Roman Reigns may be the Tribal Chief and the Head of the Table, but he’s also the maker of his bed, and now he has to sleep in it.
Last week on SmackDown, Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles met in a triple threat match to decide who would face Reigns for the Undisputed Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. The champ thought he could outfox everyone by disrupting the affair, as he and the Bloodline obliterated any potential challengers, leading to a non-finish. However, SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis informed Paul Heyman, Reigns’ special counsel, that his charge would now defend the title in a fatal-four way against Knight, Orton, and Styles at the Rumble.
That put Heyman in a position to deliver the bad news, and as one might imagine, Reigns didn’t react kindly.
In a digital exclusive, WWE cameras caught Reigns as he returned backstage, gloating, following the beatdown. It’s at that moment that Heyman shared Aldis’ edict with his Tribal Chief. As Reigns realizes he just outsmarted himself, he appears to go through a few stages of grief: shock, anger, and acceptance.
Scratch that last one. Rather than accept his fate, Reigns’ next move appears to be bargaining or perhaps bullying. After angrily muttering into the camera, Reigns tells Heyman, “Fix this,” before slamming his belt into the Wise Man’s chest and stomping off.
And so it seems the next turn in this saga will include another meeting of the minds between the champ and his boss. Since becoming SmackDown’s GM, Aldis has shown that he will not be intimidated by the Undisputed Universal Champion. Their first conference was tense as Reigns tried to flex on Aldis. But Aldis remained firm, telling Reigns that he “is the sharp end of the stick on SmackDown.”
While the early tension between Reigns and Aldis looks to be a factor in the promotion of the Royal Rumble, it’ll be interesting to see if these seeds potentially blossom into a full-blown rivalry and, ultimately, a one-on-one match in the future between Reigns and Aldis, a former NWA World Champion.