While Reigns and Lesnar are top dogs, not very many fans are excited to see their fourth in-ring installment. Even more, there's a real chance a crabby Brooklyn crowd will spend most of the match protesting via ironic chants — especially if the Universal Championship caps off a bloated SummerSlam event.
These were the exact concerns of Hall of Fame announcer, Jim Ross. In an episode of the Jim Ross Report, Good Ol' JR discussed the issues WWE will face if Reigns/Lesnar IV is SummerSlam's last act.
"Reigns and Lesnar I guess will go on last at SummerSlam." Ross said, "I assume that. I don't know that. But if it is the last match of a long night, is that position you want to have your Universal title displayed under? I'm not sure. I'm not sure at all and I wonder what kind of reaction these two gentlemen are going to receive from the live audience. And if it is overtly negative, is that the image or the sound that you go off the air with? Just my question," he said.
Main eventing any WWE show is hallowed ground, but going on last at SummerSlam must be reserved for something great. WWE wants Reigns and Lesnar to be just that, but at this point, the question begs: is that even possible?
Will you be rooting for Roman Reigns at SummerSlam?— WWE on PopCulture (@WWEonPopCulture) August 7, 2018
No matter what Reigns and Lesnar do, their match will be subjected to a negative reaction — especially after six hours of wrestling.
But WWE has been here before.
Main eventing WrestleMania, as Reigns has done four consecutive years, is like appearing in wrestling's version of the Super Bowl. It's treated as an accomplishment, regardless of the result. However, by WWE trying pump Reigns' WrestleMania resume, they've set him up for failure. Fans have been rejecting The Big Dog for three years now, and they've used WrestleMania as the consummate stage to demonstrate this disdain. However, that vitriol gets amplified because, after eight hours of programming, fans don't have room to stomach even much —espcially another Roman Reigns event.
So in WWE's attempt to give Reigns their biggest stage, they've invited an already salty fanbase to double, triple, and quadruple down on their hate for the Big Dog.
And SummerSlam will be no different.
Except for this time, it looks like both men will be booed throughout the match — or worse, be dealing with a wholly apathetic Barclays Center.
So what's WWE's best play? It's impossible to give advice to a company that has monopolized professional wrestling, but the answer lies within the Money in the Bank briefcase. If either Kevin Owens or Braun Strowman is destined to cash-in, then the Universal Championship should end SummerSlam. However, if WWE wants Lesnar or Reigns to leave Brooklyn with the big red belt, then that leaves only one real option to close out SummerSlam: Ronda Rousey winning the Raw Women's Championship.