrated by manager Paul Ellering, the creative in me began to wonder what if? I envisioned a remorseless Roman as the Samoan Badass, shaved head, ripped jeans, leather jacket and willing to destroy anyone or anything that gets in his way. With the AOP as the heavy, Ellering as the mouth piece this could've been the perfect formula to get him over as a monster heel, unfortunately that ship has now sailed.
Heel turns out of desperation aren't ideal however for an individual hindered by WWE creative I don't really see an alternative. Despite his undoubted talent and work ethic his adopted Shield entrance theme, overused Superman Punch and lacklustre promos are not doing anything to keep fans invested in this stale character. Those feelings began to resurface during the final moments of the 2020 Royal Rumble with fans fearing elimination for Drew McIntyre, this was further indication that the WWE Universe are still reluctant to accept this version of the face of Friday Night Smackdown.
Rumours over the past couple of months indicated that The Big Dog would challenge Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania and this had me fearful that he might just have been Vince's chosen one to finally defeat the seemingly undefeatable Fiend. This could have been catastrophic to the character build of the repackaged Wyatt and could have also sent the former Universal Champion back to the bottom of the mountain he's been trying to climb since his Royal Rumble victory in Philly.
So, The Fiend losing to part timer Goldberg at last week’s Super Showdown came as no surprise as Vince seems determined to have Reigns regain the Universal Championship he relinquished regardless of the collateral damage caused. Predictably Friday Night Smackdown saw Roman answer the call of “who’s next?” to set up ‘Spear versus Spear’ at the show of all shows in Tampa, the hope being that a victory over the hall of famer will see the fans embrace the new champion rather than boo him out of the building.
While the logic is clear WWE have once again opted for the safe option which will only benefit Reigns short term and long term I still believe he is in desperate need of a heel turn.
So how could they have made a potential feud with Bray Wyatt work without him dropping the title in Saudi Arabia? Two words, DANIEL BRYAN! If there's any man capable of carrying a Wrestlemania storyline and executing it on the grandest stage of them all then it's him. Who can forget the yes movement and the run that saw him overcome all odds against former Evolution members Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion? Then just last year his versatility and talent shone through once again as heel Bryan defended his WWE Championship against the New Days Kofi Kingston. His work throughout the feud put Kofi over big time and I'm sure the first ever African born WWE Champion feels forever in debt to one of the best in the business for making his moment feel Wrestlemania worthy.
So how could they have booked it? Firstly, you could have had both Reigns and Bryan compete in the Elimination Chamber match to determine the number one contender for the Universal Championship. Both men are the final two left battling it out for their opportunity only for the lights to go out, the chamber pods start flashing, then out of nowhere The Fiend appears in one of the pods and destroys both superstars to force a no-contest.
On the next episode of Smackdown Roman cuts a promo on how after months of wasting his time with King Corbin there's no way he's going to let Bray steal his opportunity and challenges the former Wyatt Family leader to a title match at Wrestlemania. He would go on to list the challengers that have tried yet failed and how he is different and that he won't fail (Cue Daniel Bryan.....YES YES YES YES YES!).
The Planets Champion would step into the Big Dogs yard and question what he's done over the past year to deserve a title shot before reminding him that he cost Bryan the opportunity to main event Wrestlemania 31 by defeating him at Fastlane back in 2015, the 38 year old from Aberdeen, Washington is adamant that lighting wont strike twice. Lastly, he would make it clear to Roman that after months of torture and giving his blood, sweat and tears to trying to overcome the most dangerous opponent of his career, he and only he will be the man to finish the job he started.
An impromptu episode of the Firefly Funhouse would see Bray Wyatt tormenting both challengers, trying to decide who should face him for the Universal Championship before ending the segment with the question "Why don't you both…LET ME IN!?" It would soon be confirmed that at Wrestlemania 36 in Tampa Florida, The Fiend will face both Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat match for the Universal Championship.
This would have created a Wrestlemania worthy storyline that was logical, had historical background from previous feuds and would have climaxed in a main event full of possibilities that would have had the WWE Universe gripped from bell to bell.
I personally would have booked the match like this; Bryan and Reigns would turn this Triple Threat match into a one on one contest, forming a temporary alliance to take out and isolate The Fiend in a way that won't damage his momentum or character in the long run. The revival of the yes movement would look set to be the catalyst for a Bryan victory only to see the trigger finally being pulled on turning the Big Dog heel on the grandest stage of them all to become the new Universal Champion.
Would be interested to hear ideas from wrestling fans and readers on the best way to turn Roman Reigns heel?