WWE WrestleMania Hot Take: Don't Be Shocked When Brock Lesnar Beats Roman Reigns

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2022

Brock Lesnar holds up the championship belt after winning the 2022 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Elimination Chamber at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on February 19, 2022. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP) (Photo by AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)
AMER HILABI/Getty Images

Going into WrestleMania 38, the most painfully obvious result on the card is the overarching main event of both nights when Roman Reigns takes on Brock Lesnar

Reigns is undoubtedly beating Lesnar. He's had one of the most dominant title runs fans have ever seen, and it's about as telegraphed as it gets that WWE would love nothing more than for its handpicked top dog to keep this thing going until WrestleMania 39, where he can encounter The Rock out in California. 

That means Reigns is going to lose on Sunday night. 

If there's one thing WWE loves, it's a good swerve. WWE is also a moment factory right now. Will the brass really be able to resist the stunned reaction shots of fans in the crowd, Undertaker-losing-The-Streak style? 

Think about it past the surface level. This is a title unification match with an obvious result at the end of a WrestleMania. The entire men's main-event scene and major annual landmarks like Royal Rumble were absolutely derailed just to set this up. And it's just going to be the expected winner standing tall at the end of the night? 

Also, consider this: If there's one guy to pull some Mania shenanigans with, it's Lesnar. 

Lesnar is, after all, the guy handpicked to beat Taker's streak. He'll also be 45 in July, so it's time to start wondering how many Mania main-event moments he has left in the tank. And that mentioned derailment of the main-event scene leaves Reigns without any real competition for his unified title. 

If there's one thing WWE loves more than swerves or a good moment it's keeping these two in the spotlight. Lesnar pulling a shocker of a win accomplishes just that. If he loses, he can just disappear back to his part-timer role until the next SummerSlam. 

But if he wins? The feud extends well into the summer. If the goal is to get Reigns on a Mania card against The Rock, there's a whole year of shows and pay-per-views to book still. Extending the Reigns-Lesnar saga in some fashion at least provides an entertaining slugfest, and the Paul Heyman factor causes chaos. 

There's also Lesnar's character to consider. This is the most entertaining he's been in a long, long time, and fans have fully embraced it. Why spoil that now by letting him lose and disappear? Maybe—and it's a big maybea Reigns loss lets them slowly transition him back to that underdog babyface they shoved down fans' throats for years, but without the backlash and endless groans.

Let's not clutch pearls about what a loss would do to Reigns over the long term, either. WWE has diminished title values across the board for a long time. Any non-main-event titles have been props and most main-event titles have been passed around like hot potatoes for years. It's not going to hurt Reigns to take a loss against arguably greatest of all time, and WWE's impressive ability at revisionist history will gloss over it, anyway. 

A butterfly effect of a Lesnar win would at least make the next year before Reigns-Rock incredibly interesting. It could actually do more good than harm for Reigns, too. If he's beating Lesnar and proceeding to trounce the men's division on either brand for another year, it might sour an eventual Rock match. 

If he's coming out of Mania a loser and going into uber-aggressive mode while on the hunt for a rematch, it might light a new fire under him, the angle and fan support for his push. 

None of this is to say predictable is bad. WWE's good at predictable, too. Reigns winning and continuing to march on this historic pace for another year wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But it's an unfortunate reality that fans are tuned-in, smart and can see the direction plain as day. Tying up a company's unified title for another year while the only legit competition bows off the stage for six months would be a brutal way to usher in the new "season" of WWE on the Raw after Mania and beyond.  

Zooming out and looking at how WWE would like to plan for the next year or more, though, it starts to make more and more sense that there's a big twist to what feels like the most predictable main event in modern Mania history. 

That twist, Lesnar actually beating Reigns at this point in the WWE timeline, would likely help everyone—fans included—walk away from the event big winners with the next year an entertaining, must-see spectacle.