By Haydn Gleed
Well, Roman, you really messed up this time, didn’t you? This is not some mainstream media interview where you made yourself to look like an arrogant douchebag that can be played off as part of your character. No, you’ve gone and done the ultimate no no as far as WWE is concerned and that is publicly embarrassing them by failing a Wellness Policy test.
Boy, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Okay, from one point of view, the timing is very convenient for WWE. They could still go through with their advertised main event for Money In The Bank and setup the big main event for Battleground, while at the same time have Roman serve his suspension and be back in time for said pay-per-view. From that way of looking at it, the timing is actually perfect. However, I’m talking from the perspective of the momentum that Roman was building. Don’t get me wrong, I will argue with anyone that Roman still wasn’t given a character that people could either like or hate depending on what side of the fence he was standing, he simply went out there barked some big man cliché lines and left while being aggressively protected by WWE management. As a result, there was a general feeling of apathy around him that I believe wasn’t good for business.
On the flip side, I have often described the feeling against the mega push of Roman as the face of WWE as the tide pushing against the company’s direction, but in the last few weeks I’ve sensed that the tide had changed somewhat. Again, he wasn’t given any direction as a character, but people had come to respect the work that he was doing in the ring. And, in the strangest point I’ll probably ever make, I was sensing that the majority of the crowd’s feeling towards Roman was turning from go away heat to reluctant acceptance and in a strange way that was a win for Reigns in 2016. Assuming that storylines were not dramatically changed because of the suspension, he would have had that momentum going into a feud with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, two men who not only would make him feel comfortable to be around but also be able to lead him both in the ring and on the mic as we saw during The Shield days.
It’s also not inconceivable that this could have been the turning point for Roman. His interaction with the crowd on Monday night gave me a sense of someone who was either on the verge of turning heel or at least developing an edge. It’s up in the air as to what the future holds for the big man. I’m not for a second saying that his job is an jeopardy. He’ll be in WWE for years to come providing he keeps out of trouble, but it’s not inconceivable that there may be some strong second guessing at this point as to whether Roman should be the face of the company. After all, he failed the Wellness Test while having everything handed to him. How will he fare in five years time when he’s had to put in years of hard work that is expected of the top babyface of the company? I wouldn’t be comfortable putting a guy at the top of my company if he had failed to stay out of trouble while holding the belt. The possibility of him embarrassing my company again would lead to strong second guessing at the very least.
Ultimately, I guess it depends on what he exactly tested positive for. Was it a banned supplement? Was it PED? Did he take more than the allotted amount of a prescription drug? Did he take something he didn’t have a prescription for? Was it recreational drugs? The coming weeks are going to be interesting in terms of how WWE treats disappearance from TV. Will they acknowledge why he’s not on TV? Of course, it’s also going to be interesting to see how Roman reacts and how he is slotted once he does return to television.
As always, feel free to get in touch about anything wrestling related @haydngleed on twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org via email
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...