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It's Been a Heel Run for the Ages for Roman Reigns...but the Best Is Yet to Come

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2021

WWE

The best is yet to come for Roman Reigns' title run as the top heel in WWE

For fans, that might seem like a bonkers idea given how good the run has been so far. Reigns came back, and unlike John Cena before him, actually embraced the role of a heel—and was better at it than most fans could have ever predicted. 

Along the way, he's had unforgettable feuds. His chilling treatment of family members in the ring, all for live mics and no fans in the audience to hear, was a stunning start. And he's only grown more into the role from there, adding Paul Heyman to the mix, getting the best of main-roster challengers, part-timers like John Cena and even that famous double-pin of Edge and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 37. 

Historic as this run has felt, it's only really just getting started. Reigns hasn't just exceeded expectations—he's finally the guy WWE so desperately wanted him to be while repeatedly shoving him down the throats of fans as a babyface former Shield member. 

And the fans are loving it. According to Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co, Reigns is the team's top merchandise seller, comparable to peak Cena numbers. 

That's stunning—heels aren't supposed to move merch like that. And frankly, that anyone is flirting with Cena numbers is wild. Any thought WWE will take the top title off Reigns anytime soon is laughable. 

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But that is has become apparent Reigns can't lose doesn't mean it won't be entertaining. This run is really just gearing up with Brock Lesnar finally appearing to rekindle their rivalry, this time with Heyman in the middle for some great storytelling. 

There's no chance WWE will limit this feud to a one-off match in Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel on Thursday. In fact, it's bound to get a rematch at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas at the earliest. What of The Rock? That's surely coming, but it's much, much better suited for WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, of all places. 

Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats) recently noted The Rock won't appear at Survivor Series this year and that 39 in Los Angeles, not 38 next year, is the target. Funnily enough, Reigns himself already hinted at this as long ago as last January: 

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

“We’ll go to Hollywood for [@WrestleMania] 39, and I think it just makes sense.” - @WWERomanReigns on when a match with @TheRock makes sense. Roman’s full interview w/ @ryansatin drops Thursday at 7e/4p across our social platforms. @HeymanHustle https://t.co/EMaKYZxOB8

But don't fret—Reigns holding the title that long and occupying the top spot doesn't have to be a bad thing. 

WWE, after all, just had a draft that was blatantly aimed at refreshing Reigns' list of upcoming challengers. Drew McIntyre, the man who slew Lesnar and was top dog on Raw for so long, is now on the blue brand and has some unfinished business with Reigns. 

That's hardly all, either. Both Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods of New Day could branch off as solo guys. Jeff Hardy is there. Sheamus. Jinder Mahal. Shinsuke Nakamura. It goes on and on—just remember that Reigns made feuds with The Usos, guys previously restricted to the tag team scene, nearly unforgettable, so don't turn the nose up at some of these stories just waiting to be told. 

This isn't to say it won't get exhausting at points with Reigns triumphing over anyone and everyone. How WWE treated Finn Balor and his Demon persona was flat-out embarrassing. But fans are smart enough to direct the distaste at the company making such a silly decision, not Reigns the Superstar himself, nor the prestige of his current title run. 

Remember, behind all this is the specter of at least one more Lesnar match beyond what we already know, plus whatever part-timers and cross-brand challengers want to challenge him, too. Lesnar on his own isn't going to just go away quietly after a loss, and it's hard to imagine he feuds with anyone else. That continually recurring feud will get a jolt from Heyman, arguably the best in history on the mic (imagine if he pulls a betrayal or two while working both sides of a multiyear feud, folks). 

This has said quite a lot about other Superstars and maybe not enough about Reigns. It's a testament to his talent that he's stepped into this role that was almost hyped beyond any realistic measure and excelled in it while crafting a historically great run. 

That it's only really just getting started is just another positive exclamation point for Reigns. He's one of the modern greats and even something of a comeback story after the way WWE pushed him to begin with, only to suffer fan backlash, mix it up and succeed. 

With the continued evolution of his character, Lesnar and Rock looming in the background and a refresh of entertaining feuds to run through, one of the greatest modern runs is about to become a key point in WWE history as it really picks up momentum. 

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