Wrestlemania Preview: Triple H is Our Last Best Hope
There's no easy way to say this: this Monday's episode of Raw was awful. Actually, this particular episode of Raw was one of the worst I'd seen in some times. Honestly, had it not been for the wonderful company that I was viewing the program with, I probably would have changed the channel.
Highlights of the show include a laughable bloodcurdling scream by way of Stephanie McMahon as her husband's SUV backed onto a loading ramp... with the door closed. Further featured was a triple threat match that somehow got waved off as a no contest. Yeah, that was the last two hours of Raw.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the opening contest of the program. Pitting AJ Styles against Kevin Owens, the match would go for around thirty minutes thanks to the three commercial breaks taken during the match. The match contained numerous false finishes and some very stiff strikes making for a very entertaining bout It was the end of the match, it was the end of the match, Style's loss via Jericho's distraction that would mark the beginning of the downfall of this episode.
While the lead-in to Wrestlemania week at The Three Count isn't the best of places to argue production decisions of Monday Night Raw, it is important to remember that this is the second to last show before the biggest Pay-Per-View event of the year. Also keep in mind that they held this program in one of the Smarkiest cities in the country. You can begin to understand why it is mind boggling that they would produce such a low boring show.
Again though, that is a question for another day. The true takeaway from the show is Roman Reigns, despite everything WWE has tried is still getting booed. What's more, as we've seen the week prior and this past Monday, when they do place Reigns in situations where he acts sorta heelish, the crowd is dead silent. Neither of these is a good sign when the man you are looking at making the face of your company can't even get the crickets in the arena invested in his character.
The internet wrestling community and the crowd in general have made very clear the fact that Reigns is not the champion they want. Despite WWE devoting the past two events, one of which being the Royal Rumble to validating Reigns character, the forced ascension of The Big Dog isn't working.
Many reasons exist for Reign's failure to connect for the audience, all of which have been discussed in great detail. Yet, an important and horrifying prospect looms over Dallas. In two weeks, there is a decent chance that the newly crowned WWE World Heavyweight Champion could be booed out of the building. This cannot happen. WWE hangs in the balance. Hunter Hearst Helmsley... you must win.
It may sound like a tough pill to swallow, but this fantasy of Roman somehow ascending to the levels of The Rock, despite possessing none of the charisma or in ring talent needs to come to a close. For perhaps the only time in history, the diamond encrusted golden shovel is a welcome thought.
If it can be helped, I for one would like to believe that the clear disdain towards the idea of Roman Reigns as champion is enough for WWE to change direction and keep the belt on Hunter. Keeping the belt on 'Trips isn't an ideal situation, yet is better than the alternative. Roman will surly have his time in the sun, but that time cannot be on Sunday.
Running a Triple H program until SummerSlam creates a very unique situation with the WWE Championship. Imagine the roar of the crowd as a Returning Seth Rollins frees the belt from Hunter at the summer show. Seth Rollins could rightfully reclaim his title and return his run right where he left off.
With time away from the belt, Roman can refocus his character and perhaps test his luck in a heel role. With the crowd currently booing him into the next county, perhaps WWE should employ the same tactic they used with The Rock and use a heel turn to further his character. At this point, what does WWE have to lose? Far less than they would if they were to continue with a Roman WWE Title run.
Finally, consider if Undertaker were to lose at Mania and his opponent, Shane McMahon assumes control of Monday Night Raw with Hunter remaining the WWE Champion. The deposed king may have lost the keys to the kingdom, but they control the treasure. Shane cannot simply reinstate the World Heavyweight Championship as it was unified with the WWE Championship. Does the Intercontinental Championship then become “The” championship representing Raw?
Of course it doesn't. Triple H and the Authority now have the ability to hold WWE hostage. Clinging to one final thread of power, Hunter will defend his title tooth and nail, fighting to retain the last shred of power he maintains in the company. A civil war is imminent, with those defending the previous power structure and those who seek change by violent revolution finding themselves engaged in a hard fought, bloody battle. Only one thing is unifying the combatants. The biggest prize in the game. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Imagine six months of hard hitting conflict as Shane seeks to wipe out the last of the old guard while the king and his cronies work to stamp out the impending insurgency as they gain territory. Pay Per Views and victories in general are now worth more than ever. Every match, every promo has meaning again. Most importantly, Kayfabe can return.
This could be the revolution that we need. WWE can truly go back to the future. The return of Kayfabe, the end of overbooking and maybe even the return of Hardcore wrestling could be the future of the sport we love. This can be reality, our reality... and it all hinges on one important match. Hunter. You must win.