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How WWE’s Tag Teams Became Relevant Again

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Cast your mind back to the late 90’s and try to name the best tag team in the WWE. It’s a struggle right ? At the time the division was thriving. The title picture of Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boys was incredible, with the 3 teams putting on classics virtually every time they stepped in the ring together and the fans couldn’t get enough of it. On top of that we had some legendary teams like The Hart Foundation, Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection, New Age Outlaws, APA, DX, Brothers Of Destruction, Legion Of Doom, Stone Cold with… virtually everybody. I would quite literally be here all day if I were to list every great team from years gone by.

But then over the next decade or so, WWE seemed to treat the division as an afterthought, quite often using teams as a way to push singles stars – a great example being John Cena vs Batista in 2008 where Cena single-handedly squashed the reigning tag champions Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase Jr. We started seeing less believable champions such as The Bashams, The Corre and Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov with the latter being nothing more than a comedy act. No offence intended to the guys who held the titles over this period, but the calibre of teams simply didn’t compare.

However, over the last few years the landscape has shifted again, resulting in another thriving tag team division. So how did WWE bring the glory days of tag team wrestling back? And what can be done to ensure we don’t go through another blip?

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We don’t just set the cringey catchphrases…

Greats feuds, not just matches

For the longest time we were given tag team ‘rivalries’ which lacked any sort of intensity and story. We were expected to just blindly go along with it because we sort of liked the guys involved, but didn’t really have a reason to become invested. Over the last few years however we have seen a lot more thought being put into feuds, such as The Shield and then The New Day vs The Wyatt Family, the rivalry and eventual forming of Cesaro & Sheamus, the brilliant build up and eventual success of Team Hell No, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose finally burying the hatchet, teams trying to stop The New Day from becoming the longest reigning champs in history … these were stories we cared about, backed up by fantastic wrestling.

WWE just need to keep going with the flow. We’ve seen in recent months that stories in the division have taken a backseat again while they’ve focused on the champions and challengers themselves, which is a shame because there are some great, charismatic teams on the roster who can sell you a story/rivalry. Imagine the gold WWE could strike by reuniting The Wyatt Family and having them feud with SAnitY once they are called up ? Or now that we have Balor Club together finally why not have a long standing feud with The Shield or Undisputed Era ? The division is full of so much potential right now with even more potential stars coming through the ranks, we just need a reason to care about them.

Stop screwing up great teams

Its all very well and good talking about how great the talent on the roster is, but one thing you can always count on in tag team wrestling is that just as the iron is hot, WWE and Vince will make the decision to split a team up and kill momentum/ruin lots of good build. lets look at some examples:

The Wyatt Family – Constantly fail to pull the trigger on a stable v stable feud, keep resorting to infighting and then let a part time The Rock bury them.

Enzo & Cass – Split them up while they’re hot while never letting them capture the tag titles just to try and make a singles star out of Big Cass despite his lack of ability in ring and on the mic.

Slater & Rhyno – Another case of a team coming from nowhere to suddenly becoming insanely over, moving them to RAW where they barely feature was one of the most ridiculous decisions I’ve ever seen.

Gallows & Anderson – Used as fodder for The New Day to surpass Demolition’s long standing record, never recovered, forced into humiliating matches and WWE Shop adverts.

American Alpha – Split up a great team with great chemistry and ability so we could have one of WWE’s worst storylines of all time, then formed American Beta (great name, you’re welcome) by replacing one athletic black guy (Jordan) with another (Benjamin) rendering the decision pointless.

DIY – To be fair this one was done really well for once, but regardless it was still an exciting partnership that could’ve gone on to achieve great things.

Lets face it, the only way you are gonna stay together as a tag team in WWE is if you can make the company big money from merchandise sales. None of those teams above, with the exception of Enzo & Cass, pulled in the big bucks. There’s a reason WWE have never split up The New Day, Breezango or The Uso’s. Money talks..

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You don’t need a caption here. You’ve already got a bemused Kane in a silly hat. Stop being so greedy and be thankful.

Big Names make big teams

The Hurricane & Rosey, La Resistance, Spirit Squad, The Colons … hardly a list of the all time greats is it ? While entertaining in their own right they simply were not championship material and were lightyears away from the star power of DX, The Hart Foundation and The Brothers of Destruction. The division really suffered for a long time due to this, most teams on the roster couldn’t garner any real interest from the crowd and were treated as afterthoughts. It is a simple fact that we as fans want to see the best in the business hold the top titles.

In recent times WWE have chosen to elevate the tag team championships by having some of their top talent – Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins, Sheamus & Cesaro, Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton, Kane & Daniel Bryan, The New Day, The Uso’s – show just how important the division is. The signing of Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson while they were still hot, the amazing return of The Hardy Boys at WrestleMania 33 and the recent reuniting of The Shield show that WWE have finally realised the importance of the division and the impact that using top names can have. Regardless of the top names involved, RAW is still struggling in terms of how many teams they have at their disposal even with The Revival‘s recent… revival, but i’ll get to that later on. Too many of their teams resemble the teams from those dark days previously mentioned… Titus Worldwide, Heath Slater & Rhyno… whereas SDLive have added yet more big names into their division with the likes of Rusev Day, The Blugeon Brothers, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable all helping to raise the bar in some phenomenal multi team matches in recent months.

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Jimmy & Jey clearly confused as to why this match was on the Summerslam Pre Show. Woods doesn’t care, he’s a certified porn star now !

New Day vs The Uso’s

It’s impossible to talk about the current tag team scene without mentioning these two teams. When The New Day first debuted they were generally hated amongst fans, a very stereotypical black power/exploitation/preaching sort of group who were booed out of the building every night and only became popular thanks to bright colours, funny catchphrases and silly props. A huge amount of credit goes to Xavier Woods for helping to get the group over with his stellar mic work, but there is no denying the group have a natural chemistry together. They’re one of the best example of how to use the Freebird ruling to perfection, using typically heel tactics to gain victories while still remaining face.

The Uso’s have always been a fun team to watch. They’ve always been known for their athleticism, high flying ability and since day one (ish) they engaged well with the crowd and had a distinctive look. Unfortunately for them they happen to be related to Roman Reigns, and suffered a knock on effect from the fans hatred for Reigns’ perceived forced push into becoming the guy. Where most guys would have stagnated and never recovered, The Uso’s used this negative reaction to reinvent themselves as heels, and they’ve arguably never been better. The Samoan tribal entrance and bright facepaint are both long gone, replaced by a thug-ish arrogance, a much more aggressive wrestling style and a new found confidence when it comes to promos.

Down since Day One Sort Of

The two teams clashed countless times on RAW, and while the matches were pretty good it did start to get a bit samey after a while. Fast forward to May 2017 when The New Day made their SDLive debut… I can’t have been the only one thinking ‘oh please god not this again !’. I’m a man of integrity and I will hold my hands up and say I couldn’t have been more wrong. Their SDLive rivalry was far and away the highlight of 2017, with phenomenal matches that have saved poor PPV’s (Battleground), hilarious promos from both teams (Rap Battle) and an incredible rivalry ending match at Hell In A Cell.

The two teams have consistently brought out the absolute best in eachother and after every match they essentially say to the locker room ‘go ahead, top that’. This feud in my eyes was the closest we have come to replicating the quality of the E&C/Dudleyz/Hardys rivalry from the 90’s. I just didn’t want it to end.

See those guys in the middle holding the titles ? They were most recently seen with pumpkins on their heads throwing cream pies at people… yep.

More teams in the mix

This section is sort of both a good point and a bad one. Currently on RAW we have 7 tag teams but for months we’ve only really seen one rivalry taking place – The Bar vs Rollins & Ambrose/Jason Jordan. The Revival came back recently, bringing with them some real optimism as we were led to believe the division had some fresh legs and new competition… NOPE! Winning matches against local talent and being buried by legends at RAW 25 is not how you build interest in your tag division. Now SDLive… boy oh boy do they know how its done! Rusev Day v The New Day v Benjable (great name again, you’re even more welcome) v The Uso’s at Clash of Champions was incredible, one of the best matches of 2017 by far but it didn’t just work because you had 8 guys involved, it worked because they had great chemistry together. I don’t know how many more times I can bare to watch the same match again and again AND AGAIN on RAW regardless of how good the talent involved is.

If it wasn’t for their top titles, RAW wouldn’t even be the C show at this point. The most notable thing that two of their big stars – Gallows & Anderson – have done in recent months was their match against Heath Slater & Rhyno in a car crash of a Halloween match. This is one of the best tag teams in world not even being used on mid card feuds, the same team who have left a path of destruction everywhere they have been and won plenty of championships on the way. WWE have a veeeeery long history of acquiring as much talent as possible to get the upper hand on their competitors, but then wasting them due to not having the time or space for them. It’s difficult to watch such talented guys be underutilized every single week.

Segments so good, they made people care about The Ascension

Breezango have become arguably the most over superstars on in the whole company over the last year thanks to their hilarious Fashion Files segments, but WWE seemed to forget that these guys are actual wrestlers for a very long time. When they did eventually remember, what did they do? They had them lose a couple of squash matches to The Blugeon Brothers. Imagine how fun a feud between them and New Day could have been ? Or Rusev Day? They’ve also had run ins with The Uso’s in the past which were always entertaining. They have huge potential but as long as Vince McMahon is getting a few extra bucks from t-shirt sales they probably wont get an opportunity.

Another concerning thing is that it’s only a matter of time before teams like SAnitY and Authors Of Pain get their main roster call ups. Where exactly are they going to fit in ? WWE either need to make some major budget cuts or involve more teams into both shows title picture. It worked perfectly well at WrestleMania 33 with the Fatal 4 Way Ladder Match and it can work perfectly well again.

Tag Teams

Please help me, I don’t know these men …

The Future

Not only do we have a fantastic tag team division right now but the future is also in very safe hands. Depending on the outcome of their feud with Aj Styles we may well see a proper tag team pairing of Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, we have only scratched the surface of the insanely over Rusev Day, and we also have a wealth of talent ready to step up from NXT. The Undisputed Era, SAnitY, Authors Of Pain, TM 61, Street Profits… a whole host of great teams who can easily transition onto the main roster.

In SAnitY we essentially have a new Wyatt Family, a charismatic leader with loyal members around him ready to do his bidding. In Authors Of Pain we have a real powerhouse of a team who you can easily see dominating the division because while the current teams are fantastic at what they do we don’t really have a team who can manhandle their opponents convincingly. In The Undisputed Era we have one of the hottest talents in the world, Adam Cole, who backs up my earlier point of big names making big teams. Let’s just hope WWE don’t out-WWE themselves… as long as they don’t, the future is looking very bright Bay Bay !


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Opinion

Top 5: Matches of the Week Ending 4/22/18

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Okay well, thanks to Major League Wrestling having TV and Impact having something to prove, this is a surprisingly diverse list if we include the honorable mentions. Aside from that, our matches last week needed a vote winner even though it was dominated by AJPW. This is why the reader vote matters, since that heavily skewed the vote.

So the winner of last week was, Shingo Takagi vs Yuji Hino @ AJPW Champion Carnival! It may not win the April vote in general, but I love seeing a variety of companies in the vote.

Anyway, let’s see what we’ve got to work with this week.

 

5. ROH: Kelly Klein vs Mayu Iwatani


Now I’m aware this is the Semi-Finals match from Supercard of Honor. However, I didn’t watch Supercard except for the Cody match, so I figured I’d count this one since it was on ROH TV.

Kelly is a beast that the women in ROH haven’t been able to beat cleanly, and it shows in the match. Even though Mayu is a heavily decorated wrestler from Stardom, Kelly’s size and power advantage make it seem unfair very early.

The match has a few attempts at back and forth, with Mayu wrestling from underneath nearly the entire time. Just when it looks like the smaller wrestler might pull it off, Kelly slaps on a submission and wins the match via referee stoppage. This match probably should’ve been the finals since both women brought some aggression, and the match was better than the women’s matches involving Sumie Sakai.

Rating: *** 1/2

 

4. MLW Fusion: Austin Aries vs ACH


Now to kick off, I never realized ACH says he hails from the Planet Vegeta, that popped me for the Dragon Ball reference.Either way, we have two very well known Cruiserweights, and this is the kick off match.

When the match starts we see ACH has the right side of his ribs and his right upper thigh taped up. Aries and ACH shake hands to kick things off, and honestly, Aries never really tries to exploit the injured areas.

This match was the longest match of the night, and the two put on a clinic. ACH was hampered slightly because of his injuries, but both men got all of this signature moves in. Schiavone kept jumping at the opportunity to call the 450 Splash, and when ACH finally did it, he was met with Aries’ knees.

After a Horns of Aries submission and the Discus Fivearm, Aries finally puts away ACH with the Brainbuster.

If this is a precursor for how they’re going to pace out their shows, anyone who loves quality wrestling, will enjoy this program.

Rating: *** 3/4

 

3. Impact Wrestling Redemption X Division Championship: Matt Sydal (c) vs Petey Williams

Williams got a Feast or Fired case, to cash in for an X Division Title shot. Since returning last year, Petey has had 2 or 3 opportunities and kept coming up short.

This was more of a wrestling match, then a high spot match. Petey focused on Matt’s legs and lower back, while Sydal was favoring injuries throughout. Big pop/spot in the match was when Petey hits the Canadian Destroyer, but Sydal rolls out of the ring. After that, Petey gets desperate and tries to set up a Super Canadian Destroyer from the top turnbuckle.

Sadly for Petey, Sydal fights off the Destroyer, goes for a Shooting Star, Williams rolls out of the way and attempts one more Canadian Destroyer. Sydal slips through Williams’ legs, and picks up the pinfall by a pump handle cradle. Damn good match.

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

Impact Redemption House of Hardcore: Ohio Versus Everything vs Tommy Dreamer, Eddie Edwards & Moose
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Champion Carnival: Dylan James vs Yoshitatsu
Rating: *** 1/4
Raw US Championship: Jinder Mahal (c) vs Jeff Hardy
Rating: *** 1/4
MLW Fusion: Pentagon vs Rey Fenix
Rating: *** 1/4
Smackdown: Daniel Bryan & AJ Styles vs Rusev & Aiden English
Rating: ***

 

2. AJPW Champion Carnival: Zeus vs Naomichi Marufuji


Zeus needs this victory to stay alive in the Carnival, and Marufuji has been riding an undefeated wave.

Zeus comes out with long pants and a rally towel, which isn’t his normal attire, so I’m not sure if there’s a story there. But the match itself was exactly what you expect from two high tier wrestlers.

They feel each other out by a test of power, trading chops and just generally seeing what the others’ pain threshold is. Zeus dominates most of this match, even though Marufuji gets in everything from the Kawada kicks to his corner blitz. Both men get their finishers countered or slowed down a few times, so you are sucked in since either man has the prowess to win this.

Just when Marufuji gets some momentum, and looks to end it with the Shiranui, Zeus counters it with his signature Jackhammer and gets back on the winning track. Personally, this is my favorite match of the Carnival so far.

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. Impact Redemption World Championship Triple Threat: Austin Aries (c) vs Fenix vs Pentagon Jr

The thrown together main event because Alberto decided to no show during Mania weekend. It’s also really a curious situation with Fenix and Pentagon being so visible to Americans within the last month. Both made their WrestleCircus debuts, MLW Fusion main event, ImpactvsLU special event and now Redemption.

Aries tried to take the fight to the brothers immediately, and we got a nice callback to the last triple threat, when Fenix and Pentagon went for the stereo superkicks, but Aries avoided it. After that, it was definitely a free for all. Pentagon had a lot of moments where he baited his little brother into moves, but Fenix had glimses of brillianc. He also had the same issue as other high fliers though, with the top rope. Fenix (and Aero Star in an earlier match) lost balance often, but Fenix is much smoother and made it look like an extended set up, opposed to an obvious botch.

From that point, we see Aries slowly gain momentum back, and keep each man in opposite corners, before they decide to team up. It’s this point where the big brother tactics work wonders. Since it looks like Pentagon tells Fenix to pin him, then superkicks him. From that point Pentagon puts Fenix in a Gory Special and then also lifts Aries into a Package Piledriver, for an amazing combination move.

Pentagon then, breaks Aries’ arm and hits his Pentagon Driver. AND NEW Impact Wrestling World Champion, Pentagon Jr! Even through the awkward spot with Fenix and the top rope, the match was hard hitting, had some call backs and showed a lot from all three men. Plus it’s the first hiccup in Aries’ “Belt Collector” gimmick, so that’s a wrinkle we might not have been getting with Alberto.

Rating: **** 3/4

 

This is another hard choice, and even though this list contains my favorite Champion Carnival match, I’m gonna have to vote for, Austin Aries vs Pentagon Jr vs Fenix @ Redemption. With a bunch of fun twists, and numerous great matches, this triple threat was the cherry on top of the best Impact/TNA PPV in at least 5 years.

Last week should’ve been proof that your opinion matters. If you’re reading this and you feel strongly one way or the other about the top 5, make your voice heard.


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International Coverage

AJPW Champion Carnival A Block Results & Review Part 4

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Welcome to Part 4 of our A Block coverage for the Champion Carnival. Before we begin, I wanted to inform you that Bodyguard starts competing again on the April 20th show.

However, he was scheduled to face Kento Miyahara on April 16th and since he was unable to compete, Kento received a BYE, meaning he has four wins and Bodyguard officially has four losses, which mathematically eliminates from winning. But, he could still take some wins to screw the scoreboard. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s…dive right in.

 

4/16/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Naoya Nomura vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Review: We get Shuji Ishikawa back in the race as he looks to keep his vow by not losing another match going forward, so let’s see if he keeps his promise when he faces Naoya next. The beginning in the match is a bit humorous to me and even Shuji attempted to murder Naoya by taking him over to the stage from the outside and to Powerbomb him, but that fails and just gets pushed off basically. Shuji would just mostly control the majority of the match as the crowd tries to get behind Naoya to help him overcome this monster of a man. Naoya would come close a couple of times and even kicked out of the Fire Thunder, but he would fail as Shuji would still get the win with his Powerbomb called Splash Mountain, giving himself another win in his name.

Recommended: The match was average at best, so up to you if you wanted to watch it.

 

4/18/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Ryoji Sai vs. Yuji Hino

Review: Hino right now has four wins in his name and is still undefeated as he goes into this match with a lot of confidence after defeating former Triple Crown Champions and some of the best in the Japanese scene, but now we need to see if our Asia Heavyweight Champion can try and stop his momentum and finally get a win in his name after losing his first two matches. Soon as the match starts, you can see Hino being a little too overconfident in his match with Ryoji even though they do go back and forth a few times, but you can tell Hino wasn’t trying as much since he knew he was gonna win the match and has a chip on his shoulder for sure since he’s been on a role since the Carnival started.

The match though was solid enough to get by as Hino and Ryoji still performed very well for themselves, and were able to provide a story for Hino and his progression in the tournament. Around near the ten minute mark, Hino attempts to go for the FUCKING BOMB to secure himself a possible final spot in A Block, but Ryoji would counter it into a roll-up and would get the surprise win, ending his undefeated streak! The crowd reaction may have felt a bit anti-climatic, but it was still an awesome spot and a huge win for Ryoji here to give him that much needed momentum.

Recommended: Fun match, worth at least one view.

 

4/20/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Naoya Nomura vs. Ryoji Sai

Review: Both Naoya and Ryoji are back at it again and this time they’ll be fighting each other as Naoya needs to win this match here or he will also be mathematically eliminated like how The Bodyguard is, while Ryoji would also be affected in the standings if he loses this match as well, so both of them really need the win here, but one of them is gonna have to lose. The two would work well in the beginning and both had enough offense in the bout to make each other look strong throughout the match. Naoya was explosive near the end of the bout as he would hit his Rolling Spear that would lead to a pinfall, but Ryoji would kick out at 2.5, but Naoya would attempt to pin him again after hitting a top rope Splash, but it still wasn’t enough to take out the Asia Heavyweight Champion here. Before Naoya would attempt a second splash, Ryoji would get up in time to hit a Superplex, work on him a little bit before he hits his Arakawa Tekkyo to give himself his second win, leaving Naoya mathematically eliminated from the tournament.

Recommended: Fun solid match, give it a look.

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Joe Doering vs. Shingo Tagaki

Review: We get both Shingo and Joe competing this time in the tournament, which means that Shingo still has three matches left and could be enough for him to secure a spot in the finals if things work out in his favor near the end of it, but somebody has to lose first to get the slight advantage over the other. Before the bell has a chance to ring, Shingo would start to assault Joe right away to give himself a slight advantage over the Gaijin giant here, but it would be short lived as Joe would recover enough to strike back at him and his strikes are slightly better that I haven’t yelled at my screen right away. Joe would showcase more of his power outside of his striking and you can see why the guy is so powerful and how he presents himself in his matches. Matches like these show why Shingo is considered one of the best since he has been one of the MVP’s on A Block for me so far and I do still believe he might win to go to the finals or at least come close, but it all depends on how they book it here. Shingo would start to hit his Pumping Bomber and Last Falconry, but Joe would kick out of it and hit a Diving Body Press before he puts Shingo away with the Revolution Bomb, giving Joe his third win in the tournament and Shingo’s second lost in a solid match.

Recommended: I really enjoyed the match and Shingo gets another match on the list for top A Block matches.

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Yuji Hino vs. The Bodyguard

Review: With Yuji Hino suffering his first loss in the tournament, he would need to defeat Bodyguard here to not only give his confidence back, but to also secure his spot on the top still since he only has one match left after this one and that is against Kento Miyahara, and Kento still has to fight Joe before he gets his match with Hino, so the outcome of the match here could help decide what the last couple of days could lead up to for the finals as the rest look like they might have a chance, except Bodyguard and Naoya who are mathematically eliminated from the tournament. Good to see that Bodyguard is back in action despite missing one match in the tournament due to the injury and I really wanted to see him and Kento fight again too, but nothing to do about it now except for Bodyguard to try and get a win to hurt Hino’s momentum a little bit more. The match was hard hitting as they both played to their powerhouse strength mixed in with their wrestling, and Hino still has that chip on his shoulder despite losing his first match at the previous show. but he attempts to fix that mistake when he goes for the FUCKING BOMB on Bodyguard, but he would fall off of him and hits a Lariat to get the unsuspecting win over Hino!

I didn’t expect Bodyguard to get the pinfall on Yuji, but now it will eventually start to get Hino annoyed due to losing two matches in a row and he only has one left, which hurt his chances to advance to the finals unless Kento could somehow lose to Joe Doering and cause him and Hino to tie up again before our duel.

Recommended: Match was alright when it starts, but the ending was average

Overall: While not as good as the ones I did in the previous article, it was still fun for what it was as the whole card was solid up and down as we have a couple of days left for A Block to see who will come out on top, and we have all but two of them slightly having a chance to win as well.

Favorite Match: Joe Doering vs. Shingo Tagaki

Least Favorite Match: Yuji Hino vs. The Bodyguard

Score: 7/10

 

Current Standings:
Kento Miyahara (4-1) (8 Points)
Yuji Hino (4-2) (8 Points)
Joe Doering (3-2) (6 Points)
Shingo Tagaki (2-2) (4 Points)
Shuji Ishikawa (2-2) (4 Points)
Ryoji Sai (2-2) (4 Points)
Naoya Nomura (1-4) (2 Points)
The Bodyguard (1-4) (2 Points)


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Opinion

When Will The Roman Reigns Experiment End In WWE?

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Two weeks ago, Roman Reigns walked in to the Mercedes Benz Superdome and thought he would walk out of WrestleMania 34 as the new Universal Heavyweight Champion.

Brock Lesnar’s new deal with WWE ended those dreams as the current champion on Monday Night Raw destroyed the “Big Dog” and retained his title. Reigns gets another shot at glory at the Biggest Royal Rumble show in Saudi Arabia, but the chances of a different outcome may be slim of not possible at all. Still, WWE continues to push Reigns, a three-time WWE champion, as the future of the company. Watching him lose to Lesnar time after time hasn’t endeared him to the fans, who would still rather see a new performer atop the leaderboard.

WWE’s love affair with Roman Reigns must come to an end at some point, right? This isn’t a soap opera where you can stop watching for a year, come back and see the same storyline, is it? Apparently, Vince McMahon wants to get as much out of the Reigns as he can.

The main event picture on Monday nights got a little more crowded with the arrival of Bobby Lashley last week. Reigns, Lashley and Braun Strowman figure to be front and center on this carousel while Lesnar walks in and out of the company’s backdoor. The lure of WWE and UFC at the same time will leave the “Beast Incarnate” with deep pockets and decisions to make.

Having the Universal Champion on Monday nights showing off red gold would benefit everyone involved, including the man who has beaten The Undertaker and John Cena in the past year. If WWE wants to continue Reigns’ path as the new leader of the company, it must put the strap on his waist soon. Fans have become restless and disengaged. Strowman gets the biggest pops on television. Seth Rollins is the Intercontinental Champion and could elevate himself to the main event.

Lashley will have fan support any time he gets in the ring.

It’s a no-win situation for Reigns, who didn’t ask for this kind of response. Had he beaten Batista in the 2014 Royal Rumble, this might be a different story – the kind where fans cannot get enough of the former Shield member. 

I almost feel sorry for Reigns. A big, strong wrestler born into the business with a look of a champion. He falls victim to the social media age of this business and fan sensibilities that change from day to day. If Reigns had been a champion in the 1980s, he and Hulk Hogan would have torn down Madison Square Garden. If he had been part of the Attitude Era, no doubt Steve Austin, Triple H and The Rock would have come knocking on his door.

Had he been part of the NWA in the early 1980s, I would have loved to see him in matches with Barry Windham, Lex Lugar and Ric Flair. This is the hand he has been dealt. For that reason, he and the fans must live with it.

As long as McMahon is pushing the button, Reigns will be the center of attention. Lesnar may hold the belt now and there are rumors Bobby Lashley may soon take it from the current champ. But front and center on the mind of WWE’s “machine” is a way to finally get Reigns over as the champion of the red team and as a favorite with the steadfast fan base.

It’s a relationship that will continue to remain toxic as long as Reigns is pushed down fans’ throats.


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