FanPost

By Virtue of Determination, Roman Reigns Wins Over Some People's Respect at WrestleMania 31

WWE.com

Over the past couple of months, fans have vehemently expressed their critical sentiments on WrestleMania 31.

Most of the negativity lingered around Roman Reigns, someone who fans believed was too inexperienced on the microphone, too impotent to portray an intriguing persona, and far too incapable of telling a compelling story in the ring. Some fans went overboard, but the majority of them were spot-on with their assessment on him.

Indeed, he did not deserve the spot. But, worse of all, he took the spot away from the wrestlers who truly deserved it.

However, Reigns proved all the naysayers wrong, showing everyone that he was more than capable of main eventing WrestleMania.

If someone said he overachieved in the match, they would virtually be lying, because there is not a word that describes the magnitude of how much he overachieved. This was far from the through the motions, hesitant bump taking, impassionate persona, twinkle-toeing Roman Reigns we have come to expect.

This new-and-improved Reigns was motivated, determined and focused.

Not only did he and Lesnar steal the show - they put on one of the most marvelous matches in WrestleMania history. No one could have scripted it better; it was everything it needed to be and more.

Both brutes threw everything they had at each other and then took everything thrown in their way. By virtue of diligence and virtuoso, an ingeniously thought out conflict, and both an exquisitely structured and narrated story – these two gladiators revolutionized a big man’s match and took the "immovable object battling the unstoppable force" story to a completely new level. It was also an even-steven, sea-saw battle that had no foreseeable winner, an uncommon characteristic of a WrestleMania main event match rarely possesses.

Initially, Lesnar brought the pain to Reigns. He threw the 280-pounder around as if he was ragdoll (as Reigns sprang and bumped around the ring like someone half his size). Through facial expressions and body language, Reigns flawlessly sold the beating, and he actually found some humor in how much Lesnar was destroying him (which was an engrossing character-arc). Lesnar – even though he was having the time of his life destroying his opponent – took some stiff shots too. In fact, some of Reign’s shots were so stiff that they busted Lesnar open the hard way.

However, after Lesnar refused to pin Reigns a few times, it was evident that he had a larger objective than just winning. He wanted to teach Reigns a valuable lesson - for thinking he had a chance of winning.

He also wanted to prove to him that he was not even on his level and therefore had no business being in the main event. It became metaphoric in a sense that Lesnar was personifying the inhumane Reigns’ critiics who wanted him to fail, just so they could be right.

And, like what Reigns did with the derogatory criticisms, he kept withstanding Lesnar’s hurtful offense and got a laugh out of it.

Suddenly, the dynamics of the match were changing. The attention was no longer on the beating Lesnar was giving Reigns. It was instead on Reigns’ perseverance and resiliency. No matter how rough it got, he was not going to allow any obstacles to detriment his long-term dream of becoming the WWE champion.

Then, the once corny and hokey, but now audacious and sympathetic, protagonist started fighting back. Superman after Superman punch. Not one but two Spears. It seemed to be over, as the comeback kid, with the heart of a champion, conquered the unconquerable beast.

Surprisingly, not many people in the crowd seemed to care. They were in fact counting the count while Heyman looked on in utter disbelief (signifying that someone finally slayed his beast). ONE-TWO-THR—NO! Lesnar, the unconquerable one, proved he would not die either (as there was an actual groan of disappointment because Reigns did not win).

Reigns cocks up his hand for another vicious Superman Punch, but Lesnar catches him in a F5. Heyman throws his hands up in relief, thinking Lesnar found a way to overcome this much harder than anticipated battle. Lesnar, though, is too hurt to make the cover.

And wait, what?

Seth Rollins is going to cash-in before the match ends? In a similar rerun of Night of Champions, Rollins delivers a Curb Stomp onto Lesnar; however, he realizes one is not enough to slay the beast, so he goes for another one. Lesnar catches Rollins, though (deja vu of the Royal Rumble finish), but Reigns spears Lesnar and then Rollins hits Reigns with a Curb Stomp to conclude what was an immaculate match.

Before the match, the only true proper decision was Lesnar winning. After all, Reigns winning seemed to be waste of an excellent opportunity for someone more deserving – as defeating the untouchable, "one-in-twenty-one-and-one" Beast Incarnate could easily hoist a rocket on someone’s back and help them become a megastar. And, Seth Rollins cashing-in seemed it would have been an anti-climactic way to end Lesnar’s dominance and would have not made a larger-than-life protagonist out of it as well.

However, WWE booked their plan flawlessly, and the performers executed it perfectly.

The booking protected Brock Lesnar and still made him look incredibly strong (which also means no one officially slayed the beast). It also found a way to get the WWE title back on television without hurting Lesnar’s credibility. It furthermore made Seth Rollins look like an even more pusillanimous, opportunistic and slimy antagonist; and, it made Roman Reigns into a rather sympathetic babyface. Overall, everyone looked much better after than they did before, due to the artistic booking.

Truthfully, the match was very analogous to the historic Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi matches in the 1990s. The ultra-strong-style, the almost-too-realistic psychology, and the "never-say-die" storytelling were straight out of Puroresu while the characterizations, twist-at-every-turn journey, and the insanely dramatic "Sports Entertainment" booking were straight out of WWE. It was a complementing amalgamation, and, as a result, generated a purely compelling match.

As corny as it reads, Reigns exactly did what his tee shirt said: I can, I will. On the face of it, the shirt symbolized him being able to defeat Lesnar. However, the shirt had more of an underlining implication. It expressed to the fans that he believes he is a main eventer and thus will prove it to everyone.

Although Reigns did not come out with the WWE championship, he conquered something more important: earning people's respect and admiration, due to his helluva performance.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.