One of the advertised promotional points for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw is a health update from Roman Reigns.
Reigns is booked to appear live in the ring at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY where, according to WWE, he'll "speak his mind" and we'll hopefully get a clearer picture of his recovery timetable. In the Raw Five-Point Preview, dot com questions whether Reigns will return to action sooner than expected.
Straying from kayfabe, WWE officials were hoping for the best and fearing the worst when he underwent emergency surgery in Nashville, TN on September 20, 2014 for an incarcerated hernia. Prior to the injury, Reigns was planned to co-headline Hell in a Cell against Randy Orton following his Night of Champions match against Seth Rollins.
We heard five days after Reigns' surgery that WWE was confident he would be back for the TLC - Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view in December but were considering holding him out until Royal Rumble in January. That, however, was an initial report and is obviously subject to change.
WWE officials were beginning to worry prior to Reigns' injury that he wasn't getting over enough as a babyface, despite optimal protection. Here was a report I filed after the September 8, 2014 episode of Raw:
Roman Reigns still remains in good standing amongst company officials, however, there is mounting concern that he’s not over enough. The concern stems from the way the crowd is reacting to him and it’s even furthered their strategy to carefully book him going forward. Reigns is still seen as one of the leading up and comers for a major push heading into Wrestlemania 31 next year.
While internally Reigns' injury was seen as a bad thing considering how decimated WWE is at the top of the card, some observers felt it could help revitalize him. The feeling from at least a couple of people was that Reigns was starting to lose his luster and some time off could rejuvenate him as a top babyface. The one month absence for Dean Ambrose helped him -- in terms of his standing -- and some feel that may be the case for Reigns.
It will be interesting to see how the Brooklyn crowd reacts to Reigns and whether or not there is any further update on his health.