The choice to have Roman Reigns emerge from Money in the Bank with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in his grasp requires both faith and nerve.
Reigns is among the seven men who will be vying for that vacant title on June 29. Selecting him as WWE's next kingpin would be a signal of a new generation's arrival, but it potentially be a rush job, hurrying the narrative of his rise.
As with every booking decision WWE officials make, there are pros and cons to weigh here.
Does one anoint a prince who projects to be a great king or wait until one knows for certain if he can bear the weight of the crown? That's the question WWE must answer for itself as it decides whether to roll with Reigns or play it safe with John Cena or Randy Orton as the winner at the upcoming pay-per-view.
WWE has to question whether it's too early to place the crown atop Reigns' head.
The powerhouse hasn't even been on the main roster for two full years. He has looked fantastic in short bursts, but with the lights shining brighter on him, will it expose his flaws?
This is what happened to Jack Swagger, The Miz and Sheamus. WWE had them rise too quickly. All of them flopped with the weight of a world title around their waist. When The Celtic Warrior shocked Cena at TLC 2009, the win felt surreal.
A man fans barely knew was now beating his chest while at the top of the company.
Reigns is more established than Sheamus was back then, but he has yet to prove that he can produce top-tier matches by himself. His career highlights have come as a third of The Shield, at Survivor Series and in the Royal Rumble, all situations where he shared the stage with a number of other wrestlers.
His singles matches have either been brief (e.g., against Mark Henry on Feb. 17) and/or interrupted, which was the case when he took on Bad News Barrett on the June 13 SmackDown.
He hasn't been asked to be in the kind of lengthy one-on-one clashes that being the WWE world champ requires.
There is similar concern about his mic work. He's made great strides as a talker in recent months, going from a one-dimensional growling beast to a more versatile performer. WWE has allowed him to split mic time with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins up to this point.
This means he's never had to stand alone and be a storyteller on his own.
After Rollins betrayed The Shield, the remaining members took to the mic. Ambrose did the majority of the talking. When it was Reigns' turn, he showcased his intensity along with a tinge of humor.
This was his best promo to date, but it's proof that he's still a work in progress as a talker.
Given a longer stretch of time, one wonders if he can maintain that same taut energy and if he can keep a crowd engaged throughout. Even with just one partner to share the mic duties with, WWE chose to have him get the smaller slice of airtime.
Making Reigns champ requires faith in his upside—a belief that he will take the next few necessary steps to become worthy of that spot.
There is a scorching energy accompanying Reigns right now. Cena, Orton and Sheamus are all safer options as the next WWE champ, but their wins wouldn't generate the kind of excitement that Reigns' would.
A part of that is simply the power of change.
Reigns is a new face in the WWE title picture, a new hope and potentially a new megastar. And as Jim Ross tweeted, fans love "new."
It's more than that in this case, though. Xavier Woods is a fresh face as well, but fans aren't pining to see him wear gold. Reigns' offense, from his Superman punch to his dropkick on the apron, is thrilling. Add to that his infectious passion, exemplified by his beastly roar, and it's easy to see why fans are excited about him.
Giving Reigns the win at Money in the Bank taps into that excitement.
The iron is hot. Patience is wise here, but the bold move of enthroning Reigns is appealing, a means to make the most of his momentum and popularity. His game still needs refinement, but there is clearly a desire to see him succeed.
Listen to the crowd respond to him being among the final two in the Battle Royal on Monday's Raw.
If that's the pop he gets for getting close to entering the WWE title Ladder match, the one for him winning is sure to be the arena-shaking kind.
Crowning Reigns also helps WWE build a new star. The WWE title would put him in the center of the company's focus, test the extent to which fans will back him and see if he can thrive with added pressure. Should he succeed and the fans only get louder for him, WWE will have an added option to place in future main events.
Too often, WWE has to plug Cena into the top spot.
The company needs more headliners, and taking risks with emerging stars helps to solve that problem. Reigns flourishing as champ makes it easier to book future WrestleManias, helps officials to vary things at the top of the card and better secures WWE's future.
As a bonus, the collision with Triple H that Reigns appears to have coming can be made even more compelling with the WWE title on the line. The COO could look to keep the title for himself, refusing to let another insurgent wear it.
Triple H would then serve as the hurdle Reigns jumps on his way to the top tier.
Should WWE get gun-shy with Reigns, it has both Cesaro and Bray Wyatt as alternative emerging stars. Safe, established options abound as well if WWE decides to go that route in adding the newest name to the list of men who have won its top prize.
That name can either be a familiar one or one like Reigns' that will be etched onto a world title name plate for the first time.
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