The Writers’ Room takes you into the Cageside Seats staff Slack channel for a look at our answers to interesting, pressing or weird wrestling questions.
Today, we’re wondering what you do when The Big Dog returns to the roster, seemingly out of nowhere.
Brent Brookhouse: With Roman Reigns’ return, there’s a big (dog) change to the texture of the locker room. Plans are already in place as we’re cruising the Road to WrestleMania but you can’t leave him out of the picture for the next few months. So...what do you do with the returning Roman Reigns?
Kyle Decker: Man, it’s so tough to find a spot for someone so big with just a bit over a month to go.
Cain A. Knight: I think it makes sense to start off with this potential Shield reunion story, since Ambrose will be gone soon.
Brent: Ambrose is around to tag with even if Rollins is tied up at ‘Mania, so it’s not something you’d have to abandon post-Fastlane.
Cain: And the Ambrose heel turn was a complete bust, so I don’t think I would double down on it by having Ambrose turn on Roman to set up a singles match between them at WrestleMania, but it’s an option.
Yeah maybe Reigns and Ambrose are a tag team at WrestleMania.
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Some kinda fun squash seems like the logical thing under the circumstances, something like Shield vs. NAO & Kane from a few years back.
Cain: If Reigns is getting a singles match at WrestleMania...these top heels on Raw are not presented anywhere near his level.
Henry T. Casey: Ambrose/Reigns vs McIntyre/Corbin feels like the ‘Mania match.
Rev. Claire: Ambrose & Reigns over Corbin & Elias in like 40 seconds, pack ‘em up in a crate and send ‘em to Abu Dhabi.
Brent: Yeah, with the Fastlane rumor being The Shield vs. Baron Corbin’s League of Evil Dorks I’d hope they’d just run through them. But you could do it in an embarrassingly quick fashion and have McIntyre and Corbin be so upset about it they do a tag match at ‘Mania while Lashley is off wrestling Balor.
Cain: Strowman could be turned again for a match with Roman at WrestleMania.
Strowman’s best work always comes with Roman.
Kyle: I think if you wanted a singles match, you COULD do Drew vs. Reigns. Drew hasn’t been knocked down too much. It’d be easy to get him there.
Rev. Claire: If you’re gonna turn Braun again you might as well do Roman vs. Big Show.
Brent: Hell yeah! Do Roman vs. Big Show.
Rev. Claire: Which, I mean, as a known Big Show superfan/apologist, I would be very here for.
Kyle: Where as Braun has kind of lost that magic for me. I know Braun and Roman have great matches, but honestly, I don’t have any desire to see it.
Let’s just go nuts and have Roman face Aleister Black.
Brent: Stupid match with Hunter getting in the way of Roman vs. Batista.
Cain: What about any of the NXT call-ups? Is there a potential Roman story there?
Henry: Roman vs Lacey Evans. Biggest heel vs biggest face.
Brent: I actually would LOVE hardcore heel DIY trying to make their name by taking out The Shield but I don’t think anyone but this room would buy it.
Henry: EC3 vs Roman would be a fun build, though.
Sean Rueter: I know they probably shouldn’t do it, but I really like the symmetry of Roman swooping in and denying Seth the chance to beat Brock for the title.
Kyle: I don’t know how they’d get there, Sean, but I’d definitely appreciate that as a storytelling device.
Cain: Seth’s feud with Brock doesn’t have much to it, and adding Roman sounds like something Vince would be tempted by.
Henry: Shame that AAA uses the name TripleMania. ALL OF THE THREEWAYS.
Sean: It kind of eliminates the “swooping in part” (or relegates it to a meta-read), but if Rollins’ back is really that iffy, you could write him out with an injury.
I mean, fuck me considering how sick of it I was last summer, but Roman coming for Brock with a “cancer couldn’t take me out and you sure as hell can’t keep me from getting that belt back” angle sounds like fire.
Henry: That’s SummerSlam to me because Seth ain’t beating Brock.
Sean: Not as cold as the program is, yeah.
Rev. Claire: Yeeeeah that’s my one hesitation about Roman coming right back for Big Red. I was so burnt out on all that last year.
Sean: SummerSlam is probably the right call.
Cain: Maybe after Fastlane, Vince will announce that KO and Kofi earned their shots against Bryan, but KO and Kofi’s box office aren’t big enough, so now Roman gets the shot at WrestleMania.
Sean: I’m just SO underwhelmed by the other options for Big Uce.
Rev. Claire: Hell, it makes zero business sense but move Rollins/Lesnar up to Fastlane, change the title, and do the Shield triple threat again at ‘Mania to send Dean off.
That’s the damn match
Makes zero sense but do that.
Sean: It makes sense on a marquee, but what’s the build? I don’t see the story that gets me excited for that in the short-term.
Henry: Roman beats someone high-mid-card at Fastlane and says he’s deserving. Then Dean comes out and says you two can’t do this without me and you allow an authority member to approve.
Kyle: They’re way past continuity when it comes to the Shield.
Cain: I’m with Sean, I don’t think there is time to properly build to it right now.
Sean: It makes sense on paper... not sure why it’s making me feel absolutely zilch.
Kyle: Honestly I don’t really want to see it.
Brent: I mean, you have Roman saying “Hey, respect and all but I said I was coming back for my belt...” they’re going to do the cheesy face vs. face ‘Mania match, Dean inserts himself and once he does you can play off of his disrespect of Roman’s cancer..etc. I hate the match, but you can get there.
Cain: And then Roman and Seth stare at Dean and laugh in his face while watching him job to EC3 and McIntyre over the last month.
Rev. Claire: It jacks Dean’s arc up even worse but that moment they had on Raw feels like they could easily spin him right back to being a full-on heel if they’re doing a Shield story, and frankly it’s not like Dean’s character is terribly salvageable right now anyway.
Henry: I don’t think Dean has it in him to be mean about roman’s cancer again.
Sean: They’ve spent all these years making Brock the big bad... to blow that off at a B-show to rush this would be, well, very WWE. But still dumb, IMHO.
Tommy Messano: Heel Dean was so bad.
Sean: Then what the hell do you do with Lesnar at ‘Mania? Fucking Lashley?
(phrasing, I know)
Tommy: Riddle!!! ( just going to say this in every writer’s room)
Cain: I don’t even know if Ambrose gets a match at Mania outside of the battle royal.
Brent: You put Lesnar on a rocket and send him to god damn Mars so he can’t get the belt back.
Rev. Claire: I’d say Brock gets packed into a crate marked Riyadh or wherever the next Saudi show is exactly, but that’s just me being incredibly sick of him. (I sure am sending a lot of guys I’m not interested in to the middle east today, huh?)
Kyle: You’re World War Hulking Lesnar?
Brent: Yes. He can go fight in some weird alien gladiatorial arena for a few years.
Kyle: He’d find his way back. They always do.
Brent: But being real, they’re not taking the belt off Lesnar at Fastlane.
Cain: Right, Rollins vs. Lesnar is happening at WrestleMania, it’s just a matter of possibly adding others to it.
Kyle: Yeah, realistically, I think they don’t change the Universal title match unless Seth’s back really can’t go (get that DDPY, Seth!). And they find a one on one for Roman such as Drew, Braun, or Cena.
Brent: You can still get to a triple threat easily enough if they wanted to by having Roman do the “I’m coming back for my belt” then if he or Seth win, you turn the loser heel and they feud for a few months. If Dean is leaving The Shield stuff is gone anyway and it’d be a nice thing played off the two great Roman leaves/comes back images with them. But even that feels like it’s not the time.
Sean: While I agree that (a) if he’s leaving Dean may not even have a ‘Mania match and (b) his use as a heel is minimal after how bad his last few months have been, I think having him turn again at Fastlane and do the honors for Roman at ‘Mania probably makes the most sense.
Cain: Maybe Roman teams up with a 10 year old kid to beat The Revival at WrestleMania.
Kyle: May need to give the Revival an extra guy to make it fair.
Henry: Ambrose and Reigns vs Revival, Dean takes the pin?
Sean: If the Revival are anywhere but the Kickoff I’ll be shocked.
Kyle: If they’re not in the Andre I’d be shocked.
Brent: If The Revival are still champs by ‘Mania I’d be shocked.
They should do a reverse loser leaves town scenario since they’ve already talked about Dean leaving. DIY win the tag belts before ‘Mania, Dean convinces Roman to tag with him and says “If we win, I stay” and then eats the pin.
Henry: Changing Dean’s mind about leaving seems like the best storyline.
Kyle: It actually would be good. At least it’d take the knowledge that he’s leaving and work it into a storyline.
Henry: I still feel like they’re kayfabing that “won’t renew his contract,” since they’ve never ever been this public about contracts this far before a guy leaves before.
Sean: I like Brent’s tag scenario, although for a bunch of reasons I bet it’s some version of Corbin’s Evil League of Evil they face rather than DIY (or Revival, or any real tag team).
Henry: I feel like the DIY main roster thing is going on pause so their NXT story can be cleaner.
Sean: How long until Romey is strapped up again? SummerSlam seems to be the consensus?
Henry: Yeah, either tag or Universal, I’d say.
Kyle: Yeah, by then.
Henry: Maybe even WWE World, if they’re thinking about moving him to SmackDown. For the ratings/FOX.
Kyle: Fox getting SD this fall is going to make things very interesting roster wise.
Henry: Raw went up this week and SmackDown didn’t.
So, WWE sees that Roman moves the needle.
Albeit he can’t return from cancer treatment every week.