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WrestleMania 34: Did WWE Just End The Roman Reigns Experiment?

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I don’t usually get up in the morning wanting to jump out of bed and write a wrestling story. But I figured this one needed to be written. After the events of WrestleMania 34 last night in New Orleans, I find myself, along with 20 million other wrestling fans left wondering what just happened? Wasn’t this supposed to be the coronation of Roman Reigns as the new Universal Heavyweight Champion? Wasn’t this supposed to be Brock Lesnar’s swan song? Wasn’t this supposed to be the last time we see Paul Heyman on television for a while?
None of that happened, and while the majority of the 13 matches from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome left wrestling fans salivating, the end of the night took all the wind out of our sails. Is this what wrestling fans and Roman Reigns have to look forward to? There is the means to an end?
If there is one thing I have learned in covering professional wrestling for the past 25 years, it is to expect the unexpected. WWE did a great job in fooling all of us into thinking that Lesnar, who has made it clear he wants to return to UFC, who is leaving the company. He left New Orleans last night with Universal Heavyweight Title in tow and many of us writers scrambling to figure out what comes next.
It also made us wonder what is next for Reigns, who should have beaten “The Beast Incarnate.”
I guess Roman Reigns now knows what it feels like to be Barry Windham. Four years, Windham was considered the heir apparent to Ric Flair and the NWA world title. He was a good-looking kid, with blood lines in the business. He was spectacular in the ring and decent in front of a camera on the microphone. Wherever Flair went, Windham chased him, with a tenacity that few young wrestlers possessed. But like Reigns in his pursuit of Lesnar, he came up short time after time. It was only after a heel turn, when he joined the Four Horsemen, that Windham realized his full potential as one of the greatest heels of all-time.
There are some differences between the two professional wrestlers. Reigns is a three-time world champion who has already reached the mountain top and descended from his perch. Windham fought for years to claim the NWA championship and only captured it after Flair left the company he helped build.
But you get the picture.
If Roman Reigns is really Vince McMahon’s “boy” then why isn’t he champion right now? Why didn’t WWE book this match where the upstart sent the grizzled veteran off into the sunset? It’s a storyline that professional wrestling, and many different promotions over the years, has used effectively. In this case, the program was squashed.
Maybe this is what Reigns has become, the professional wrestler who constantly chase his glory, and always comes up short. If that is the case, then my Rodney Dangerfield analogy was spot on.
Who is next for Lesnar? Is it Bobby Lashley? Is Braun Strowman going to hold the Raw world title and the tag titles at one time? Does somebody like Drew McIntyre come up from NXT and challenge him? Better yet, does this mean that Samoa Joe gets a crack at being Monday night’s lead dog? The best thing about WrestleMania 34 is it left a lot of questions which will be answered in the near future. It also has us fans buzzing and freaking out about everything.
I assume (dangerous choice of words) the image of Reigns bloodied at the end of the night is what WWE wanted fans to remember. It is either the end of a long and partially successful road for the fallen antihero or it’s another beginning.
Even his staunchest critics and haters could all agree beating Lesnar was next in line for Reigns. WWE finally may have seen that this experiment has failed and it’s time to move on. After four years of WrestleMania main events, Reigns’ time at the top may have finally expired.
The next question WWE must answer is who is next? But maybe the question they should be answering is will it take as long to build another champion as it did with this failed experiment?
Reigns will get another shot at glory. It may be a while for that to happen, but he still deserves a chance to be the leader of the pack once more.


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