wrestling / Columns

ZeeWI: Roman’s Cowardice May be Part of the Plan

September 14, 2018 | Posted by Dino Zee
roman's Roman Reigns WWE Raw

For a variety of reasons, this columnist doesn’t cover WWE very often. Chief among them is that everybody talks WWE, and I like to give shine to the other companies full of wrestlers dying for your attention. This has led to a nice little corner here at 411 where I’m basically the Impact guy, which is a spot I take some pride in, especially when I think back to when I returned here five years ago, and any time I spoke about what was then TNA, the Defense Team would always cry foul. But we made our amends, they realized I do love the product, and we were all able to come together.

It’s so sweet.

Even when I do cover WWE, it’s usually something involving the women, or a cool act I caught in NXT, but hardly ever the big, top-level news. Again, it’s because you can throw a rock and hit an article regurgitating the same ideas about what WWE needs to do, or is doing right, or what matches should happen, etc. etc.

Sometimes, though… sometimes I get so perplexed by what’s going on, that I take a deep breath and decide that I’m going to cover a big story in WWE! And, wouldn’t you know it, this is one of those times!

It was a little over three weeks ago – the night after SummerSlam – that The Shield sent shockwaves through WWE when they reunited to help Roman Reigns stave off the impending challenge of Braun Strowman, the Monster in the Bank.

The act itself was something I could appreciate in its ode to The Horsemen – they were there to protect The Guy, not unlike The Andersons dismantling Dusty Rhodes to help Ric Flair. Roman had been in a hell of a match against Finn Balor, and Strowman’s entrance nearly cost him the match when he allowed it to be a distraction. Still, Roman would hit the spear and pin Balor, which led to Strowman entering the ring, and attempting to cash in.

The Shield would then pounce, with all three getting in some good shots on Strowman, before hitting their vaunted Triple Powerbomb through the announce table.

While the actions of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose can be understood, it’s the actions of Roman Reigns that don’t sit right with me. Did The Big Dog show his hand? Did he admit that he’s terrified of Braun Strowman, and that he knows he can’t beat him?

Reigns claimed that they acted of their own volition the next week on RAW, but that’s a pretty dubious claim if one gives it any real thought. Strowman had made it clear he’d be cashing in, and Reigns knew it would be coming. Rollins and Ambrose were far too ready to get involved, almost as if they were asked to be ready. Of course, I can’t prove my suspicion, so I won’t outright say he did it, but I definitely have trouble believing he didn’t.

And look, there’s plenty of reason for Reigns to be afraid of Strowman! Braun spent quite a few months in 2017 beating Reigns all over every arena they were in. It even gave rise to his “I’m not finished with you!” promise that the fans seemed to love.

Reigns is many things to many people – a hero, brave, arrogant, forced – but he’s not unintelligent. He absolutely remembers 18 months ago, and remembers how, at seemingly the peak of his powers, he had absolutely nothing to offer Strowman. Nothing. That had to shake the man that had ended the championship reign of Triple H, who defeated John Cena, who would take out The Undertaker, who would finally defeat Brock Lesnar. Even with all these accolades piling on, he had to know that everyone knew that Braun had his number.

As Roman continues to play the proud champion, the facade is obvious. He’s brave because he has protection. He thinks that Braun teamed up with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre because it’s now Braun who is unsure of himself.

In the opinion of this columnist, that’s a silly way to think. Drew and Dolph are equalizers and nothing more. Braun’s already more than proven himself with Roman. That he wasn’t able to stop three men that have held the top prize in WWE at the same time is not an indictment of his ability in any way. Roman’s (desperately) trying to fool himself if he honestly believes he’s in Strowman’s head.

Maybe Roman’s ego has gotten that big, though. Maybe the win over Brock gave him that final push of self-esteem that he needed. He had forever struggled to beat Lesnar, and when it seemed like he had run out of opportunities, he found himself with one more, and at SummerSlam, he made it count. If he could eventually overcome The Beast, why can’t he apply the same path when it comes to The Monster?

That he would accept to meet Strowman in a Hell in a Cell match is very intriguing. Does he think that being locked in the cage will cut down on the sheer carnage that Strowman can bring? Does he have a master plan for Strowman once the door is locked? Or does he think that with nowhere for Strowman to go, he can bring the fight straight to him, and prove himself superior?

As we saw just a few days ago, Roman was able to hold his own in a brawl with Strowman, putting him through the table and stage with a Samoan drop. Strowman was livid, looking to get his hands on Reigns, and it was Reigns who left in one piece.

Is it possible that the entire plan for Strowman was simply to make him as angry as possible? It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it’s the only one that hasn’t been employed against him yet. I mean, the dude is already terrifying in his “normal” state, why would anyone go out of their way to make him even angrier?

Perhaps Reigns figured out that an incensed Monster is one more prone to mistakes, more prone to miscalculations based on bravado, and easier to take advantage of. That doesn’t mean I don’t think the actions the night after SummerSlam were anything but cowardly, but extreme situations call for extreme measures. Roman had to swallow some of his pride to ask for help, but if the long play was to get Strowman so out of sorts that he can take advantage of a one on one situation, then it’s a brilliant play by the Universal Champion.

In just a few days, when the cage door is locked, we’ll find out how well it’s worked out for Reigns. I still believe he’s got something underhanded in store for Strowman. I think Strowman’s too confident to have planned for this. I think he’s going to look to get his hands on Roman, and believes that will be sufficient. I do believe that Strowman is better than Reigns, but I do not believe he’s in the right frame of mind for Hell in a Cell, and for as angry as he’s been these last few weeks, he’s going to be even angrier when he wakes up Monday morning, realizing that he had been played for a fool.

At some point, though, Roman’s going to have to face the top challengers, and he’s going to have to do it without The Shield protecting him. That, or he’s going to have to come clean that for all his tough talk, The Big Dog is all bark, and no real bite.

article topics :

Roman Reigns, WWE, WWE HIAC, Dino Zee