WrestleMania 37 is a precarious spot for WWE when it comes to Roman Reigns' current run as the top dog.
Played well, Reigns will keep looking like a monstrous final boss-type who can carry the company into the future, particularly WrestleMania 38, where things will hopefully be back to normal from a fan-attendance standpoint.
Played badly, WWE will deflate like a balloon.
It's almost impossible to mess up Reigns' current run though, right?
Maybe not. According to Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Cageside Seats' Randall Ortman), WWE doesn't know who will emerge the winner of the expected 'Mania clash between Reigns and the challenger, Edge.
But the answer should be obvious—Reigns wins 10 times out of 10. A hundred times out of a hundred. The examples are endless, and Edge shouldn't squeak out even one.
That might seem harsh. Edge's run two Royal Rumbles ago was beyond epic. He put on some great programs with Randy Orton before suffering an injury that sidelined him until this year's road to 'Mania. His big rumble win from the No. 1 was so-so, but cool enough if he went on to challenge Drew McIntyre. That he'll hang around as a full-time Superstar instead of a part-timer sweetens things.
But this is more about Reigns the character and company-leading star than it is is about Edge. And for those concerned about Edge, he can eat a loss at 'Mania and be just fine. He's Edge.
Reigns can't take a loss and lose a belt. WWE spent years cramming him down the fans' collective throat, only for the fans to fight back or lose interest. He was the top guy, but a boring John Cena-type who turned away hardcore fans.
That all changed when WWE finally listened to the fans and let Reigns turn heel. Right on cue, he started putting in the best work of his career while somehow managing to exceed expectations in the role. He even wowed by using the fan-less arenas to his advantage, saying and doing some downright chilling things to family members in the ring that wouldn't normally be picked up by the ring mics over fan noise.
In a word, Reigns losing to Edge would be a disaster. That would suddenly put him in chase mode instead of the top-dog role. And with chase mode, there's a chance he becomes the whiny, cheating heel, not the juggernaut he is right now.
It's all about the long term when looking at this situation. Reigns seems destined to run roughshod on the roster for the better part of a year until fans get back in the stands and the huge names start returning. His run feels earmarked for a fateful encounter with a returning Brock Lesnar or even better, a shocking family-ties return of The Rock.
Should Reigns drop a title and match to Edge at 'Mania, that long-term outlook is suddenly dashed. Edge is fun and deserves to be in the mix, but if Lesnar or Rock returned, they not only project to snap him in half in the ring but tower over him in terms of fan attention and rating.
There's too much at stake for Reigns to suddenly drop a title this early in his reign. The dramatic, first-ever character change means old feuds are refreshing again, so it's not like WWE runs the risk of fans getting tired of him and turning on him, spoiling any chance of a Brock or Rock match at a massive future 'Mania in a much bigger city with fans back in attendance.
Simply put, even a finish that features interference and results in Edge winning creates problems, because Reigns will be back in chase mode. It will be all the sweeter if he looks downright unstoppable for another year, building up this reign, before a titanic clash with a returning star.
And it's not like WWE can't handle this type of long-term outlook—McIntyre just had a long, long run as the top guy and made the most of it. One could argue Reigns is even better right now.
If nothing else, it's nice a little air of uncertainty hangs over the potential 'Mania matchup. But when it comes time to make the big decision, only one of them has a guaranteed long-term success rate that puts a top star in a position to keep succeeding and being the best draw in the company.