Opinion: Why Roman Reigns should NOT have won the Elimination Chamber
Okay, let me get this out of the way first. I am a Roman Reigns fan. I own a Roman Reigns t-shirt, I have the Funko pop vinyl, I think he’s one of the top talents in WWE today when it comes to physicality and athleticism. I don't buy into the "Roman can't wrestle" mentality. and I personally think he has a huge future as one of the faces of WWE.
But contrary to why he says, he’s not a good guy, he’s not a bad guy, and he is most definitely not THE guy.
Last night, WWE did probably the worst thing they could have done to close out Elimination Chamber- the expected. In true WWE style, they made a stubborn decision last year (after years of similar stubborn decisions regarding this particular talent) and made their mind up about what would main event WrestleMania this year with absolutely no wiggle room.
Vince McMahon decided last year that Roman Reigns would defeat The Undertaker (a move that I personally think was the right move) but also decided to build Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker for this year in a match that sees Roman Reigns main event Mania for the fourth year in a row.
Now, Roman Reigns is great. I think his timing is impeccable in the ring, his strength is astounding. But here’s why him winning the Elimination Chamber was a mistake.
WWE decided to tell us a story. Last week on Raw, Roman Reigns was the first man eliminated from the Gauntlet Match in a move designed to make us believe 'The Big Dog' was the underdog heading into this match, but who would “believe that”?
Now, WWE has done something incredible in the Chamber. They made Braun Strowman look like a monster, even more so than before. Strowman managed to no-sell finisher after finisher, and make it believable, but his strength is Reigns’ kryptonite.
Roman Reigns yet again won the dreaded formulaic template match that we’ve seen so much from John Cena and, going further back, Hulk Hogan. Now, that’s not always a bad thing, but why doesn’t it work for Reigns?
In wrestling psychology terms, he's not the good guy or the bad guy...at all. Obviously, there's no heel heat in the ring, but there’s also no comeback. There’s no babyface shine. Roman Reigns’ no-selling means it’s incredibly difficult to garner sympathy towards his Superman-esque character. Now, Reigns isn’t winning every match. Far from it, but he’s winning the ones that matter and WWE aren’t doing anything in between to make the hardcore fans care or change their mind.
Any seasoned WWE fan who even had a slither of doubt that Reigns would win, that had to go out the window when Braun started to eliminate everyone.
In fact, the one time WWE looked like they may actually give the majority of the WWE Universe what they wanted, they not only dropped the ball but they even seemingly knew that they’d done so immediately after the match when Braun Strowman decimated Roman Reigns, potentially to prevent the Philly Rumble heat raining down on Reigns.
Now, how could WWE have fixed this? Well, the Men’s Elimination Chamber Match could have gone on first, so as not to leave a sour taste in the mouth after what was essentially a really entertaining pay-per-view, but that wouldn’t be ideal, nor would it fix the big problem.
What does WWE do at WrestleMania when Roman Reigns closes the pay-per-view by holding the WWE Universal Championship aloft with the vast majority of the WWE Universe booing?
Well, there is one way to fix that, and the seeds have been planted. Does Braun Strowman get added to the match after last night’s performance to make it a Triple Threat? Or does he end WrestleMania by proclaiming “I’m not finished with you yet” and destroying Roman Reigns, setting up the next chapter of their storied rivalry?
One thing is for certain, after last night, while I think WWE made the wrong call, I’m not cancelling the WWE Network, and I’m all in to see what happens next.