Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns at WWE WrestleMania 34 would be a repeat of history, revisiting all the warts and beauty of their first meeting.
Even before Reigns takes on The Undertaker and Lesnar battles Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, the wheels may be in motion for a 2018 showdown.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), WWE is planning to have Lesnar and Reigns clash for the Universal Championship at next year's WrestleMania in New Orleans.
Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross foresaw that scenario on his blog. "What would you think about Brock Lesnar defending the Universal Title against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania in NOLA in 2018? That seems to be the direction," he wrote.
If things do unfold that way, WWE will have one hell of a match on its hands.
Lesnar and Reigns following up on their WrestleMania 31 clash would be colossal, adding a chapter to an epic that began two years ago. It would also, though, welcome back all the issues with that initial bout, namely some fans' distaste for where Reigns and Lesnar sit on the company hierarchy.
Pro: Narrative Continuity
There's something especially satisfying about WWE dipping back into the past to revisit unresolved stories.
Lesnar and Reigns collided at WrestleMania 31 in a hard-hitting, bloody affair. The Big Dog was out to prove that he belonged on an elite level, and that he could knock off a predator of Lesnar's caliber. His attempt to conquer The Beast Incarnate halted abruptly, though.
Seth Rollins interfered, cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Reigns to steal the title.
Reigns' focus shifted away from Lesnar afterward. The two have crossed paths briefly since, but WWE has yet to truly dive into their history.
A rematch at WrestleMania 34 would be a chance to close the door on that tale, and to have Reigns find out if he could indeed fell Paul Heyman's monster. That foundation would solidify this bout, making it an even bigger battle the second time around.
Con: A Part-Timer On Top
Lesnar again headlining WrestleMania means there would be one less spot on that coveted stage for the company's workhorses.
AJ Styles carried the SmackDown brand last fall as he put together one of the best years in WWE history. He found himself pushed out of WrestleMania's main event, however, when Goldberg came to town.
In less than three weeks... #TheBeast vs. @Goldberg at "THE ULTIMATE THRILL RIDE" #WrestleMania! @BrockLesnar #RAW https://t.co/ce3kkhzBmq2017-3-14 02:19:17
Rollins, Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman could all bolster their careers with a headline bout at The Show of Shows. If WWE is already set on awarding Lesnar that opportunity, it won't matter how popular those men get, how hard they work or what kind of masterpieces they compose in the coming months.
WWE will still be relying on Lesnar, banking on the established star over attempting to elevate a new one. That's been the WrestleMania recipe for years now as The Rock, Triple H and Goldberg have all roosted atop the PPV's card.
Reigns seems to be the only exception to WWE's preference to push wrestlers over 40 rather than the roster's young studs when it comes to WrestleMania's highest tier.
Pro: A Great Match Awaits
Once the bell rings, Reigns and Lesnar would deliver a slobberknocker for the ages.
It doesn't take any clairvoyance to see that coming. Their first title bout was a thriller that outdid expectations by miles. The two powerhouses slugging it out compelled fans as sweat and blood flew.
As part of a CBS Sports roundtable for WrestleMania 31, Call It In The Ring co-host Ivan Irizarry said: "The match of the night has to be the main event. The Lesnar/Reigns portion of the match was beautifully brutal."
Lesnar vs. Reigns II would be even better.
In the years since their first encounter, The Big Dog has significantly improved as an in-ring performer. Ahead of WrestleMania 31, concerns swirled about his ability to hold up in such a high-profile contest. His resume was lacking, as was his experience.
Since then, Reigns has excelled against Big Show at Extreme Rules 2015, flourished opposite Cesaro on Raw and put on a match-of-the-year candidate against Styles in 2016.
A more seasoned Reigns would be tangling with Lesnar this time, assuring WWE of a WrestleMania match to remember.
Con: Stubbornness About Reigns
Despite the loud backlash Reigns receives, WWE continues to put him in the title picture and keeps pushing him as a babyface—trying to make him the next John Cena.
WWE head Vince McMahon is refusing to adapt. He wants to tell the story of Reigns the conquering hero, and he'll be damned if a reluctant, resistant crowd change his mind. It's not surprising then to hear of the company's plans for next year's The Showcase of the Immortals.
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful offered a tongue-in-cheek response to the idea:
Sean Ross Sapp @SeanRossSapp
So Lesnar, with a title through the last year of his deal against a babyface Reigns at Mania 34. No way that can go awry2017-3-16 04:42:18
If Reigns storms into New Orleans next year as a savage, merciless heel, that would be one thing. If he does so as the knight poised to slay the dragon, he will be met with echoing boos. A number of fans will be turned off by the idea of Reigns in the spotlight and exasperated with him being there as a face.
The audience response won't match the tale WWE is trying to tell, which has been the story of Reigns' career thus far.