With Fastlane now firmly behind us all eyes are set on Wrestlemania 33, on Monday night the pieces started to fall into place, as they did on Smackdown last night. With the card starting to take shape the speculation between fans, critics and industry insiders will really flare up, between now and April 2nd everyone will have their say. What most people will discuss is the yet to be officially announced Undertaker vs Roman Reigns contest, the original speculation began around Royal Rumble and built from there. Roman started to use expressions as “My Yard” which obviously pricked the ears of Undertakers fans, this plus internet rumours fuelled the fire for Wrestlemania season.
As already stated I believe most conversation will revolve around Roman Reigns and The Undertaker, this match for sure will garner the biggest fan reaction due to the polarizing character that Roman is. More so than the split crowd reaction John Cena receives, Roman without argument is treated as a heel, the audience boo him as if he was Vince McMahon in Montreal (circa 1997). The now infamous reaction stems from WWE’s continuous efforts to make him the number one guy in the company, unlike John Cena, Roman radiates zero likeability, and his mannerisms all point to a self-centred individual. This does not bode well for a man Vince wants as a lead face for the future.
For just over two years WWE have subjected us to Roman Reigns overkill, pushed so hard that it has a detrimental effect on other talent, Reigns remains the main objection. The company has put Reigns in every situation possible to get him over with the fans, from unsurmountable odds to having The Rock stand by his side, nothing seems to be working. One can only assume what Vince McMahon is thinking every time one of his ideas fails to produce that babyface pop, he obviously doesn’t blame Roman or himself, it must the live audience. Vince must have tunnel vision, because in any other industry something would have been done.
Roman is without question one of the most bankable superstars WWE has at their disposal, he’s good looking, great body, athletic, strong, all the tools someone needs to make it. Inside the ring he has improved greatly since his debut in 2012, once used sparingly in tag team scenarios, Reigns is now competent and trusted in what he does. So much focus however has been put into getting him over that his move repertoire receives ridicule, like Hulk Hogan and John Cena before him Reigns has suffered the 5 moves syndrome. But the arguments are minor as Roman is here for the foreseeable, WWE see him as the man to build a company around, but is he that man.
Getting back to where this started, Roman will face Undertaker on April 2nd, going by fan reaction from the past two years and especially Monday night Roman is walking into Wrestlemania a heel. The Undertaker garners more respect than any other member of the roster, among his peers, the fans and the industry the man is untouchable, therefore when he appeared on RAW the odds were stacked firmly in his favour. The eventual stare down between the two had been coming since Reigns eliminated Taker from the Rumble, it was that act that set in motion this memorable moment. Reigns as expected was treated like a wanted man, and the audience let him know it.
Wrestlemania offers WWE the chance to finally cement Roman as the next big thing, not only will facing Undertaker be a great moment but it could be the catalyst for the greatest heel turn in WWE history. It’s no secret that the majority of fans and critics want Vince to pull the trigger on a Roman Reigns heel turn, it’s be discussed ever since his match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. Not only does Roman receive the worst the live audiences have to offer but he constantly makes sweeping statements in and out of the ring. From in ring promos to interviews in the real world, Roman exhibits this cocky, self-serving attitude that only a cocky self-centred heel would.
Think Shawn Michaels 1997 and you’ve got Roman 2017, okay so you can’t compare the two physically or career wise but you can agree their mannerisms mirror each other. The reasons why Reigns should turn heel are mounting up, but the questions begs. Isn’t Roman a heel already? He exhibits no face qualities and every week on TV he’s treated as the top heel, worse than Braun, Styles, Wyatt combined, there is no escape from it. The most direct approach at Wrestlemania is for Roman to take what the Deadman has, he needs to weather the storm and prepare for dominance. I think Roman needs to emerge from Wrestlemania the most dangerous man in the WWE, He needs to leave the Undertaker laying on April 2nd.
Face or heel Roman needs to leave Wrestlemania victorious and brimming with confidence, a decisive win over the Deadman is what is needed. Roman needs the win as he will be the one that most probably dethrones Brock Lesnar, because who else is there. Vince most certainly isn’t going to have Kevin Owens or Finn Balor defeat Brock, that would take the limelight away from his project, one which Vince has so tirelessly worked at making a success. Wrestlemania offers one last chance for Roman to become the man we all know he is, come April 3rd he can either be the most fearsome heel in the company or the most loathed face in WWE history.