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Roman Reigns’ Suspension Ruins Battleground’s Main Event

Roman Reigns

At Money in the Bank, Dean Ambrose ended the night by standing on a ladder, holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship high above his head, while all Roman Reigns, who had began the night as champion, and Seth Rollins, who had held the title for about a minute before Dean’s opportunistic cash-in, could do is watch.

It was the perfect set-up to what fans have been waiting two years for and on Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon (with a little assist from Ambrose himself) took that anticipation and made the match official. At July’s Battleground PPV the Wrestlemania-worthy main event would be:

Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose. The Shield triple threat.

While it had been teased in several ways ever since the dissolution of the Shield in 2014, including a tag team match pitting the three on the same team and a Fatal-4-Way involving the three of them triple powerbombing Randy Orton, Battleground would mark the first time the trio would share the ring in a one versus one versus one match-up.

It was slated to be the main event for the upcoming PPV and while that much likely won’t change, what has changed is the fact that what could have been a phenomenal feud over the next month has now been tainted by the news that Roman Reigns has violated the WWE’s strict Wellness Policy and thus has been suspended for 30 days, dating back to June 21.

This means that for the next four weeks (four episodes of Raw and five of Smackdown), Roman Reigns will be off of TV, all while WWE will have to rely on his triple threat opponents, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, to carry the build for the match on their own.

Now, that’s not to say the two former indy stars can’t do it, as throughout the course of 2014-15 they had one of the greatest, most entertaining feuds in the company, but this time its different. This time, much like the build to this year’s Fastlane triple threat, of which Roman barely featured for reasons only WWE’s Creative could understand, it will be up to two guys to really get the anticipation at an all-time high.

And while Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar did a fine job, what they built was not a triple threat but rather a narrative of David vs Goliath. As the weeks went on, this became Dean’s story of how he was daring to go toe-to-toe with the Beast in a way that many before him would never even have thought to attempt. For that reason, when Roman finally did factor into the build, at the very end, it was easy to understand why fans saw him as an afterthought, as someone who didn’t deserve to be there at all.

I mean, the headline for the video below says it all.

Dean Ambrose confronts Brock Lesnar at their contract signing.

Roman Reigns was standing right there but it was like he was in the role of Paul Heyman, being Dean’s manager, not as an actual participant in the match he eventually went on to win. Yeah, the fans loved that.

WWE simply can’t afford for that to happen this time because it’s a Shield triple threat. And for one of them to feel like an afterthought completely takes away from the basis of this emotionally charged narrative and everything it has always been destined to be.

That said, Roman Reigns has put the company in a tough position as it’s going to be very difficult for them to adequately capture the meaning of this match, to really tell the story it deserves, without Roman sharing screen time with his two former brothers. After all, there’s only so much video packages can do to build any kind of hype. They certainly can’t convey the kind of real deal emotion we saw on the Money in the Bank go-home show’s Ambrose Asylum segment as the three shared memories both good and bad, before Dean promised them he’d leave the PPV as champion, which he of course made good on.

Sure, Dean and Seth can, and will, have to carry the weight in this department, but how can they just pretend its normal that Roman is nowhere to be found when the whole reason this match is happening in the first place is because of the past these three share together? This means that in order to give the story a sense of realism, WWE has to have the two acknowledge Roman’s absence for what it is.

Just the fact that the company made public Roman’s indiscretion and didn’t instead choose to cover his suspension with some sort of kayfabe injury goes to show how serious they are about it and pretty much confirms that they won’t shy away from it either. It’s part of the reality that he violated the Wellness Policy and that means WWE has to address it, not just from a statement by Michael Cole at some point during next week’s program, but between the two guys who will need to work it into their story.

Between Dean and Seth, it makes the most logical sense for the latter to introduce Roman’s suspension into the Shield triple threat narrative. After all, Seth pinned the champ clean at Money in the Bank, even if being clean is something Roman would seem to know nothing about. And yes, that’s a line out of Seth’s next promo. Or at least it should be.

It makes perfect sense to have it come from Seth, which is why it needs to come from Dean. Hold on, let me explain.

Still a professed friend and brother of the former champ, even if the title pursuit currently has the two at odds, Dean needs to be the one to talk about his disappointment when he heard the news. He needs to talk about how important the title is to him and how seriously he takes it. This is Dean’s chance to soapbox, to establish himself as one of the top faces of the company. It’s his turn to say that he would never scheme to get the title like Seth or break the rules like Roman. His champion’s narrative so far has been how hard he has worked for this and how no one’s going to take it away from him. And compared to Seth, who got the title thanks to the Authority, and Roman who got it thanks to his lineage, Dean’s story of hard work is relateable and when he throws in references to Dusty Rhodes like he did Monday, its made even better. So this is the perfect opportunity for Dean to continue with that persona. It is also the chance for him to separate from Roman, creating a stronger feel of the two being enemies, by being the voice of the fans in saying that he doesn’t believe a cheater deserves a title shot.

And then cue Seth who can make his barb about Roman not being clean before adding that he’d rather be a sell-out than a common street thief like Dean, which continues his own current mindset that the man stole the title from him, or a cheater like Roman.


Now, all of this depends on how far the WWE is willing to go with disparaging Roman but they can’t avoid the suspension, nor should they. With Seth and Dean addressing it, the feud can go forward, albeit without one of its crucial proponents.

Like it or not, Roman is going to be missed in this build, especially when he shows up in time for the match without anybody feeling like he should be there. That was fine at Fastlane, but this is a Shield triple threat. There should never be the notion that a member of that faction doesn’t belong in that match.

So while the match will still go on, it has already suffered. This two-years-in-the-making event had all of the pieces to make it the greatest feud of the summer. It had the real deal emotions, the established backstory, a narrative of brotherhood and betrayal that one could really sink their teeth into. It was going to be four weeks of reliving the Shield’s rise and fall through the eyes of the three men that made the faction as dominant as it was. It was going to be nostalgic and it was going to get intense.

It was going to be the Summer of the Shield but now, thanks to Roman Reign’s suspension, its merely going to be Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins take two, with a bit of Roman sprinkled in at the 11th Hour. And even for people who aren’t fans of Roman, that is not what you want to see from the three of them finally going at it in a triple threat, which thanks to the brand split, could be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

There is no salvaging this triple threat, unless well,

Hmm, maybe WWE has a way to save this after all…

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  1. Pingback: Dean Ambrose Defends His Championship on Raw Tonight

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