As odd as it sounds, the wrestler who will be most affected by the return of Daniel Bryan’s wrestling career could be Roman Reigns. The soon-to-be Universal Champion is finally winning over part of the WWE Universe, but that all could change with two words… Superstar Shakeup.
If WWE decides to flip the script and make major roster changes following WrestleMania 34, Bryan could move to Monday night, which would end any momentum Reigns has after taking down Brock Lesnar.
Reigns is everything Bryan is not. And while he has the look and the pedigree to be a champion many times over, he is not charismatic enigma fans hope for. You have to look to Seth Rollins or John Cena or Bryan for that kind of engagement. WWE has built Reigns to be this mega force, the man who is Superman and The Hulk wrapped into one character in Kevlar. At first, when Reigns was part of The Shield, it worked. But at the height of popularity, when fans wanted change, something happened.
Daniel Bryan happened.
Chris Featherstone explains it in his story on inquisitr.com.
“While WWE has Reigns compete as a babyface, the fans have heavily jeered him in over the past few years. With excuses such as “he can’t wrestle” or “he’s getting shoved down our throats” being a common theme, former WWE Creative member Bruce Prichard revealed the first moment when Reigns’ ovation started to shift from negative to positive.”
Reigns has been “the guy” the past four WrestleMania events including this year. Not because of his fan support, but rather in spite of it. In Featherstone’s story, Pritchard reveals exactly when the tide turned for the three-time WWE World Champion.
“What hurt Roman Reigns is that everyone wanted something new, they wanted something different. And the guy everyone wanted was Roman Reigns,” said Prichard. “That’s because Daniel Bryan was out [with an injury], so they gave them Roman Reigns. Everyone was ready for him, and we get to the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, set to anoint Roman Reigns, and they bring back Daniel Bryan and the people wanted him! Prior to Daniel Bryan being a part of all of that, they wanted Roman.”
Prichard also strongly advocated that WWE should have held off bringing Bryan, back, because it ultimately hurt Reigns.
It’s the perfect storyline that does what every WWE fans wants – turns Reigns heel and makes Bryan more popular than ever. For the past two years, the notion of Reigns’ stance has been simple. He isn’t a good guy, he isn’t a bad guy. He is “The Guy” in this company. Putting him over as a villain, especially when caught in a program with the reborn Bryan will have the professional wrestling community on its feet in anticipation.
Ultimately, however, it does the same thing WWE did when Bryan returned from injury a few years ago.
My friend and fellow wrestling writer Sarah Hirsch believes The Miz must move to Tuesday nights to continue the brooding feud with Bryan as a matter of common sense. I love the idea as well, having these two rekindle a flickering flame. But the money in Reigns-Bryan is epic.
After WrestleMania 34 and all the dust clears, WWE will have a decision to make. Will the company leave Bryan on SmackDown Live, feuding with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, or will there be major changes to both Monday and Tuesday night rosters? Reigns will forge forward with a program possibly involving Braun Strowman.
I’d like to pull the layers apart on a feud with Bryan, which instantly makes Monday nights “must see” television. It also helps Bryan re-establish himself as a top star in the company. It also finally gives Reigns the chance to do the right thing and be the performer everyone has hoped he would be for some time now.