While it’s not uncommon for superstars to leave and make a return, it is very unfortunate when a superstar leaves at the height of success and while holding a championship, knowing they’re leaving a lot of hard work, blood, and sweat behind.
This was the case when Roman Reigns’ announced his sad departure from Raw on October 22. Reigns relinquished the title and announced his hiatus on Raw, revealing that his leukemia had returned after 11 years of privately battling it and being in remission.
Every single lover and hater of Reigns’ was on one page after the announcement, as support for the superstar poured out from every corner.
Now, after four months, Reigns’ will be returning to Raw to address the WWE Universe for the first time since his departure, and possibly update them on his return.
However, when he returns, a lot would have changed on Raw since the last time he took to the squared circle.
Take a look at the 5 things that have happened and change on Raw since Roman Reigns’ departure, and share your favorite moment from the past four months in the comments below.
#5 Braun Strowman's fall
At SummerSlam 2018, Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship. This was primarily made possible by Braun Strowman’s distraction as he was the Money in the Bank briefcase holder at the time.
Strowman later cashed in his briefcase to challenge Reigns for the title at Hell in a Cell. The match ended in a no contest, as Brock Lesnar returned to tear down the cage and lay waste to both the superstars.
Following Super Show-Down event, a triple threat match between Reigns, Strowman, and Lesnar for the Universal Championship was scheduled for Crown Jewel event.
However, Reigns relinquished his title before the event which led to Lesnar and Strowman battle for the vacated championship.
Strowman lost the match thanks to Baron Corbin’s attack and was unable to stay on top of the Raw roster again. Slowly losing ground due to ordinary storylines and has since fallen down the ranks on the roster and is being used in mid-card feuds ever since.
Strowman has lost his elite status on Raw since Roman Reigns’ departure.
#4 Seth Rollins' rise
Seth Rollins was the Intercontinental Champion at the time when Reigns’ announced his departure from Raw. Rollins had won the title on the June 18, 2018, episode of Raw from Dolph Ziggler.
The night Reigns’ announced his departure, Seth Rollins also won the Raw Tag Team Championship along with Dean Ambrose. However, Ambrose turned on his partner the very same night after the victory to shock the fans in attendance and at home.
After a lengthy feud, Ambrose defeated Rollins at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2018 to end his second reign as the Intercontinental Champion.
Seth Rollins then went on to compete in the Royal Rumble 2019 and won the Royal Rumble match to win the opportunity to challenge either the top champion of Raw or SmackDown Live.
Rollins went on to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship for WrestleMania 35, which has helped him rise drastically on Raw and become its main face.
#3 Finn Balor failed in winning one title, succeeded in winning another
Thanks to Braun Strowman’s slip in the eyes of the WWE management and the WWE Universe, The Extraordinary Man cashed in and proved his worth to everyone in and around WWE that he deserves to stay on top.
Balor defeated Jinder Mahal, and then Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and John Cena to determine who would take Strowman's place against Lesnar at the pay-per-view, in which Bálor emerged victorious after pinning Cena, in the same night.
At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Bálor was unsuccessful in defeating Lesnar after tapping out to the Kimura Lock. After the match, Lesnar attacked Bálor with three F-5s.
Instead, Balor got a chance to win the Intercontinental Championship, after he defeated Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush on February 17 at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Bálor defeated Lashley and Rush in a two-on-one handicap match to capture the Intercontinental Championship after Bálor pinned Rush.
This marked Balor’s only second main roster championship win, and his first only lasted a day as he had to relinquish his Universal Championship due to an injury.
#2 Dean Ambrose lost hope
One of the biggest setbacks WWE has faced since the beginning of 2019 has been Ambrose’s decision to ask for his release from the company after WrestleMania 35. The former WWE Champion isn't after monetary gains, which has affected his relationship with the company.
Since turning heel, Ambrose won the Intercontinental Championship but lost it in just over a month to Bobby Lashley.
Ambrose has since fallen down further on the roster and has been jobbing out to rising stars such as EC3 and Drew McIntyre and it seems as though Ambrose has lost all hope since Reigns’ departure.
As a result, WWE might just go on to lose one of its best stars.
#1 The value of the Universal Championship suffered
The Universal Championship was launched in honor of the WWE Universe but has largely failed in pleasing the fans.
After the inaugural winner, Finn Balor, relinquished the title due to a legitimate injury, the championship has been on a bumpy road and seen some uninterested champions and two relinquishes in total.
Brock Lesnar has held the title for most of its existence, and only defends it when he wants, which has really frustrated the fans. When Roman Reigns finally won the championship, he promised to defend it every week, much to the excitement of the fans.
However, since Reigns’ relinquished the title, Lesnar won it again and it has gone through the same treatment once more, which has further decreased the value of the championship.
With a match for the title scheduled for WrestleMania 35 and a possible return of Roman Reigns, we could see the Universal Championship regain relevance sooner than later.