The WWE has felt the absence of Roman Reigns, as arguably their biggest star had dropped out of WrestleMania earlier this year. The Big Dog’s last televised appearance was on the March 20th edition of SmackDown, when he signed the dotted line in a contract signing with Goldberg, the Universal Champion at the time. Ultimately, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grow more and more severe by the minute, Roman’s health in question as well as he and his wife expecting twins, the former Universal Champion opted to sit out WrestleMania, and would go on to spend the next five months self-quarantining. Fast forward to August 23rd, the main event of SummerSlam, which pitted ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman against each other for Universal Championship. Bray Wyatt would go on go secure the win, reclaiming the title he had lost to Goldberg at Super ShowDown only to have his victory short lived as Roman Reigns made an emphatic return, spearing both competitors out of their boots. The talk of the town has seemingly been this new attitude that Roman Reigns was exuding at the conclusion of SummerSlam, perhaps adrenaline getting the best of him, or perhaps even something more than meets the eye.
While some might argue that Roman Reigns has turned to the dark side, that may not necessarily be true. Be on the lookout for a more fired up and edgier version of The Big Dog than what we’ve seen before, perhaps even a silent bad-ass if you will, the type of character that numerous fans have salivated for Roman to portray. Alas, some will beg the question as to whether or not Reigns should be in the title picture to begin with and to that I say yes. Roman Reigns relinquished his Universal Championship due to his leukaemia resurfacing, having taken four months off before finally entering remission. Since then, the former champion has been absent from the championship picture and even the main event scene for quite some time. This was a blessing in disguise, as it gave fans the chance to get a break from the force-fed nature that the WWE painted the former Shield member as, and when the time came, Roman came knocking as Goldberg’s challenger when the question came up of, “who’s next?” Surely what would’ve been welcomed with open arms was a victory over Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania was tainted by the coronavirus pandemic, which thrust Braun Strowman into the championship picture instead. Perhaps this was yet another blessing in disguise, whether it be too soon still for Reigns to recapture the gold, or worse, the manifestation of a virus rearing its ugly head in an immunocompromised individual. Whatever the case may be, the wrestling gods saw fit, and Roman Reigns was once again left to sit out a large chunk of time, leaving the WWE Universe without their top star and an empty yard.
Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and the returning Roman Reigns are now set to sign the dotted line to confirm their meeting for WWE’s upcoming Payback pay-per-view. The blue brand has certainly been missing the presence of The Big Dog, and it’ll be interesting to see how Reigns continues to carry himself after his impactful return to the WWE. What remains to be seen is if Roman gives off more of a ‘heel’ dynamic as fans have long clamoured for, if he simply goes the route of confidence and bad-assery and uses his absence from both the WWE and main event scene as fuel to further secure himself a championship victory. A major question that seems to be in the back of people’s mind, however, is Retribution. Is Roman Reigns the secret leader of the WWE’s newest faction? Will Retribution interrupt the contract signing, attacking ‘The Fiend’, ‘The Monster Among Men’ and Roman as perhaps as swerving for another interference at Payback where Retribution takes out Reigns’ competition, securing him another run with the gold? All of these questions remain to be seen, but Reigns being revealed as Retribution’s leader would greatly benefit all Superstars involved with the faction, give WWE’s take-each-day-as-it-comes booking mentality for the group the boot, and give us viewers yet another reason to tune in to Friday nights. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain, The Big Dog is back and hungrier than ever, and his appearance scheduled for the August 28th edition of SmackDown will be must-see regardless of whatever ends up transpiring.