Roman Reigns and Booking an Unbeatable 'God Mode' Type WrestlerApril 25, 2022
WWE may be on the cusp of diminishing returns with Roman Reigns' current run atop the roster.
And at some point, flirting with that leads to an outright point of no return.
The handling of Reigns and the projectable path his run will continue to take creates an interesting question: When is an unbeatable "god mode" type wrestler too much?
Because at this point, The Tribal Chief has held the Universal Championship for 650-plus days and counting. That doesn't figure to end anytime soon, either—anyone who has familiarity with WWE understands those in power would love to see him hold it all the way until WrestleMania 39, where he could have a showdown with The Rock in Los Angeles.
To add some spice to this point, according to Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co, the company has no plans to make him drop the belt before next year's Show of Shows and such a run would let it promote him as one of the greatest ever.
Now, as an aside, Reigns probably will go down as one of the greatest of his era, if not ever. But it's a hard idea to get excited about in the moment because of what such a run does to the product, other Superstars and the titleholder himself.
One can already see Reigns' current heel run start to lose some of its luster. Fans who had begged for a heel turn John Cena never got were proved right, as he's been better than ever in that role. But the risk with finally doing it was WWE going overboard, finally getting universal fan approval and running with it.
Now, though? The character is kind of tired.
And the cost to other Superstars and programming has been immense. WWE used the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and both men's top titles to build Reigns' match at WrestleMania 38 with Brock Lesnar. Had that match not been a boring been-here-before flop, the outlook might be a bit rosier.
But now Reigns has both titles and after putting down The Beast Incarnate, nobody on either roster is really a believable threat. At best over the course of the next year, only some unexpected shenanigans will likely rip a title off The Tribal Chief, but never both.
That can be discouraging for fans because it's predictable and also because it means other main event talents just aren't getting a realistic shot at the top.
What makes this particular situation all the stranger is that WWE isn't really one for long-form storytelling, anyway. The booking has always had a rushed-together feel (for the most part), prioritizing moments over most anything else.
Even "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's return at this year's Showcase of the Immortals after nearly two decades away from the ring was at the last second, a feud crafted on the back of Kevin Owens talking trash about the state of Texas.
That an entire men's main event scene across both Raw and SmackDown has now been gently shoved aside with the aim of assisting Reigns in going down as one of the best ever is a little ham-fisted. It runs the risk of generating the two deadliest reactions of all for a wrestling promotion: go-away heat or straight-up indifference.
Should things continue in this manner, next year's 'Mania main event would have a predictable end, of course. Reigns isn't carrying the belt(s) all the way there to lose. And when he does win, it's a similar problem: If The Rock or whoever he bests can't do it, how can anyone beat him?
This might seem like pearl-clutching from a crowd that doesn't enjoy Reigns. But in reality, it's fair to recognize his current run as one of the best in modern history. It has been an outright blast, but it's also in a precarious position.
Longtime wrestling fans don't need to be told how risky it is to build up an unstoppable force. Remember Goldberg and the taser in the 1990s? The only recent time this sort of build really worked was over in All Elite Wrestling when Kenny Omega rampaged as the final boss, but fans knew it was to eventually put over the homegrown, company-headlining talent of "Hangman" Adam Page.
So far, there hasn't even been a hint of a suggestion WWE has a similar trajectory in mind for this Reigns run. That can change (and maybe will) at a moment's notice. There would be no better way to give a new headliner a career-changing win than to take down this version of Reigns.
But it would be a shame if along the way, WWE spoiled all the goodwill it and Reigns earned with the heel turn and amazing run. It's flirting with that already, and we're roughly a year away from another likely WrestleMania win for The Tribal Chief before even beginning to talk about who might actually take him down and take over. A year away from maybe both men's main event scenes getting back to normal.
The risk is high, and it's all for the sake of the company trying to cement Reigns as one of the best ever. When, in reality, the majority of fans would already recognize him as such anyway—they'd just rather be entertained instead of slogging through another year of the predictable.