I’m stealing this from Ric Flair. To be the man, you have to beat the man.
It may be the most often used catch phrase in the lexicon of professional wrestling’s vocabulary, and a true statement if there ever was one. In this business, if you want to be the lead dog, you take down the man (or woman) standing in your way.
In this case, Roman Reigns must topple John Cena to assume the position Vince McMahon has been hoping for the past two-plus years. If Reigns is going to continue his dominance as the guy, the man standing in his way must be the focal point of his aggression.
Flair beat Harley Race. Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant. Jack Brisco beat Dory Funk, Jr. Most recently, Reigns beat The Undertaker. Now, he must summon the gods and do the “impossible.”
He must take down Cenation.
WWE didn’t have to book Reigns as it did. He could have been a gentler, more liked giant. He could have been part of a better plan. But the company left the former Shield member to twist in the wind on his own, face everyone on the roster and fight like hell to reach the top. Fans never liked the notion of having the second-generation wrestler shoved down their throats.
Even Hogan toward the end of his Hulkamania run was wearing thin on the WWF fan base. Cena has embraced the fact the arenas are split in love and hate. With Reigns, hatred runs deep and sending Undertaker on his last ride only strengthened the feeling from dark side.
Now that his fate has been sealed with a spear, WWE must book him against the company’s greatest champion of all time. Cena, who has become something of a part-time thought in the minds of the booking committee, must put aside the wedding plans and action movies (that suck) and concentrate on his next endeavor – putting Reigns over as the mega heel champion this company needs. It’s the only way Reigns will find his way back to the hearts of fans, much like his cousin The Rock in the Rocky Miavia days of his tenure with the company.
Reigns used to say he wasn’t a good guy or bad guy, rather he was “the guy” in this promotion. It would have worked if he had gone straight heel and spewed venom with his words and took shortcuts to win matches. Mixed signals by the performer and the company led to this hostility from audiences. The promo Reigns cut Monday night following WrestleMania 33 should have given us all some idea of which direction his path will take him.
It didn’t. Stay tuned.
On the other side of this proposition is a wrestler who has nothing left to fight for. He has won every title imaginable. He has faced every opponent conceivable and is now a mid-card player. Cena’s ascension to Mt. Rushmore status is secure. He recently made sure Bray Wyatt took his belt at Elimination Chamber. Why not put the new villain on the block over?
It’s not a possibility, it’s a moral imperative.
Reigns will run through his opposition on Monday nights. Braun Strowman. Kevin Owens. Samoa Joe. Brock Lesnar. He will slay the dragons and look for more heat from the fan base. What better way to stir the pot than to take aim at wrestling’s biggest enigma? Reigns wanted this position and never wavering in reaching this zenith. Now, he has one more giant to slay if he is to be the man who beat the man to take the man’s place in a company where fans don’t want the man to have this position in the first place.