Roman Reigns is the brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. If you were among the many who seemed irritated with Sheamus holding the belt, your wishes were answered. That is, unless you dislike Reigns even more.
WWE has tried extremely hard to get Reigns over as the top face in the company, they’ve just always gone the wrong way about it. With the way Monday Night Raw was booked on Dec. 14, they may have accomplished what they had set out to do with Reigns, at least to some degree.
With WWE television ratings sagging in recent weeks, WWE had to do something drastic. They had to pull out all the stops. Of course, that could only mean one thing — Mr. McMahon.
It seems the chairman of WWE feels the need to make his presence felt every time things start to go downhill for the company’s flagship show. But one thing is for sure, big things generally happen when he comes around.
At the top of Raw, Stephanie McMahon announced that her father would be in attendance later in the night to address the actions of Reigns at the TLC pay-per-view on Sunday. This left many to speculate as to what he would tell Reigns. Would he get in Reigns’ face and threaten to fire him? Or would we get a swerve in which McMahon would actually appreciate the “ruthless aggression” displayed by the Samoan Superstar?
Predictably, Reigns got the usual Mr. McMahon. You know, the one that throws his power around and terminates Superstars left and right, even though they always come back. Well on this night, Reigns was threatened with termination, but only if he couldn’t win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus in the main event.
Just one night earlier, Sheamus defeated Reigns in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match to retain the title.
At least there was a chance something different would happen. But since this was all happening on free television, a title change seemed unlikely. After all, it had been over four years since the WWE title changed hands on Raw. Even then — when John Cena defeated Rey Mysterio — it was only because WWE was playing out a storyline to crown a “new” champion, since CM Punk had left with the title the night before.
So we have our title match. Reigns versus Sheamus. But we’ll get a predictable finish. McMahon will stack the deck against Reigns and even if he overcomes those odds, The League of Nations will interfere to finish the job. Right? Then, Reigns will be “fired,” only to have Triple H return and bring him back because he wants to get a piece of him for the beating he took at TLC. Sound about right?
The WWE is incredibly predictable. That — perhaps more than anything else — is why ratings are down. People get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. They get tired of seeing that there is really no difference between a pay-per-view and an episode of Raw.
It was time for WWE to throw a curve, and it came through.
McMahon did what he could to cost Reigns the match. The League of Nations got involved and got their shots in. It looked like the usual predictable finish. Only this time, it wasn’t.
Reigns speared Sheamus as he went for a Brogue Kick before the referee made an emphatic three count. Not only that, but the crowd roared in support of Reigns, celebrating his victory.
This is exactly how episodes of Raw should be booked. WWE was able to show that the show doesn’t have to be so monotonous, while also giving Reigns a chance to be the top guy that he needs to be.
Reigns will still have his detractors, but he definitely gained some fans on Monday night. For these reasons, WWE couldn’t have picked a better time to make this title change.