2016 has been an interesting year for the WWE, to say the least. I’ve been active on this blog for a year and a half, and I can honestly say that their have been more note worthy stories in six months of 2016 than all of 2015. Out of all those stories the one that sticks out the most is undeniably the suspension of Roman Reigns. Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, the WWE issued this statement:
Just like most fans, my jaw dropped to the floor upon hearing this news. This suspension raised a few questions such as, did the WWE know this before MITB? If they did know, why would they book the triple threat match for Battleground? How will the WWE explain this on television? Dave Meltzer & Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio mentioned that the WWE had knowledge of this before Sunday’s event, which makes sense as to why the title changed hands. It’s fair to assume that the WWE didn’t want their champion suspended for violating the wellness policy. I can’t say that I’m an insider or have sources from within the WWE, so I refuse to guess what exactly he tested positive for.
In terms of the television product, this fiasco has to make fans scratch their heads. Will the WWE continue to push this three way feud all the way until Battleground? In my opinion, there wouldn’t be any logic in that decision. Roman’s suspended, meaning there’s absolutely nothing he can do to make his presence felt on Raw or Smackdown. In fact, without him creative can do anything either. The Shield triple threat is considered a dream match for the fans ever since the trio broke up, and there’s no sense in pushing it when one of the members isn’t present. With the suspension being 30 days, and Battleground being 34 days away, the company would be cutting it close. Roman wouldn’t even have an opportunity to return on television before the actual PPV.
These next five weeks are crucial for the WWE because they’re preparing for brand split. Love him or hate him, Roman is still a key figure on the roster, and he won’t be there. I’m almost 100% positive that he would’ve been chosen as the face of either Raw or Smackdown. At the same time, the WWE deserves some credit for sticking to their rules and regulations. This goes to show fans that they don’t hold back on any member of roster, which tells us that they don’t play favourites for everything that happens backstage.
Based on the Smackdown spoilers I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like they mentioned much about Roman, although he’s still shown on the Battleground graphic for the triple threat. Instead they focused more on Rollins and Ambrose. Part of me feels as if this was the best thing for the current storyline and Reigns. Dean and Seth have amazing chemistry and can easily carry a feud into Battleground. Ambrose has usually played second fiddle to his Shield brethren, and this gives him a chance to show the company what he can bring to the table. They’ve always seen him as a top competitor, but have been reluctant to go all in on a singles push.
For Roman, this could be a blessing in disguise. While his character has slightly changed throughout the months, it wasn’t enough for fans to get behind him. Time off could allow the WWE to hit the reset button on Reigns and reconsider how he’s presented. However, in no way do I believe they should give up on him. He’s clearly talented in the ring and has proven to get over with the crowd at times. There’s no denying he has appeal, it’s just a matter of finding it again.