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RAW Deal: Making sense of Roman Reigns’ suspension

Joe 'the Grappler' Marsalis
RAW Deal: Making sense of Roman Reigns’ suspension
Reigns is out as champion and Ambrose is in. Where does the company go with these ex-Shield members?

In a strange, shocking turn of events, Roman Reigns—WWE World Heavyweight Champion up until Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV, superman of the children, and heir apparent to the mantles of John Cena and Hulk Hogan—was suspended 30 days for violating the WWE Wellness Policy.

It still isn’t clear, and it might never be for the foreseeable future, why Reigns violated the company’s drug policy. All that matters at the moment is that he has done so, one way or another. There might have been malice, there definitely could have been negligence. Arguably the biggest name on the payroll right now has been taken down in one fell swoop, and nobody seems to be reluctant to have done so. Now the WWE has made it clear that, in 2016 at least, no star looks too strong, is too big to be punished. 


Or is that really the case?

The thing about punishments is that they’re supposed to matter, if you intend the punished to learn from his error. Curiously, the WWE did suspend Reigns for 30 days, but proceeded to book him in a triple threat match for Dean Ambrose’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground, the next big event. It’s a huge match, and it’s a bone a lot of people may (understandably) see as a bit of a reward despite royally messing up. It certainly doesn’t help when rumors are flying around, saying that Vince McMahon knew of Reigns’s violation days before the PPV, explaining Seth Rollins’s clean pinfall on him.


Now, because they’ve painted themselves into this corner, it has to be said: this is the best time to turn Roman Reigns.

Do it now, and do it without hesitation. Roman Reigns the human being has officially apologized on Twitter (as he should) but that doesn’t necessarily mean Roman Reigns the WWE wrestler has to be as apologetic onscreen. We need heroes, now more than ever, to counteract the harsh, grim, and depressing shades of gray the world loves to push on us in 2016, but it’s now clear that Reigns is not that hero. At least, not now he isn’t. If it wasn’t made clear already by the hostile reaction to him and the aloof attitude he’s adopted since after WrestleMania, then this lapse in judgment is that nail in the coffin right now. There are always redemption stories available to everyone, but the iron is white-hot for a new Roman Reigns.

It also doesn’t help that Dean Ambrose has organically supplanted the conquering underdog hero—the trope McMahon has long been pushing on Reigns—against all odds. Ambrose is no perfect protagonist either, but his realness, his roughness around the edges make him a better guy to root for. It may seem a little premature, but it’s undeniably his time right now, and they’ve made the right move in trying out this experiment. It is time to make new stars and not wait to do so, and we’re glad we’re finally seeing this in action.

No matter what we try to do, it seems that the traditional hero is dead. But that doesn’t mean we can no longer have someone to believe in; now it’s just a matter of capitalizing on who the people would rather choose to believe.

The King vs. the Demon

If you haven’t been keeping up with NXT, you might have missed a dream match being made a couple of episodes ago. The King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura, officially goes up against the Demon, Finn Balor at a future episode of NXT (around next month).


Needless to say, it’s a match many puroresu fans have been waiting to see ever since Nakamura was signed to NXT, and for good reason. These two are two of the best in the company right now (and Nakamura is arguably the current Best in the World) and NXT was deliberately set up as a platform for spotlights like these. It’s interesting to note that the first match is happening on NXT and not a Takeover, and even more interesting to note that this is getting more focus than the current NXT champion Samoa Joe.

This should lead up to a blockbuster match at Takeover: Brooklyn, one way or the other, or it could serve as Balor’s NXT swan song. Let’s stay tuned in.

The Cruiserweight Classic

WWE’s new tournament, the 32-man Cruiserweight Classic, has officially begun taping last week—and of course, the biggest news locally is that TJ Perkins is officially representing the Philippines. Check out the opening ceremonies right here:


The Cruiserweight Classic begins airing next month on the WWE Network, so if you needed a really good reason to subscribe to the Network, why shouldn’t it be to support our very own?


Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to those questions – especially that last one – are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ and PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person and former voice of PWR Raf Camus! This week, they discuss Money in the Bank and the crazy week in wrestling that was! Listen to it here! –

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