ViRTUE's RAGE: WWE Misses Lesnar & Reigns Submitted by Virtue on 08/09/2020 at 04:20 PM
August 9, 2020
Brock Lesnar has an estimated net worth of $28 million, accumulated during a near twenty-year career as an MMA fighter and a WWE superstar. Roman Reigns has a net worth of $12 million, accumulated during a less than ten-year career so far. Reigns’ worth is expected to rise approximately 20% every year, as he has already begun to dabble in Hollywood with a small roll in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Why do these facts matter so much for this discussion? That’s simple. Because a majority of both Lesnar’s and Reign’s net worth have been directly impacted by being two of WWE’s main event superstars during most of their respective careers. WWE has been a publicly traded company during this stretch, and if either Lesnar or Reigns were not making the company any money, Vince McMahon would have pulled the plug on them (especially Reigns) a long time ago. But the fact remains, he has not pulled the plug on them, and WWE needs them now more than ever during this pandemic. That’s right. WWE desperately misses Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
Vince McMahon misses Lesnar and Reigns so much, he typically keeps their likenesses off TV while they are away so he himself does not get reminded of their absences, which clearly stunts business while they are gone. Thinking of these guys when he does not have them to work with saddens and angers VKM. Just like sickness, sadness is a sign of weakness to him. By ignoring Lesnar and Reigns when they are absent, VKM can attempt to carry on with business as usual without them, or at least so he thought. Since Lesnar is a part-time attraction, I pair him with Reigns to make this discussion possible. When Reigns was absent from his Leukemia hiatus, Raw suffered an average ratings drop of nearly 250-500K viewers. Once Reigns returned, the ratings stabilized back to what they were before his absence. This same theory has held true regarding Reigns being away in 2020, too.
January 3rd to March 6th, SmackDown averaged 2.5 million viewers with Reigns on the shows. March 13th to April 3rd, SmackDown at the WWE Performance Center with no fans averaged 2.5 million viewers with Reigns on the shows (4 episdoes). Since Reigns’ absence, SmackDown at the WWE Performance Center with no fans has barely averaged 2.0 million viewers, and as of late under 2.0 million viewers. Pandemic or no pandemic, this is now twice Reigns as been gone for an extended period and 250-500K eyeballs also went away. I realize the past 5-6 years was not the Attitude Era with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in terms of record-breaking viewership. Even the so-called John Cena Era had viewers closer to the 4 million mark, but Cena had many top talents to work with at various points throughout his run at the top, such as Lesnar, Undertaker, Michaels, Triple H, Batista, Orton, CM Punk, Angle, and Jericho. I might even be forgetting a wrestler or two. My point is, Lesnar and Reigns have always kept the viewership and attendance bleeding in check. They are VKM’s security blanket, especially during an era where WWE does not really allow any superstar to become bigger than the company. Sure, Lesnar is held in check by limited dates because of his contract, but at least when he is on TV, he is always in the main event scene. As for Reigns, he is VKM’s daily/weekly workhorse when he is around, regardless if he is in a major title picture or not.
Besides Lesnar (part-time), who has Reigns consistently had to work with in the main event scene since his rise to the top of the card in late 2014? CM Punk left. Daniel Bryan got injured. John Cena, Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and Triple H were already part-time. Other than Randy Orton, WWE did a poor job of pushing other top main eventers to compliment Reigns, which every era has had. Hogan had Savage, Warrior, and briefly Flair. Bret Hart had Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Diesel. Steve Austin had The Rock, Triple H, and Undertaker. I already mentioned earlier who John Cena had throughout his main event run. Meanwhile, Reigns has had part-time (at best) aging veterans and mostly indy darlings to be his compliments. Even when WWE had the chance to build more top superstars around Reigns, they found a way to keep them from being bigger deals, such as Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins. But since some of you do not like Reigns, and have never liked him, go ahead and blame WWE’s decline all on him if that makes you sleep better at night. That still will not change my stance that WWE, especially VKM, desperately misses Lesnar and Reigns. To a much lesser extent, they also miss Becky Lynch and Charlotte, but that is a far bigger reach because the Women’s Division has basically flatlined since the departure of Ronda Rousey. But that’s another discussion for a future article.
Without Reigns being on TV weekly and the potential that Lesnar could show up at any moment for a big match and feud, VKM is clearly distraught. This is backed up by the recent reports that always filter through all the dirt sheets that both Raw and SmackDown TV tapings are in disarray and very chaotic. VKM simply does not trust anyone at the top of the card right now. This also trickles down to the rest of the show. It is blatantly obvious he is missing the stability pillars known as Lesnar and Reigns. Those are the two guys that are needed to even attempt to build the next top-level main eventers, which is something VKM has been hesitant to do but should begin to consider when they do indeed return. Running the NXT wrestling factory of mostly independent and developmental wrestlers may work to build talent depth for the lower card and mid-card, but in the long term, most of those wrestlers will only appeal to diehard wrestling fans and not casual fans. In order to build the next top superstars, WWE and VKM need Lesnar and Reigns back holding down the fort. It would be nice to see lengthy feuds of Lesnar Vs X and Reigns Vs Y, but in the end this time, the payoff would be to use Lesnar and Reigns to build at least two new top level talents who could help right the WWE ship that has been taking on water since the PG era began. Who do you think could benefit the most from getting elevated by working with and ultimately going over the two superstars that mean more to WWE and VKM than many people will ever admit to?
Thanks for reading Virtue’s Rage and I WILL BE BACK…
I discuss this same topic on this week’s episode on The Big Vito Brand. Here is the audio for it.
Here is my song of the week for y’all to enjoy (Reigns and Lesnar are the bridge over WWE’s troubled waters)