Recently, in part one of our WrestleMania 34 debate series, Dan Rose and I had a discussion about Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle facing off against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match. If you’d like, you can read all about that right here.
Today, we dig into the Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Since Dan kicked things off last time, I’ll go ahead and set the pace for this one.
Reno: Alright Dan, I’m actually going to open this one up with a question for you. How am I, as a fan, supposed to feel about this match? Is this match even for me? With all of the stuff on this card — I think there’s 11 matches now and more coming — this is right down there with the meaningless Battle Royal’s for me. What I’m trying to say here, Dan, is that there’s a lot of stuff to get excited about on this show. Just not this match. The only problem with that is simple — it’s likely going on as the main event.
So again, Is this match for me? I don’t think it is. And I guess that’s fine, right? There’s something for everyone to get excited about at WrestleMania. There has to be a ton of people out there that are buying into Roman Reigns as this sympathetic kick-ass babyface who is just days away now from becoming the number one champion in the promotion. Right? More importantly, there’s one guy named Vince who seems hell-bent on making it happen. I just don’t see it. I’ll watch. I just don’t care. It’s lazy storytelling and the characters involved do nothing for me. Not even Paul Heyman can spin this one to get me to care. And I say all of that as someone who doesn’t have the luxury of seeing the end game. So they could completely blow my mind and give me something to care about if there’s actually a layer or two, even something simple, that is added before this thing comes to a close. But I’ve said too much without really saying anything at all. What say you? Why am I supposed to care about this match? Do you even care about this match? The floor is yours.
Rose: Well, first let me address your question. As a fan, you have the right to feel however you wish about this and any other match booked under the sun. You see, not everything is for everyone. If it were, we’d only have vanilla ice cream, and one strain of weed. You would be forced to smoke mocha-locha thump weed all the time, instead of mixing in the plethora of other strains found on God’s green earth. For the record, mocha-locha thump weed is fabricated, and I am in no way being paid for a plug here. *wink*.
Bottom line is bro, if Lesnar/Reigns isn’t your cup of tea, take these ten to fifteen minutes to rehydrate or make a run to the fridge for that second container of queso dip. I’ll understand. The problem with Brock Lesnar is he isn’t around enough to care. The aura of invincibility he had was ruined when Goldberg beat him like a small child. Paul Heyman used to speak about the Big Fight Atmosphere. That’s how TAZ got over in ECW. He made people believe he brought the big fight to show. Lesnar doesn’t bring that like he once did. The problem with Roman is, well, he’s been forced at us so much, we resent him. We blame him for holding The Miz, and Ziggler and all the other guys we feel should be stars down. He’s not holding anyone down. He’s simply taking the opportunities given to him. Can’t hate that. Full disclosure, I don’t love this match. I do love the potential for a big-time debut and angle coming out of it. I think Lashley is going to come in and attack Lesnar, costing him the belt.
There is one thing about this you’re not seeing though. THIS IS the main event. You take the biggest star on your roster (for better or worse) and put him in a world title match against your killer. What should get top billing over this? Nothing.
This one we’re not so much opposed as we were with the Rousey booking, but I am a little more amped clearly than you are. I like this match for the potential to get Roman over finally and to set up something for Lesnar that might finally be compelling. (Lashley). I mean, it’s not the best match on the card, but it’s no Cena/Taker either. Haha.
Reno: The idea of Lashley being next for one of these two does have me intrigued, I’ll give you that. I still just have a tough time buying Roman Reigns as a main event player. And it’s happening right before my eyes. He’s headlining every WrestleMania. He’s not being groomed as the next big superstar — he is the big superstar. And you’re right, we do resent him. Not because of anything he’s done — Roman is just a victim (if you even want to call him that) — because of how he is being presented. If the big picture is that Heyman ends up turning on Brock to join Roman as the much-needed mouthpiece to begin what could be a heel run to end all heel runs — count me in. That would be brilliant. The problem with that is everybody who is boo’ing the guy will end up loving him and his dedicated fanbase that loves him will turn against him. You really don’t accomplish anything there other than seeing what he can do if you cut him loose. So actually, you’re accomplishing everything. Is it too late though?
I just don’t see it happening. I just don’t see this match giving us anything we haven’t seen before. Roman wins, the fans that cheer are drowned out by the angrier manboy fans that boo. And the next night on RAW, the “Big Dog” says a sentence or two about his yard before exiting stage left until the following week when the crowd calms down a little. He’s taken the mantle from Cena and has become the most polarizing character in all of professional wrestling. Unfortunately, he’s just a watered down version with zero charisma as currently constructed. Once again, it’s not his fault. But that doesn’t make it any easier for me to care about his current character or this match. And as for Brock, well, he’s going to the UFC after this match isn’t he? Honestly, as a fan of both professional wrestling and MMA like you are, I think Brock brings so much more to the UFC for one final run than he brings to WWE right now. Bring it on.
Rose: Sometimes brother, you can’t see the forest for the trees. You’re focusing too much on Reigns being pushed as the main event. At the end of the day, the fans, the amazing WWE Universe will make the decision whether Roman deserves his push. The thing about Roman is this, he’s damn good. He never has a bad match really. He can be counted on to show up, and do what he’s supposed to do. The kid can flat-out wrestle and it’s not his fault they’ve decided he should be doing uppercuts and spears. He’s a peacock, you gotta let him fly. Open up the book a little on what Roman is able to do and he’ll fly in my opinion. Remember The Rock before he was The Rock? Who really gave a crap what Rocky Maivia did before he broke free of those restraints and became The Rock? Nobody. Once a character gets the freedom to put himself in his work, we’ll know what we’re looking at. You said a lot when you brought up the angry manboy fans. Between you and I, they are ruining the sport of pro wrestling. The people who cheer for the bad guys, crap on Cena and Reigns, and basically try to show how cool they are by going against the grain. You’re still at a pro wrestling show designed to entertain teens buddy. You’re not fooling anyone.
Bottom line, I’m sick and tired of Brock Lesnar holding up the world title by working an extremely limited schedule. The shock factor has worn off, he’s no longer seen as the biggest and best on the block. Braun is that guy now. It’s time to take the belt of Brock and either involve him in something incredible with Lashley or simply allow him to do whatever comes next in his career….be it Pro Wrestling or back in the UFC. I’m excited not for this match so much because of what it’ll be, but instead more for what it will produce. I think it will be a platform for Roman to finally be Roman and it could be either the swan song for Lesnar or the birth of the first interesting angle with him in quite some time.
Reno: You’re right about one thing — Reigns is good. But he can be great. Let’s hope WrestleMania 34 is the beginning of something special for Roman as we head into what should be a very interesting time for WWE with a new TV contract looming. I have to admit something before we shut this one down, talking about this kind of got me just a tad bit interested in this match. Hopefully they can pull me in even more with just over two weeks until the big night. I just don’t want to see them miss such a big opportunity for Roman. This match has all the potential in the world to be something massive. It should be what we’re talking about on Monday morning leading into RAW. I’ve just been around too long to hold out any hope.
Rose: Up next I think we should talk about the match with probably the least amount of charisma in the history of Wrestlemania. The US Title match with Jinder, Randy Orton, and Bobby Roode.
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