It is time once again for another State of the Roman Empire. Remember folks, in 2016, Roman Reigns was listed #1 on the PWI Top 500 list, just ahead of wrestlers such as Kazuchika Okada, Finn Balor, and AJ Styles. To many wrestling fans, this is still a very bitter pill to swallow. Many IWC fans claim that Reigns cannot wrestle and cannot cut a promo. Truth be told, he is actually one of the best bumpers in WWE today. Unlike fellow company top guy, John Cena, who has often taken bumps landing on his ass and obviously using his arms to brace his fall, Reigns sells his opponents moves quite well. If you do not believe me, just go on YouTube and check out the video where Kevin Owens gives him a Popup Power Bomb. The video footage does not lie and shows Reigns bumps and sells moves very well. As for promos, Reigns does need to work on his skills a bit, but he can still deliver his lines with great conviction if they are short and to the point. See below:
One thing I have noticed by watching many of Reigns’ matches over the last couple of years is he is excellent when being the follower in the match. He has had very good matches against the likes of AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, and Brock Lesnar. This comes as no surprise because each of these wrestlers is very good at leading a match. In fact, I will go as far to say that Reigns is one of the best followers in WWE today. However, when it comes to leading a match, Reigns still has some work to do. For example, look at his match against the Undertaker at WM33. With Taker being well past his prime and ailing from a bad hip, it was never expected for Taker to lead that match. While the match itself was not anywhere close to being all-time bad, it was still evident that Reigns somewhat labored through it trying to carry Taker. Perhaps we cannot really blame Reigns, though. Let’s face the truth, Taker should have probably hung it up after losing to Lesnar at WM30, or maybe even sooner. With the said, Reigns is just a few tweaks away from being justified as being WWE’s top guy.
Heading into the Payback event, Reigns is currently feuding with the Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman. Now while it is evident that Strowman has talent, there is no doubt in my mind that his recent surge has been greatly attributed to working with Reigns. Nothing against Big Show, but I for one would have rather watched the ring collapse on Raw with Strowman and Reigns brawling. That would have been a great lead-in to Payback. Going forward, I suspect that Strowman may go over Reigns tonight, especially if Strowman ends up getting a Universal Championship match with Lesnar later this summer. However, I would not be surprised if this match ends in a no contest (maybe Lesnar interferes), and both Strowman and Reigns continue feuding going forward. Perhaps a triple threat with Strowman/Reigns/Lesnar is in the works. Let’s face it, Vince McMahon is in love with all of these guys.
Why have I become somewhat of a Roman Reigns’ supporter over the past year? Truth be told, I love supporting wrestlers that many others do not. I am a heel fan at heart. Even though Reigns is pushed as a face, I can feel the (heel) heat given to him by his detractors. Also, I have disliked John Cena as WWE’s top guy for so long, I have grown tired of hating WWE’s Main Event scene. I want to be able to at least try and enjoy what WWE offers me. I know I do not have to necessarily love or like the product all the time, but I do not want to be one of those who loathe it. There are also things about Reigns that I like more than Cena. First of all, I was a huge Shield fan and am always holding out hope for at least one short term Shield reunion. As mentioned earlier, I think Reigns bumps harder and sells better than Cena. Also, even though Reigns is WWE’s obvious force fed choice as the company’s top guy now, at least he does not have boring cliches like “You Can’t See Me”, “Never Give Up”, and “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect”. I much rather prefer Reigns’ simple catchphrases and the fact his merch is mostly black and grey and not multicolor after multicolor. Damn those kids.
This would not be an official State of the Roman Empire without a bit of fantasy booking. What would I like to see with Roman Reigns in 2017? Well, obviously I want to see a Shield reunion. It appears this would now be a lot more likely to happen since Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose are all on Raw. In a perfect scenario, if the Hardys can become their Broken gimmick again, I would not be opposed to seeing a SummerSlam match with the Hardys and Bray Wyatt Vs the Shield. Of course, that would be dependent on who Lesnar defends the Universal Championship against at SS. Perhaps Lesnar could face Strowman or Balor at the biggest event of the summer. WWE’s long term plan is probably still having Reigns face Lesnar, and that match could very well happen at SS. However, I think WWE may milk that match up and wait to set it up for WrestleMania 34 in NOLA. Believe That!
Here is the latest edition of THE POP (#20), once again featuring yours truly as a panel guest, me!
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