There’s only one way Roman Reigns’ run as the top bad guy on the WWE roster can end.
With Seth Rollins, of course.
Reigns is just getting started as the mega-heel face of WWE, a move that fans long desired. It seemed like WWE would never pull the trigger, just like with John Cena. But he’s here, he’s managed by Paul Heyman and he’s already reclaimed a top title in the promotion.
There are endless possibilities for Reigns from here. Now that he’s refreshingly a heel, all of his old feuds with guys like Braun Strowman have some new juice to them. And this new approach for Reigns could mean he’s an asset WWE could excellently use to build up a new wave of headlining stars to complement Drew McIntyre. Think someone like Big E or an NXT call-up.
But WWE is a much better place when Seth Rollins is red-hot and at the top of the card too. And fans know all too well the journey he’s taken over the past year and change.
Which isn’t to say Rollins has been doing bad work while playing a part in elevating Dominik Mysterio to unexpected heights. He’s had a fun heel run, is still one of the best in the business in the ring and can outright steal shows while not needing to fight for a company’s top title.
It’s how Rollins got to this point that is problematic. WWE took one of the hottest Superstars in recent memory and ruined his standing among fans. He grabbed a title win on a low blow, had a weird couples feud and seemingly endless fights with Baron Corbin before a disaster of a rivalry with Bray Wyatt and his Fiend persona.
So much so that WWE had to get the belt off him and make him heel in an attempt to salvage his standing with fans. It didn’t have to be that way and was easy to see coming, yet the promotion kept tripping over itself with him anyway.
But here’s what else is easy to see coming: Reigns holds the keys to Rollins getting back to his good-guy ways and winning over fans in the process.
Fans have seen Reigns vs. Rollins plenty of times. But not once has it touched on this dynamic. Reigns is the unforgiving bully now. He’s got some extra motivation if Rollins shows his face because, once upon a time, The Architect blew up The Shield to align himself with suits like Triple H.
Granted, the man formerly known as Dean Ambrose isn’t around anymore. But maybe that’s a good thing so that the waters don’t get muddy—only bloody.
An unforgiving Reigns gunning for Rollins, who suddenly gets back to being a sympathetic good guy, can only be great for both. And for Rollins especially, getting back to the chase—where he’s always been best—will have fans back to adoring him, burnin’ it down and anticipating what sweet attire he debuts at a big event.
The story writes itself given The Shield’s history. Let Reigns run wild a bit, decimating the SmackDown roster and maybe dabbling with some Raw opponents too. If McIntyre is busy off in his own feuds and there’s no hint of Brock Lesnar, then Rollins naturally might feel like he’s the only guy who can put an end to his former stablemate’s reign of terror.
That sort of feud has WrestleMania written all over it. Reigns could always get thrown into a feud with some part-timer, and Rollins could always keep looking like a show-stealing extraordinaire lower on the card.
But this feud has that blend WWE so rarely manages to capture. It loops in the hardcore fans who crave long-term booking. Just as importantly, it’s high-profile enough that those in charge won’t feel like they need a part-timer at the top of the card.
Talk about a potentially defining feud for a new era. These are the sort of ideas and lay-up-esque rewards WWE can reap for finally being bold enough to do something like turn Reigns heel. It can keep coming back for more in the short term, and at the same time, it encourages new fans to start watching—and hanging around.
There’s a meta conversation to be had here about the fact that both Rollins and Reigns needed to be heel for fans to embrace them and for WWE to put out some fires. But good news: McIntyre looks like a legit top guy who has the blend of badass and bad guy fans will stay behind for a long time. And Reigns is the perfect endgame opponent for a good guy like Rollins, guaranteeing both get the desired reactions at all times.
It’s almost poetic. A fan from five years ago getting told all of this would have a hard time believing it. But another dance between Reigns and Rollins, this time with the roles emphatically reversed, is the best possible thing WWE could trot out to headline shows like ‘Mania.