The match up:
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H, faces the number one contender, Roman Reigns, in the main event of WrestleMania 32, which takes place in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this Sunday, April 3, 2016. Will the King of Kings crush the Roman Empire or will the Big Dog overcome the Authority and reign supreme a top the WWE?
The Road to WrestleMania 32:
The history of Roman Reigns and Triple H goes back nearly three years when Reigns, as a part of the Shield, was little more than a henchman for the Authority in their quest to stop Daniel Bryan as a main event champion in the fall of 2013. The Shield, however, soon found themselves enemies of the Authority post WrestleMania 30, when then Director of Operations, Kane, revealed that the COO had ordered the Shield be "taught a lesson". The Shield went to war with Triple H's Evolution, which saw the older faction getting beaten decisively by the Hounds of Justice. Then, it happened:
Seth Rollins turned on the Shield and aligned himself with the Authority. Triple H wins.
The next year at WrestleMania 31, Rollins cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase during the Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns main event. Rollins pinned Reigns to win the title and stand tall to close the show.
Eight months later, Reigns earned the chance to face Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Survivor Series. The next week, Rollins suffered a knee injury and was stripped of the title. Days, later, this happens:
Triple H asked Reigns-very nicely, I might add-to take Seth Rollins place and "be his man".
Reigns refused, despite the fact that the London crowd wanted it. Very badly. I will go out on a limb as say most WWE fans right now would prefer Roman Reigns as the villain in their stories and not the hero. But that's just my opinion.
A tournament to crown the new champion commenced. Reigns won. Triple H showed up to congratulate him, allegedly. Reigns speared the COO in a pile of confetti. The new holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase, Sheamus, cashed in on Reigns and beat him. Reigns was only the champion for a little over five minutes.
The next month, Reigns lost his rematch in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match when the League of Nations got involved. Reigns attacked the League after the match. The COO came down to the ring to calm down Reigns. He had the opposite effect.
So, in the direct aftermath of Reigns MDK'ing HHH, the crowd loved him. There were "Thank You, Roman" chants after the attack from the same crowd that had asked for Cena and Rollins during the match. The next night, Philadelpha -the same city that hated him at the Royal Rumble-cheered him on as he took on the McMahons and became champion on RAW. It was the best night of Reigns' career.
And then it all went to crap. The WWE thought all the problems they had with Reigns were cured but soon found out that two nights of great booking do not make up for the fact that they have relentlessly pushed one of the most bland, one dimensional characters as the face of the brand for the last two years almost. Vince McMahon being on TV every week embarrassing himself did not help much. Putting the title on the line in the Royal Rumble match also pretty much assured that anyone would be cheered as long as they were opposite Reigns. But, of course, since Triple H was written off TV, everyone pretty much knew who entrant number 30 would be:
Triple H made his glorious return at the Rumble to a hero's welcome and eliminated Reigns then Ambrose to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The fans could have not cared less that the champion had lost in the closing moments, though. They were just too excited about the possibility of a new champion: Dean Ambrose.
Since the Rumble, Dean Ambrose is the guy the fans have been behind to take the title off of HHH. So much so they he was favored by most to win a triple threat at WWE Fastlane between Ambrose, Reigns, and Brock Lesnar to determine who would face the Cerebral Assassin at WrestleMania 32. The entire build to the match involved Ambrose going after Lesnar and Roman Reigns looking scared of the Beast. And, you guessed it, Reigns won the match by pinning Ambrose.
So, the next night, when Triple H beat the holy crap out of Reigns and smashed his nose so that he would have to have surgery, the crowd loved every minute of it. With Reigns out of action for weeks, Ambrose took on Triple H for the WWE WHC at WWE Roadblock and, yes, he came up short. The following week, Reigns returned to attack Triple H for attacking him, which was a retaliation for Reigns attacking him back in December.
That's pretty much the story here. Reigns attacked the COO one night after he could not win the title and took him out for a few weeks. Then said COO, Triple H, put his 'rasslin' boots back on and set up a perfect situation in the Rumble match so that he could win the title. Then, for no reason at all, gave Reigns - the guy who beat him up really bad- another chance to get a title shot. Then once Reigns got the title shot, Triple H beat him up real bad, which took him out for a few weeks. Then Reigns returns and beats HHH up and stalks his life until the COO gets the help of two over the hill wrestlers to beat him down. Then to close the show Monday, Triple H and Reigns had a haphazard brawl where Reigns did a cool dive onto half the roster and the crowd told him he still sucks.
Somehow, I cannot help but feel this feud could have been handled a smidge better.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line. It is the biggest prize in all of sports entertainment. The bigger stake, for WWE, though, is do they really want to keep going with Reigns as the top guy in the company? He has his fans, like me. I love the guy. But most of the hardcore fans who pay their money to see the shows either do not care about him or wish to boo him. Triple H is supposed to be the Big Evil in the WWE, stealing guys' careers and dreams, and he's getting loud cheers beating up his challenger for the title heading into the biggest show of the year. If the WWE does not make the right decision here, or very soon after, Roman Reigns popularity with fans is severely at stake. Not mine, though, as I have declared myself the Reigns bandwagon and will remain so until further notice.
Personally, I just want Reigns to beat the holy Hell out of Triple H. Just a really violent squash match where HHH gets zero offense in. I'm sure whatever happens, the reactions will be discussed more than actual match because that's just how it goes with Roman Reigns.
I'm also not going to mention much of a heel turn because Roman Reigns is the biggest heel in the company right now. The WWE just needs to start booking him against faces.
Will this match usher the true start of the Roman Empire? Or will Based H save the day?
WWE WrestleMania 32 airs live this Sunday, April 3, 2016 on the WWE Network at 7 pm central time. Join us here at Cageside Seats for the live blog.