It took a lot of searching for me to figure out what I wanted to say here after WrestleMania 34 ended. I was thinking ‘this is a really great show we got here’ right up until the Main Event. Some of the decisions caught me off guard. I was surprised at Asuka tapping out to Charlotte but if they’re going with Charlotte and Ronda Rousey next year then I understand. Braun with the kid winning the tag titles was good, harmless fun as far as I’m concerned. It’s not David Arquette winning the WCW Title or Vince winning the WWF Title, ok? I know a lot of you are mad at Jinder winning the US Title instead of Rusev, but if it sets up a proper face turn for Rusev then it’s worth it. Besides, Jinder is one of the few guys doing the old school heel thing right. I thought the mixed tag was great and the RAW Women’s Title match was good. And of course the opener was a great match. But anyway, I digress.
The main event was……something else. I don’t think the match was awful, just repetitive. If you’re going to call a match worst ever for being repetitive, make sure you’re being consistent with your assessments. But the big stories were the crowd reaction and the finish. The crowd was an absolute disgrace. Most of those people came there with intention of crapping on the match from jump, regardless of how it actually went. Beach balls, CM Punk chants (Can we just stop with those already? He doesn’t even like you guys!) , ‘this is awful! chants, all of them started up when the opening bell rang. And there are no excuses for that immature nonsense. You knew this was going to be the main event for a whole year. If you didn’t want it, why did you go? Seriously, why? Vince got your money; he won! The match happened, and now you’re stuck with the part time champ you supposedly despise so much. I will never understand the logic of paying money to see something you don’t want, that you knew about for a whole year.
And now we have the biggest question? What to do with Roman going forward? There is a hard, stubborn, spoiled, obstinate corner of the fanbase that just does not want him and is not going to accept him. To them he is the great usurper, the Vince guy who’s getting pushed over people who deserve it more. Which is bullcrap but whatever. They’ve tried keeping the title off of him, moving him around the card, having him put other guys over, it doesn’t matter. As soon as it looks like the pivot to a push is coming they dig in their heels again. They’re not changing and they’re going to hijack every major show he main events until you start throwing them out. There’s no point in trying to win them over anymore. They don’t use logic and they have no problem giving other guys passes for the same stuff they claim keeps them from accepting Roman. They got their story and they’re sticking to it. They are going to die on that hill forever.
So what are your options then? Do you surrender or do you say ‘screw you, this guy is making us money and we’re not going to make him a jobber just to appease you idiots’? The choice has to be made; they’ve tried straddling the fence and it’s not working. What does surrendering look like? You got me. Taking him out of main events obviously, but then how far down the card do you demote him? It’s totally stupid to completely de-push a guy who has the most packed meet and greets on Mania weekend, sells a lot of merchandise, and whose YouTube clips get lots of hits every week. I guess there will eventually be some point or level of relegation that will get the haters to stop complaining. But how do you do that without his fans giving up and stop spending the money they do and watching the shows they watch? There’s no give up on Roman Reigns that doesn’t cost you a lot of money. This is not the Lex Express or the ‘yeah we like him but we’re not spending money on him’ Bret Hart experience here. There is a real bottom line hit that will come if you quit on him and his fans lose interest in the whole show as a result. But hey, the haters will stop booing at the show.
The other option is the ‘eff you’ option. Put the belt on him, max out on his fans’ support, and gamble that the folks who boo him will stick around like they have so far. If they keep booing, screw it, who cares? The downside here is that they may eventually stop bluffing and actually do leave. And as long as the booing continues the media narrative of him not being over and not being liked by anyone will persist. It’s a real thing to be worried about. There’s not guarantee that you can ride this out like you did with John Cena. And if the hostility continues the jerks may drive away his fans anyway. People really are tired of dealing with these clowns at RAW and on social media, and when they get to dropping f-bombs then that kicks it up to another level As much as I’d be cool with the ‘screw them’ strategy it does not come without risks.
It’s a real corner they’re backed into, and it’s gotten bad enough from where I’m sitting that I’m officially going off my rocker and into hot take land. While bringing Bryan back for the Rumble in 2015 as Roman’s push was starting was a blunder, I’m calling for a bigger move that should have been made the year before at WrestleMania 30. There the Yes movement was on fire, and Daniel Bryan fans were able to hijack RAW and get the main event changed. I’m not saying Vince should have stuck to his guns as far as the makeup of the card, but I am saying that he could have killed this whole thing had Batista went over as originally planned. Yes that’s an eff you to some really passionate fans, many of whom would have bailed in the short term, but enough would have come back eventually and they wouldn’t be so damn entitled that they can’t see the forest for the trees. As much as some of us think we can, we can’t book the show better than the people already doing it.
Why would I suggest such lunacy? Well, because like you I am unaware of all the factors that go into them choosing who they want on top. They obviously didn’t think Bryan was the choice, and judging by his injuries the past few years they were right. He still may not be the right choice; what if the title run he’s going to get now ends with yet another head injury, one that forces him into permanent retirement? That’s a real risk every time he goes out there whether you want to stick your head in the sand about it or not. Yeah you might be ok with a feel good moment that gets cut short soon after but that’s not a good long term business strategy. If you think it is then that’s a big reason why you’re tweeting about wrestling and not working in the business.
Look, I don’t know where this goes. I’ve been a fan for over 30 years and I’ve seen the ups and downs enough to no be so put off by the downs that I’ll leave again. But everyone isn’t there yet, and some never will be, so either way it’s a gamble. They’re going to have to find their way and it may take some time. Us Roman fans may not ultimately like the result; that’s the business. I just hope that they can find a way to do right by him and us. And the haters can go jump in the lake for real.