5 Things That Must Happen Before Roman Reigns Is a World Champion
It's no secret Roman Reigns is the unofficial heir apparent to John Cena's throne.
If all goes according to plan, in one or two years, it'll be Roman Reigns in neon riot gear drawing the ire of the very fans who currently support his rise.
By then, just a few title reigns will be all it takes for the Reality Era to make an enemy out of the current rising star.
"Why isn't Dean Ambrose in that spot? Reigns can't wrestle like him! What about Seth Rollins? Prince Devitt? Kevin Steen? Kenta? Dolph Ziggler?"
Yes, Ziggler will still be a subject of complaint on the Internet two years from now, but Reigns will be the anchor of the conversation.
Again, as long as all goes according to plan, he'll be the polarizing top babyface whose divided support will be an indication of his success.
Just like Cena.
But before he can get there, WWE need not rush his seemingly inevitable world title win. It's hasty booking that is the difference between a John Cena and a Ryback. A smooth, upward trajectory that presents obstacles to conquer en route to glory is what makes superheroes out of prospects.
Likely headed into his first singles match on pay-per-view, Reigns has a ways to go before he's truly ready to not only arrive in the main event but also stay there.
Roman Reigns Must Improve in His Promos
Reigns isn't terrible on the mic. In fact, his low-talking, less-is-more approach is reminiscent of Kevin Nash, who was also able to overcome his limitations through sheer star power.
Like Nash, Reigns carries himself like a star, and thanks to several months of strong booking, fans have taken to him as one.
But being a top star means being on television every week and sparring with some of the best, most charismatic promo guys in the promotion. Reigns will run the risk of appearing boring when juxtaposed against future potential opponents with superior mic skills.
Reigns will need to gain more confidence in interviews, which will only come through experience and continued feuds.
It won't be necessary for Reigns to become a sharp-tongued orator like CM Punk or Bray Wyatt. That's not his character. But as long as he expands his persona as a (somewhat) silent assassin who can sell a pay-per-view with just a few words, he'll be a perennial world champion.
Roman Reigns Must Have Several Singles Matches on Pay-Per-View
While able to hold his own in the ring as a singles competitor, Reigns is still noticeably raw. There's a reason he was shrewdly hidden as a member of The Shield, with Reigns being the least experienced wrestler out of the trio.
The temptation to pull the trigger on Reigns prematurely will always linger, but he needs to get used to the monthly grind on pay-per-view as a singles star.
Any world champion worth his salt puts on consistently good matches every month on pay-per-view. Fresh off his run with The Shield, followed by a pair of group matches, fans still do not know if Reigns is capable of doing this.
Reigns' hero's journey must take him through an impressive string of opponents, all of whom he not only beats but wrestles effectively.
The momentum Reigns builds by putting on strong matches in succession will only make his big moment better.
Roman Reigns Must Win the 2015 Royal Rumble
The most natural, and least forced, way for Reigns to finally earn a one-on-one shot for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is to win the Royal Rumble.
Reigns should already be penciled in as an odds-on favorite to win the January pay-per-view. With WWE back to having only one world championship, the Royal Rumble now means more.
Winning that event will prepare fans for what WWE is already calling the Roman Empire. And as much as wrestling fans sometimes pine for unpredictability, the more predictable outcomes tend to garner the biggest reactions.
This was most recently evidenced by Daniel Bryan's underdog journey that saw him capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Even though this result was academic by the time WrestleMania had gone live, it did not take away from a feel-good moment.
Last year, Reigns did everything but win the Royal Rumble, eliminating a record 12 entrants before making it to the final two. WWE can build off that performance, convincing fans that Reigns has unfinished business before he can truly earn a world title shot.
The Royal Rumble is the ultimate obstacle in the storyline of a WWE Superstar's march to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Should Reigns be presented as somewhat of an underdog during that march, his universal babyface support will continue.
Roman Reigns Must Face Triple H on Pay-Per-View
The Triple H-Roman Reigns storyline is almost as inevitable as a Reigns world title victory, if not more so.
Triple H presents the perfect opponent for Reigns for several reasons. As the quintessential ring general, Triple H can guide Reigns to the best match of his young career, while teaching him a few tricks along the way.
Triple H is also among the top legit heels in wrestling. He plays his part perfectly by being a bad guy to both casual and hardcore fans. Like Orton, being positioned opposite Triple H will present Reigns as the fan favorite. These days, there's basically no thing as a "let's go Orton" or "Triple H" chant.
A match against Triple H would be a precursor to Reigns' main event career. A test of sorts.
If Reigns can't have a good match against Triple H, how will he be able to do so against the string of young wrestlers who will be his competition?
Some reports have noted a Triple H-Reigns match could happen as early as October's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, where Triple H is currently being advertised, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com).
The sooner that match happens, the better.
Roman Reigns Needs Closure with Seth Rollins
Since The Shield's split, Reigns has pretty much gone his own way as Ambrose seeks vengeance for Rollins' actions.
Still sporting The Shield riot gear and theme music, Reigns needs to do something grand and symbolic to establish that he has moved on to a successful singles career.
One can argue that separating himself from any association with The Shield is that gesture, but only a true hero seeks justice.
If Rollins continues on the trajectory he's on, he will rival Reigns as one of the bigger stars in WWE. This will create an opportunity for a major singles feud between the two, using their past as former Shield members to tell the story.
A future interaction of some sort among Reigns, Rollins and/or Ambrose is imminent. If Reigns is able to effectively deal with that skeleton in his closet, he'll be a more complete character.