Everybody pegged Roman Reigns as the guy to come out of The Shield as a megastar. Sure, he wasn’t the most charismatic guy and was definitely the least talented member of the group in the ring, but he fit into one specialized category that Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose do not. Reigns has “the look.”
Reigns’ rise to the top has some similarities to the ascension of Batista in 2005. Both men became popular while in the “muscle” role of a prominent faction and the WWE audience strongly put their support behind both men, leading to very organic babyface turns and more important roles as singles competitors. Reigns is certainly headed in the right direction toward superstardom, but he is lacking one key ingredient that Batista had in his recipe: timing.
The slow burn for Batista’s impending split from Evolution began at the tail end of 2004 and escalated at just the right time when The Animal won the Royal Rumble match and made the decision to challenge Triple H at WrestleMania for the World Title. It was a clear, concise and straightforward path. The bomb that is attached to Reigns’ rise to the top of the mountain better have a lot of rope to burn through; if the end game for the Master of the Superman Punch is to win the Royal Rumble and defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for his first title victory, we still have a long way to go.
The Shield broke up in June. Since then, Roman Reigns has had two shots at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on PPV and came up short in both attempts. We aren’t at Ryback levels of choking yet and thankfully it doesn’t look like it’s going to go that far, but WWE has to be smart between now and January to pull this off without having to rebuild Reigns as a legitimate title contender. The Universe already sees him as being a title threat, but until he is going to enter a match that will end with him holding the belt high in the air, Reigns should be kept at least two car lengths behind the men in the driver’s seat of the WWE title carpool.
SummerSlam can be a push of the soft reset button on the rise of the Roman Empire. Randy Orton is a great rival for Roman to pillage and conquer on his first one-on-one outing into the land of the main event on PPV. Here’s my ideal scenario for the remainder of 2014 if the final goal is to put the WWE World Heavyweight Title in Reigns’ hands at WrestleMania:
Defeat Randy Orton at SummerSlam. Defeat Triple H at Night of Champions. Defeat Triple H again at Hell in a Cell in the PPV’s namesake match. Captain a team against Seth Rollins and be the sole survivor in a 5-on-5 elimination tag at Survivor Series. Run the gauntlet at TLC by defeating Kane in a Chairs match, Orton in a Tables match and Rollins in a Ladder match.
Far-fetched? Possibly, but there’s a long way to go until January.