One of the big questions on everyone's lips after the Royal Rumble match fiasco is how does WWE rehabilitate Roman Reigns after he got booed out of the building in his coronation as the heir apparent to John Cena as the company's top guy?
There's no good answers, as every course of action is fraught with danger. At the moment, WWE is holding firm with their plans to make Reigns their franchise babyface and repaired some of the damage with a carefully studio produced confrontation between him and Brock Lesnar on this week's snow affected Monday Night Raw. But it remains to be seen how WWE crowds will react to him going forward. There's a lot of time for WWE to misfire again between now and WrestleMania 31, and even if the build is executed perfectly, there's still a very strong chance that hardcore fans won't react well to his match at Levi's Stadium.
If the boos become persistent, WWE could have Reigns turn heel and become The Authority's onscreen chosen one too, but Stone Cold Steve Austin raised a potential problem with that scenario on his podcast yesterday with wrestling journalist Wade Keller, namely that Reigns is so inexperienced in the ring that he doesn't know how to call a match, which the heel is traditionally supposed to do:
Steve Austin: Still, if you went down that road, if you position [Roman Reigns] as a heel, you still got to work around the move set, you still got to work around the work rate of which, you know, at this time, quite frankly, he just does not possess.
Wade Keller: Is it easier Steve to work if you're as limited as Reigns is, is it easier to work as a heel or a face do you think with the skill set he's put on display for you?
Steve Austin: It's not an ideal situation either way, but I would venture to say as a heel, if you just cheat, kick and stomp, but with that being said you're not going to be the guy leading that match because you don't have any instincts to lead that match, and with everything that I love about Brock Lesnar who is a good friend of mine leading that match is not his forte. He's great in there with a great guy that can work and dictate, the dude is phenomenal, we're about to get to that match in a second, but yeah those two in the ring there's not a tried and true, established bona fide ring general who can feel the pulse of that crowd and respond accordingly.
The problem that Lesnar is unproven at carrying green wrestlers in long matches is the reason why I personally was never all that high on the idea of him being Roman's main event opponent at WrestleMania 31. Although from a kayfabe perspective beating a monstrous ass-kicker like Lesnar was the ideal way to kick-start Roman's reign as WWE champion, the match itself sounded like it could be a challenge to pull off, especially if WWE were bound and determined it had to go 20+ minutes long in the closing position of the event.
I'm sure WWE's agents will do their utmost to lay out the best match possible and it will be practiced beforehand by the two big behemoths, but the expectations of today's fans are a lot higher than they were 25 years ago when you could more easily get away with this sort of thing. It will certainly be a testament to WWE's creative abilities when the shit hits the fan if they can pull Lesnar vs. Reigns off as they had hoped for after the Philadelphia palava!