On Monday's WWE RAW, Roman Reigns raised the stakes in his upcoming WrestleMania match with The Undertaker. In a moment that put Reigns upcoming match with the Deadman in historical context, The Big Dog was met in the ring by none other than Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels. The WWE Hall Of Famer attempted to get Roman to focus on how great of a task he had in front of him.
While the segment seemed to be a simple ploy to have Michaels' mere presence boost anticipation for the match, it was a comment by Reigns that gave us a clue for what exactly might be at stake when he steps into the ring with Taker. Roman told Michaels, "with all due respect, Undertaker retired you, and I'm going to retire The Undertaker."
The fact that they would even bring this type of verbiage into the conversation is a sign that this might be The Phenom's final run. And if this is truly Taker's final match, Roman Reigns should definitely be the one to put him down for good.
Alright, alright, put down your pitchforks, WWE Universe, and hear me out. We must first accept the fact that The Undertaker will one day be retiring. While we would all like to believe that he is truly an immortal being who will rise from his grave once a year to give us a big WrestleMania moment, let us not forget how he looked in this year's Royal Rumble. The man was clearly in pain. If rumors are true that he is in need of a very serious hip surgery, then his time in the ring will soon be coming to an end.
When Taker's legendary streak was shockingly broken at WrestleMania 30, Brock Lesnar used that rub to build his legacy for the next two years. Lesnar was the only superstar who could claim to be the one in 21-1. If you think the WWE got mileage out of that accomplishment, just imagine what they could do with whomever can lay claim to ending The Undertaker's career.
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So, why should Reigns be that man? It's clear that whether you like it or not, Vince McMahon wants Roman Reigns to be the face of the company after John Cena goes off to La La Land. And if that is going to happen, Roman needs more to his resume than just The Guy who overcomes the odds to Superman punch and spear his way to victory after victory.
Before Reigns can ever truly become the beloved superstar that Vince hopes he will be, he needs to earn the negative fans' respect by having a memorable heel run. Stone Cold has mentioned this very thing on his podcast several times and Jim Ross even stated that now would be the perfect opportunity for a Roman turn on his latest podcast.
"I'd likely put Reigns over in Orlando via cheating to gain an unfair advantage as it would facilitate Reigns leaving WrestleMania with immense heat and bragging rights to carry Roman farther down the road. That obviously sets up the eventual 'face turn which will make Roman Reigns the huge, fan favorite, face of the company talent that has been WWE's focus for a long while."
We saw tinges of this heel turn in Roman's encounter with Shawn Michaels last night. When Michaels said that he knew how it felt for "everyone to be secretly rooting against him", it was the WWE's way of acknowledging that fans have yet to completely buy in to Roman as he stands now. When Roman not only didn't back down from HBK's comments but struck back with the assertion that he wanted to shut down the career of WWE's most legendary and beloved character, it showed a cockiness that has been sorely missing from his face run.
If Roman is going to win, which I think we know he is, let it be grand. Let it be monumental. Let the hate flow through him after two spears fails to take out The Deadman. Let Reigns finally turn to the darkside when he pulls out all the stops to end Undertaker's career. If Vince wants the torch to be passed to Roman Reigns, Roman needs to pry it from the Deadman's hands ... as a heel.
Taker has always done what's best for business and he knows more than anyone just how important it will be for the future of the WWE for him to go out on his back.