Roman Reigns vs. Elias
One of the nice things about the brand split is Raw and SmackDown were portrayed differently. This was intentional early on with different graphics, difference announce teams, and to a degree, different booking styles. While Vince McMahon ran both shows, the writing crews otherwise were different, And that was evident on the product.
Raw felt like the flashier product, showcasing more larger-than-life talent such as Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. Meanwhile, SmackDown has used smaller, more athletic wrestlers in their main event scene. This is evident in the fact the last three WWE champions on SmackDown have been Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan, and AJ Styles. SmackDown focuses on their tag team division more. Their stories are bit longer. This isn’t to say it was a massive difference. They’re both WWE products after all. But the difference was enough that many people preferred one show to another.
So when Roman Reigns was revealed as the big move in this year’s Superstar Shake-up, there was anticipation to see how the Big Dog would be presented on a different show. Perhaps the slightly more nuanced storytelling away from the bigger lights of Monday Night Raw would freshen up Roman, who’s been in a very similar role throughout his time on Monday nights.
However, it seems that instead of getting a new style of booking for Reigns, the Raw booking came along with him.
His introduction involved Vince McMahon trying to swerve the crowd by introducing Elias as the blue chip signing before being interrupted by Roman and taking a Superman Punch. It was a fun introductory segment, but it certainly could have been seen as an indication they’re going back to the “Roman against an authority figure,” an angle they’ve tried many times before.
The next week, Shane stepped in for his father and this became a Roman vs. Authority story that fit in way better on Raw than it did SmackDown. They teased they may fire Roman for his actions, but it was really a set up for Elias and Shane McMahon to beat up Roman.
It’s not necessarily bad, but watching the Big Dog over come a two on one handicap match, like he did against the B Team, is not something new. It’s didn’t as much feel like a SmackDown story as it did a Raw one.
That was soon confirmed when they introduced the Wild Card Rule and started actually running this story on Raw more than they did SmackDown. Because Miz is also feuding with Shane McMahon, he and Roman teamed up a little bit but it was all rather old hat.
Now Roman will face Elias at Money in the Bank, though Elias isn’t even a major player in his own match. This is all about Roman vs. Shane which is really Roman vs. Vince. It’s a story that we’ve seen some version of before, whether it was Reigns having issues with the Vince, Stephanie, or Triple H.
Maybe after Roman moves on from Elias, we’ll actually get a simplified story that doesn’t involve him overcoming all the odds and facing different authority figures. There are other stories that can be told with a talented wrestler like Reigns. Or maybe he’ll face Shane McMahon at SummerSlam. Whatever happens, as things are currently going, don’t get your hopes up for a new take on the Roman Reigns character now that he’s technically on SmackDown Live.
Roman Reigns will face Elias tomorrow night at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, airing on the WWE Network starting at 7 pm ET. And keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all your Money in the Bank coverage.
Who will win this match?
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