McGuire’s Monday: There’s Roman Reigns, and then there’s everyone else

By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

Oftentimes, nobody knows what they’re going through until they get through it. It works both ways, of course. On the negative side, the “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone” phenomena can be applied to most every walk of life. The best days of our lives aren’t labeled as such while they play out; instead, they’re soaked with nostalgia and fading memories that we pray we keep as clear as possible for as long as possible.

On the positive side … well, have you ever had a long work day? Maybe a particularly busy month? Whenever we put our heads down and get things done – in whatever capacity that entails – we come out on the other end a little surprised with ourselves that we got through it. Determination and tenacity can take the human body and the human mind to limits most previously thought impossible.

Either way, when it comes to some of the formative things we consume in professional wrestling, the former is almost always the axiom that wins out. WCW was met with a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out” mentality by the time Vince McMahon bought it, because the product had become so discombobulated, making it practically impossible to watch. But seeing the success of AEW and remembering what it’s like to have a second legitimate pro wrestling company in the mainstream reminds some of us who were around when WCW was beating WWE on a regular basis that the competition can be so much fun. It also reminds some of us how much good wrestling can come out of it as a result. We didn’t know what we had until it was gone; now that it’s back, such appreciation for what came before is imperative.

Enter Roman Reigns. It was reported a week or so ago that WWE wants to make him the “legend of his generation” and here are some credentials: He has both world titles in his possession and leads a faction with people who hold both the Raw and Smackdown tag-titles – and now an NXT secondary title to boot. He hasn’t been pinned since 2019 and he’s held the WWE Universal Title for more than 700 days. Gone is the confused, inauthentic presentation of a character that seemed to be in WWE purgatory; in is a man who commands respect, gets respect and has grown into a real life, honest-to-goodness star, which doesn’t happen all that often in pro wrestling these days.

And so, it must be asked: Has it worked? Is Roman Reigns the legend of his generation?

I say yes. And I say yes not just because of the aforementioned obvious accomplishments; I say yes because they’ve become so easy to ignore. For the longest time, I found myself in discussions with friends who complained that WWE didn’t know how to make a star anymore, and that was partly because it’s impossible to make stars in the current pro wrestling landscape. Attention spans are too short, fans are too fickle and a mass of people could never agree on universally getting behind one guy as The Guy in the way they once did with Stone Cold or The Rock.

But Roman Reigns, for whatever you think about him, has done it. Head onto the message boards and the social media and, to some extent, the guy is untouchable. You’ll hear fans squabble over the usage of Miro in AEW on a periodic basis. You’ll see how annoyed some are that Braun Strowman is back in WWE. You’ll even come across those who demand Impact Wrestling is a great wrestling show and we should all be watching more of it. And yet no matter what Roman Reigns does, he’s mostly never at the center of the whining.

Should he have lost at Clash At The Castle to Drew McIntyre? Those debates have happened, but a conversation just as loud as that discourse is the conversation regarding how good the match was. You like false finishes? Those two would have made Kenny Omega blush with the amount of near-falls they pulled off. You like drama? Leave it to Roman to stall for the first five to seven minutes of the match as he looked shaken while the white-hot crowd chanted in Drew’s favor and Roman’s facial expressions conveyed so much more than any words could hope to do. It was one of the best WWE main events in a while, and if you tell me that’s only because the bar is low, I’m going to tell you that you can take that bar and stick it … er … I mean, you’re only robbing yourself of the pleasure of watching Big Time Wrestling with a clear mind.

The point is that even when some might have issues with the booking decisions behind him, nobody has been able to deny that Roman Reigns has evolved into the best main event wrestler WWE has today. And as such, it’s not often anyone comes across a swell of folks demanding he lose his WWE titles anytime soon (losing only one of them, to be fair, might be a different story, but even that argument isn’t necessarily because of his work). There isn’t hate. And I can’t even confirm that there’s a whole bunch of love. But there also isn’t apathy. Thanks to his fancy new part-time deal, his appearances feel bigger than ever and his matches are more anticipated than anything else going on in that company.

Speaking of his matches, WWE announced over the weekend that his next match is going to be against Logan Paul. Yes. That Logan Paul. The YouTube sensation, infinitely detestable Logan Paul. The blond-hair, Justin Bieber-ish Logan Paul. And the match is going to happen in Saudi Arabia, where sports-washing is amiss and between golfers and wrestlers, a whole lot of people have a whole lot to say about these events in the desert. Yet despite the anger and vitriol lobbied WWE’s way for holding these Crown Jewel shows, and despite fans rarely getting any good or memorable wrestling out of them (remember that time Shawn Michaels shaved his head and said he was “too old for this shit?”), the one thing I can say for certain is …

The idea to set up this match at this place between these two people is brilliant.

Reigns is in desperate need of dancing partners if we’re playing the waiting game when it comes to WrestleMania. That’s about seven months away, and at this point, who hasn’t Reigns defeated? Yes, I know they could heat up anything they want between him and a handful of wrestlers on the WWE roster for the sake of a premium live event, but we all pretty well know that it’d be genuinely shocking if he dropped his titles before next April (which is yet another reason to appreciate all he does; when was the last time WWE had a dominant champion whose reign expanded for years and we weren’t sure how, when or to whom the belt would be dropped?).

So, what do you do? You bring in a celebrity who has a worldwide brand and you throw him into more of a spectacle than you do a wrestling match. Reigns excels at both, so the booking makes sense. Plus, color me naive and tell me I have bad taste, but I actually think those two could pull off a fun match. You know Paul Heyman will be all over it and you know they’ll have time to work out any kinks before they step into the ring in front of people – and, like it or not, you know by now after last year’s WrestleMania, that Logan Paul can sort of work. Or at least hang in there long enough to ensure the match is worthwhile.

Crown Jewel is November 5. By all accounts, it appears as though Reigns won’t be working WWE’s next traditional PLE, Extreme Rules. After Crown Jewel, Survivor Series is on the docket and in recent years that’s been the one show a year where absolutely no belts are defended because of … stupidity (though that could change given today’s news that the Raw vs. Smackdown theme is out in favor of two WarGames matches). From there, it’s on to Day 1, which WWE said they wanted to make a big deal, so perhaps Roman wrestles there, and then, of course, the Royal Rumble.

So, let’s say between now and WrestleMania, Reigns has, at the most, four title defenses. One is Paul. Perhaps WWE heats up Strowman, considering how he’s working as a babyface on Smackdown and WWE is still pushing him as a monster. Perhaps Gunther steps up for a match that would be so wild to think about, I can’t even try right now (can you imagine Roman throwing 53 chops and absorbing twice as many in a 20 minute match?). There’s always Bobby Lashley. Maybe Drew again, but I don’t know how you get back there this quickly. Seth Rollins is always a good choice. Bron Breakker?

If it’s any or all of those speculative opponents, you can bet those matches will be quite good, if not veering on great at times. Naturally, I left out Cody Rhodes, but that’s on purpose because I do think Cody is the strongest candidate to beat Roman Reigns for his title(s). The thing is, I don’t think that’s going to happen at WrestleMania. Instead, as I alluded to in my Clash At The Castle live review for this site, I think the Roman Reigns vs. The Rock showdown is going to come to fruition at next year’s ‘Mania. And you know what?

I think Roman wins that match.

Why? Because how do you cement a “legend of a generation?” You beat the previous generation’s legend himself. If Cody is the guy to win the big prize, I’m of the belief we are looking at next year’s SummerSlam as the earliest time it goes down. That would give Roman somewhere near 1,000 days as WWE’s biggest champion and that, friends, would make the “legend of a generation” conversation a lot more fun to debate.

The wild thing is, we would have had a thousand days to realize that what we were seeing was some special stuff unfolding at the tippy-top level of the pro wrestling business. Have we taken it for granted? Will we continue to take it for granted? Let’s hope not. Because when someone like that does a job like Roman Reigns has been doing, acknowledging him is probably the least we could do.

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Honestly, i think without bigger rivalries. Roman’s title reign will quickly be forgotten.

    There are many classic, loved wrestlers who never received a title run.

    WWE has put all their eggs in the roman basket and at this point I (just my opinion) think its getting stall and his matches are extremally predictable.

  2. Nothing at all against Roman, who deserves all the praise he gets, but between him and Lesnar, this leaving all the main titles with part-time guys HAS to stop. They have to see that this negatively affects the product.

    • Curious to know why you feel Reigns holding the title having a negative effect. They are doing great business. I concede that it’s not ideal, but he’s around more than Brock was and he seems as over as ever.

  3. Being around more than Brock was is a low bar. Just my opinion, but having the figurehead of your company only showing up now and again cheapens the titles and the shows as far as I’m concerned. Reigns is great at what he does, but there is no need for him to hold both belts and for me they made a bad mistake not having him drop one of the belts to McIntyre in Cardiff. Have at least one top title holder who wants to be there every week.

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