Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2021

Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and More

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Roman Reigns is the trendiest Superstar in WWE and proves as much by dominating this week's backstage buzz.

    The universal champion finds himself at the forefront of two reports: one regarding merchandise sales and the other his year-plus run with the title.

    The top star in the biggest wrestling company in the world is not the only name in this week's collection of rumors, though, as former tag team champions AJ Styles and Omos also popped up for reasons relating to the big man.

    What did industry insiders have to say about The Tribal Chief, The Phenomenal One and his tag team partner?

Roman Reigns' Merchandise Update

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    The top merchandise seller in WWE is also its lead heel, according to a report by Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co.

    "We were told that he is the all-time merchandise seller among top heel wrestlers in the history of the company," Davis reported. "One source told us that his merchandise sales are at the level of John Cena, and it's more impressive because Cena sold a ton of merchandise as a babyface while Reigns is supposed to be a despised heel."

    If accurate, that is a huge deal. Heels have never been huge merchandise movers, while Cena is among the biggest in company history. For Reigns to be on par with the 16-time world champion is indicative of just how strong fans have connected with this version of his character.

    The vile, cerebral, sometimes gaslighting heel has become the brightest spot of WWE television thanks to a layered character, his interactions with cousins The Usos and the chemistry he has with special counsel Paul Heyman.

    That his in-ring work is as good as it has ever been only helps to enhance the reputation and connection with audiences. 

    Given the quality of the overall presentation, this news shouldn't surprise anyone. Given WWE's long track record of marketing and merchandising its heel performers, though, it still does.

Reigns Championship Plans

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    Davis also reported that there are no plans for Reigns to lose the Universal Championship anytime soon, even as a huge pay-per-view match with Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel later in October looms large.

    Again, it's not entirely surprising, if only because WWE recently shuffled around the Raw and SmackDown rosters, bringing new talent to the blue brand for The Tribal Chief to work with. Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Sheamus are all available for him to defend his title against. Why go through the trouble of bringing those competitors to SmackDown if Reigns is going to lose the title to a part-time star?

    Why would Lesnar capture the gold, thus leaving SmackDown without its top title, particularly considering it is the broadcast television show and a visible world championship is likely important to the network?

    Reigns vs. Lesnar is still WWE's big-money match, and robbing fans in the states of said contest feels wrong. With the potential for a rematch at the Royal Rumble in St. Louis or even WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, depending on where things stand with The Rock, the Crown Jewel match feels more like the latest chapter in the story rather than the definitive end.

WWE Nearly Split AJ Styles and Omos

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    WrestleVotes reported WWE officials came close to splitting former Raw tag team champions AJ Styles and Omos during this year's draft. That is, until "people of power (including a main Raw talent) spoke up and expressed thoughts on how Omos isn't quite ready for singles yet. And they actually listened."

    It is clear to anyone who watches Styles and Omos perform each week that the company goes out of its way to protect the big man from overexposure. It knows his weaknesses and masks them, typically using Styles when the situation calls for longer in-ring time.

    Omos has the presence and has shown flashes of a connection with the audience. Now, he just needs experience. The more he works with the likes of Styles and Randy Orton, the better he will become sooner. He is under the learning tree and rather than WWE officials trying to rush the process and put him in a position to fail, it should take its time and let him be the most capable and competent he can be.

    It will benefit both him and WWE in the long run.

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