Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Roman's Suspension and the Shield Triple Threat

The big news today was that Roman Reigns -- the WWE's golden child/pet project/face of the company -- was suspended for his first wellness violation.  While this makes SOME sense out of his clean loss at Money in the Bank and the switcheroo to the pepetually overlooked Dean Ambrose, it did seem at odds with the fact that they booked a three way match at Battleground (just three or so days after Reigns' suspension ends) knowing full well that he had failed a wellness test.

Personally, I thought the booking at Money in the Bank was perfect.  I thought the clean win helped Rollins far more than it hurt Reigns (and it added a new dimension to both of their characters, which is desperately needed in Reigns' case), and putting the title on Ambrose was (a) something the fans wanted, (b) something Ambrose needed, and (c) a great comeuppance to Rollins' role in the Shield breakup.  I was on Cloud Nine after Money in the Bank.

I was overall disappointed with the booking of Raw, though.  Rollins and Reigns seemed poised for a double turn based on their in-ring behavior at Money in the Bank.  In the opening promo of Raw, Reigns was back to his pseudo tough good guy, and Rollins was back to his conniving, complaining heel ways.  And then the pathway to get to the triple threat -- opening promo with both guys complaining about being #1 contender, authority figure coming out and making a match between the two, match ending in no contest leading to a triple threat -- was about as lazy and by the books as it gets.  We've ALL been waiting for the Shield triple threat....and they're doing it at a good time (with all three being a World Champion).  But it all felt very rushed and unnecessary.  Do a month of Rollins vs. Dean (if Rollins is staying heel) or Dean vs. Reigns (if Reigns is going heel) before inevitably going to the Shield triple threat (at a perceived bigger event, like SummerSlam).

With what we know now, I REALLY wish they didn't go the triple threat route.  Why?  You can only do a big match for the first time once, and that moment really shouldn't be wasted.  As we've seen countless times, it is incredibly difficult to effectively build up a match with one of the competitors not appearing on TV.  Remember how big of a match Brock vs. Goldberg was supposed to be?  And that basically ended up being Brock vs. Austin because they needed to save Goldberg's appearances?  Or how Brock vs. Undertaker was basically single handedly built by Paul Heyman, a non-wrestler?  If Reigns' suspension ends July 21, it means he won't appear on a single Raw or Smackdown before Battleground.  That means he won't play ANY physical or verbal role in the build of the Shield three way.  This huge match that we've been waiting to see for years -- FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP -- will not even have a full, proper story behind it.  How sad is that?

Knowing then what we know now, wouldn't this have been a better route?  Ambrose comes out to open the show and after some celebrating, says he needs to talk to Reigns to make sure there are no hard feelings.  He calls out Reigns and waits, but Reigns doesn't come out.  This gets the announcers talking -- is Reigns happy for Ambrose or not?  They can even mention the fact that Ambrose congratulated Reigns after defeating him for the title at Survivor Series and continued to support him after the three way at Fastlane.  Considering Reigns' general heelish behavior during the match with Rollins, this will get the fans wondering if Reigns is going to turn on Ambrose.  While the announcers are discussing all of this and Ambrose waits, Rollins' music plays and he comes out.  He can complain about how Ambrose stole the title from him and blindsided him, and Ambrose will bring up the obvious hypocrisy (Rollins won his title by cashing in as well, and he blinded the Shield when he turned on them).  To build Ambrose as a fighting champion, Ambrose offers him a rematch at Battleground.  Throughout the month, Ambrose and Rollins (who have always had great chemistry) can build a fun story that doesn't involve green slime (and they can decide what route they want to go with Rollins, as far as face/heel alliance goes), all the meanwhile the commentators, other wrestlers, and fans can have a conspiracy theory over where Reigns stands.  Why hasn't he appeared?  Does he support Ambrose?  Is he bitter?  And then the Raw before Battleground, have the announcers tell the audience that Reigns just tweeted that he's going to be at Battleground and he'll show where he stands.  Then at the event, have Reigns appear at the end and either turn on Ambrose or support him, depending on what they want to do with his character.  But I do actually believe that this will create more interest in his character, it will give the audience the space they need from him, and he'll actually get a mostly positive reaction upon his return because people will actually be interested in where he stands.

That's what I would have done, anyway.  The Shield match can wait until it can be done right as HOPEFULLY all of their equity is only going up, so it will always be a big deal.  if they're not all going on the same brand, wait a year until they are (or until you have an excuse to do an interpromotional match).

What do you think?

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