What’s the story?
With Wrestlemania 33 just over the horizon, rumors have begun to surface regarding the possible matches that will be on the card, some more believable and durable than others. One of these rumors is that the upper echelon of WWE want to have Roman Reigns take on The Undertaker in a marquee match at the event, with the added incentive of it possibly being The Undertaker’s final match before retirement. This rumor seems to have a basis-in-fact however, as WrestlingNews have reported that Vince McMahon has a logical reason to book this match – making it a strong contender to be on the final Wrestlemania card.
In case you didn’t know...
The Undertaker match at Wrestlemania has always been a huge draw for McMahon and the WWE. However, since his loss to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, the amount he can bring in has dropped substantially. This has been evident in the preceding editions of Wrestlemania against Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon respectively. However, with this match being widely circulated as his final outing, a huge opponent is needed.
Reports originally suggested that it was going to be against John Cena, with the two coming together for the first time at a PPV since Vengeance 2003. With Cena’s recent return on SmackDown, however, and his open desire for a championship match against AJ Styles confirmed at Royal Rumble in January, the rumors have ceased to exist.
The same problem arose with the other potential opponent, AJ Styles. Fans have theorized that The Undertaker is destined to win his second Rumble match come 2017, and will then face Styles for the title at Wrestlemania. Again, with the Cena angle against Styles being confirmed on an episode of SmackDown, it now seems very unlikely. This leaves The Phenom without an opponent.
The heart of the matter...
Vince McMahon has always had a face for his company. It was Hulk Hogan during The Golden Generation, it was Shawn Michaels during the New Generation, it was Stone Cold Steve Austin during the Attitude Era and it has seemingly been John Cena ever since. However, with Cena spending more and more time away from the profession, McMahon needs to crown a new star to be at the helm of the company, and WrestlingNews have reported that, despite several misfires, he is still convinced that Reigns should be the top guy.
The best way to cement this, in McMahon’s mind, is to validate Reigns with a match against ‘Taker. With it being widely speculated to be Taker’s last hurrah before a deserved retirement, the focus has turned towards future implications rather than merely making it a ‘big Wrestlemania match’. The higher powers of WWE believe that Reigns going over The Phenom is the way to solidify this status.
A lot hinges on the Royal Rumble, and who wins it. If – as many people have predicted thus far – The Undertaker wins, it will then set ‘Taker on course to face whoever holds the WWE World Championship at Wrestlemania – possibly setting up the ‘dream-match’ so many fans want to see against AJ Styles.
Fans of the promotion have also realized that nothing is set in stone. With injuries and regularly canned storylines, plans are rarely a lock. This year has already shown us a glimpse of that; with Cena, the other main contender for the match at ‘Mania, arriving on SmackDown and announcing his intention to challenge AJ Styles for the Championship at the Royal Rumble.
It is a bold strategy for the WWE to have Roman Reigns take on The Undertaker, which comes only a year after his match with Triple H for the WWE Championship was unceremoniously ignored by those in attendance. The McMahons have made it abundantly clear that Reigns is going to remain the face of the company and that the way to do that is to have the ‘Big Dog’ go over ‘Taker on the greatest stage of them all.
The crowd don’t want that though and have shown this on a number of occasions, booing Reigns out of the building whenever he takes to the ring, despite his improving in-ring ability and mic skill. A win over Undertaker will only bring more heat on the former Shield member. As for the fabled heel turn, this is not the time. If they want Reigns to be the face of the company, how can he be a heel?
The time for this would have been at Wrestlemania 32 rather than the obsolete Hell in a Cell match, replacing Shane McMahon. At least then, a heel turn would have been countered by the face that runs the place in John Cena. Now, however, with Cena devoting more time to projects outside the WWE, the time has passed, and the creative team wants Reigns to stay face. Against a WWE Universe waiting for an Undertaker vs. AJ Styles match or even a John Cena vs. Undertaker match, slapping them with yet another transparent attempt to get Roman Reigns over is a brave move, a very brave move.
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