If WWE wants Roman Reigns to be its next major main event star, it has to be willing to put off his inevitable WWE World Heavyweight Championship until next year’s WrestleMania pay-per-view.
While this may sound like simple and basic booking, it’s easy to foresee a scenario in which WWE panics at its lack of roster depth and puts the belt on Reigns in a desperate bid to rejuvenate the product.
Honestly, WWE isn’t in a great position right now.
Daniel Bryan is facing serious neck and shoulder issues and is out indefinitely. CM Punk stormed out of the company in January and probably isn’t coming back anytime soon.
Brock Lesnar only works part time. Sure, John Cena is still around and is the current champion, but he’s been hampered by muscle injuries and tears over the past couple of years—WWE can’t fully rely on him.
No wonder the company is so keen to push Reigns. The young and healthy Reigns is probably its best bet right now.
But that shouldn’t mean Vince McMahon should rush to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on him.
For one thing, despite his talent, charisma and in-ring skills, he’s not quite ready for a run with the belt.
He’s popular with the crowds but not overwhelmingly so. Compare his recent pops to the ovations Bryan has been receiving over the past year—it’s not that impressive. Truthfully, even former Shield teammate Dean Ambrose seems to be making a better impression on the crowds these days, as I noted recently.
Another issue may be the hasty split of The Shield. The trio truly had something special together—it’s not hyperbole to call it one of the best wrestling stables ever—and Reigns as a solo babyface just doesn’t have the same amount of appeal.
Well, at least not yet. But given more time to develop as a performer, he very well might.
And giving him the belt too early would squander his potential.
We’ve seen what happens when other guys get rushed to the top too quickly—names like Curtis Axel, Ryback and Jack Swagger spring to mind. Does anyone want to see Reigns end up on the long list of disappointments? Of course not.
And saving his first major title win for March 29 in Santa Clara will be a big step in the right direction.
The longer fans have to wait for Reigns’ big title win, the more thrilled they’ll be when it actually does occur.
For evidence, look at Bryan’s victory at this year’s WrestleMania, easily one of the most heartwarming moments in WWE history. Vince McMahon can replicate the same success with Reigns but only if he has a decent amount of patience.