All it took was two consecutive nights of coherent booking. We were all ready to stuff the McMahon family's stockings with Ebola rats. The McMahons were ready to give us a sandpaper, Roman Reigns enema. Somehow, we all met in the middle.
How did this happen?
It was the women and children, the respective fairies of WWE, whose perpetual shrill kept Reigns just relevant enough. It was the smarks who refused to relent their visceral disagreement with Reigns' timing. It was Vince McMahon who picked his guy long ago, and on a seemingly cellular level, knew that we would one day agree. It was every guy that ate a pin from Reigns. And, perhaps most of all, it was Reigns.
|We've all earned the right to feel good about this.|
The parallels drawn to John Cena are valid. So is the resistance to such a reincarnation. As successful as Cena had become, it just felt lazy to introduce a Samoan version of that hero.
Now, to avoid any confusion, Reigns' formula has been and will continue to be like Cena's. It's such a proven recipe that it could only be minimally tarnished by argument. It goes further than Hulk Hogan. It goes further than Bruno Sammartino. Its roots are deeper than Hollywood. This recipe—the one that has worked for the best of WWE champions—is based on the earliest mythology; the inception of storytelling. You pick your hero, bad things happen to him, and, in the end, he wins. This is the basis for any protagonist, especially if he works for Vince McMahon.
Reigns went through plenty of bad things and only about half of them were in kayfabe. At this point, everyone has cited how poorly the 2015 Royal Rumble was received. It was brutal, so much so, that even The Rock broke character.
|Lipstick Roman and Dwayne "Are They Booing Me???" Johnson|
But fate intervened.
When Sheamus ripped the title from Reigns at that same event a real storyline was born. The chorus of boos that followed Reigns began to fade. In a victory for WWE, he was being treated with more apathy than disdain. It only took one more pay-per-view to get 85% of the crowd behind him. Monday could not have come soon enough. Excessive slapping from Stephanie McMahon, genital mutilation from Vince himself, a little interference by the League of Nations and the fight is officially over. The WWE Universe was in sync for the first time since WrestleMania 30. When that happens, moments are made.
Sure, Reigns feels contrived, but that's kind of the point. Every awesome moment was preconceived. It would be great to still be a kid and think that these are actual contests where the better man prevails. Without an exorbitant amount of drugs, we'll never get back there.
If one thing is certain, it's that Vince McMahon is a kamikaze genius. Anyone armed with a keyboard was ready to initiate Code Old Yeller. As poorly as Reigns was being received, yet still being jammed up our asses, the frustration was understandable. One thing we can never question is the commitment of Vince McMahon. He was so sure about Reigns that he put him over himself. With one Superman Punch, Reigns was shot into stardom.
|Recognize those legs? You should. They're ours.|