Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Announced for WWE Crown Jewel PPV

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

Once he's through with The Demon, The Beast Incarnate will be waiting for Roman Reigns.

WWE announced Thursday that Reigns will grapple with Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel on Oct. 21. The match will be for the Universal Championship if Reigns successfully defends the title against Finn Balor at Extreme Rules.

While many expected Reigns and Lesnar to cross paths eventually, the timing of the announcement is somewhat puzzling.

Laying this out now undercuts the Extreme Rules title match and might telegraph the outcome since plenty of fans will expect something this big to have gold on the line.

WWE may have removed one source of drama from its upcoming two-night draft as well. Unless both Reigns and Lesnar move together to Raw, it certainly looks like they'll be sticking around on SmackDown.

Those concerns aside, this promises to be one of the biggest battles of the year.

The general excitement around this feud shows how much context matters.

Three years ago, these two stars met in a WrestleMania main event that fell totally flat. Perhaps showing his disgust from the crowd reaction, Lesnar famously threw the Universal Championship at Vince McMahon as he walked through the curtain.

At the time, Reigns was an unloved top babyface continuing to draw a mixed reaction from fans. On the other side, the WWE Universe was growing tired of seeing the same storylines and matches for Lesnar.

Now, Reigns is the biggest heel in the company and one of the most engaging in-ring performers in the world. Lesnar, meanwhile, is a good guy by extension, the first time he has been in this position since perhaps his WrestleMania 33 match with Goldberg in 2017.

Stuck between them is Paul Heyman, adding another layer of drama. Heyman's loyalty seemingly lies with Reigns, but there's the tiny seed of doubt that could cause the unraveling of The Bloodline.

Reigns has overcome plenty of challengers during his 381-day title reign, a list that includes John Cena at SummerSlam. But Lesnar may be The Big Dog's stiffest test to date.