WWE is a controversial company, that is not saying anything new or surprising. However, the reason people fall in love with pro wrestling is for several reasons. the flashy characters, the work rate, ladies, and guys pushing each other to the limit in a predetermined fight. or bottom line they fall in love with the stories, which is pretty hard to pull of fifty-two weeks a year. a never-ending cycle of love, hate, betrayal just to love again.
moments like Macho Man losing his retirement match and having Queen Sherri turn her back on him just to see Elizabeth come out of the crowd to toss Sherri aside and have the people in tears of joy as Macho Man holds the ropes for his main squeeze or to see an African-American in Kofi Kingston get his first shot at a world title in eleven years. to see one person represent so much and to see the crowd go crazy when the referee’s hand goes down for the three count and see Kofi’s face in genuine shock that his dream finally came to fruition.
It’s about story telling and the roller coaster of emotions you take people on. In a year uncertainty, frustration, and many people not knowing what will be next. WWE’s biggest star is telling one of the best stories in years. first a little back Story on Roman Reigns 2020. The year began for him the same way it did for all of us as normal as possible. Then COVID hit and changed everything, Roman was supposed to main event WrestleMania against Bill Goldberg and win the Universal championship.
But with Roman being a leukemia survivor and WWE not having the proper protocols in place. Roman decided to go home for safety reasons and to protect his family as he and his wife were also having twins in a few months. Now let’s fast forward to August and the pay per view event Summer Slam. At the end of the main event between The Fiend and Braun Strowman. Roman came out of nowhere to attack both men and in the process, you saw a new physique and a more vocal character.
Fans did not know how to take this as Roman has always gotten a mixed reaction from fans. Way more boos then cheer but that was from many years of awful booking and being forced down peoples throats a little too much. If there were any questions about if he was a face (Good guy) or a heel (Bad guy). Those questions were answered less than a week later when he is seen in a backstage segment with the nefarious Paul Heyman.
Yet people didn’t really know what to make of it, a week after showing back up Roman wins back the Universal title he never actually lost due to his Leukemia diagnosis. Here is where the story really begins, as his first challenger to his newly won title he handpicked his cousin Jey Uso (Cousin in real life) to be in a number one contender’s match which he won. This was apart of Roman’s masterplan to have his cousin fall in line while getting him a payday.
Little did Roman know Jey had other plans, While Roman saw it as an opportunity to help his family out. Jey saw it as an opportunity to Level up from the tag team division where he and his real-life brother Jimmy Uso have helped shaped the division in the last several years. His brother Jimmy is currently on the injury list with a torn Achilles, A couple of days before their first match Roman finally showed his cousin his true colors while punching him in the face and telling him to “Lay down and take the payday.”
Night of Champions
This lead to their first match where Roman beat Jey while explaining to him that he could never get on “His level” he lives at the level where the pressure is tremendous and the burden is heavy. Roman had the match well in hand but he didn’t want to pin Jey. He wanted Jey to acknowledge him as “The head of the table” or “The Tribal Chief” Jey in such defiance refused to acknowledge him and kept getting beat on. Paul Heyman tried to convince Roman to pin Jey but Roman refused because Jey refused to acknowledge him and his place in the family.
Reigns continue the beat down until Jimmy runs down with a towel and throws the towel in on behalf of his brother and when Reigns won’t stop punching him. Jimmy comes into the ring to cover his brother up and tells Reigns that he is “The head of the table” Reigns stands over him not looking satisfied only more incensed but he tells Heyman that he wants the red lay that Jey brought to the ring. Heyman retrieves the lay and puts it over the head of the champion as the pay per view ends.
Don’t Call Me Tribal Chief
The next week on Smackdown Heyman begins to speak and before he can call Reigns “The tribal Chief” Reigns cuts him off and says that Heyman should not call him that because his cousin wouldn’t call him that. He asks for Jey to come out and he begins to say if you want another shot at the title you got it. But this time there would be “Real” consequences and later in the night, he said the match would be in a “Hell in the Cell” I quit match. So he implored his cousin to think about this before he accepted.
Jey being overconfident accepted the match, as the weeks rolled on to the pay per view Reigns was more trying to get out of the match because he knew his cousin was not on his level or ready to handle the burden of what it would take to beat him. Jey on the other hand would play games with his cousin in many ways taunting him. Until Reigns had enough and said “Once I make you say I quit you and your brother are out of the family” This raised the stakes even higher as now not just was the title on the line. But a place in the family and livelihood was on the line as well.
As we get to the match from the very start you feel the tension. With Jey telling Reigns “The family is good, They don’t need him to act the way he has been acting” The fight starts, and the two men beat the hell out of each other while both men take their turn talking trash while the other man is down. Finally, Reigns gets the advantage and he wouldn’t let go of it, he beat Jey with steel steps a strap, and more but Jey wouldn’t utter the words “I Quit” officials tried to stop the match but Reigns would not let that happen.
Jimmy runs down to the ring to plead for mercy, not just for his brother’s sake but for his cousin’s sake. Jimmy just wanted them to be a family and move past this, Reigns begins to cry and hug his cousin until he locks him into a front face headlock and refused to let go finally with no other choice but to save his brother Jey says those magic words that he said he would never say “I Quit” the match ends and Reigns stands tall wiping the crocodile tears from his face knowing he got one over on his cousins.
Fall in Line or You Are Out of the Family
As Reigns walks up the ramp he sees his Uncle and Father (Afa and Sika) The WWE Hall of Famers The Wild Samoans on the ramp. They both greet him with a hug and a new lay, a lay that signifies him as “The Tribal Chief” The image of a broken family over leadership is amazing to see as these past two months have concluded with Reigns trying to explain to his cousin why he couldn’t be “The face of WWE” but Jey not listening and thinking it’s about winning matches. Reigns used his brother against him knowing what Jey would have to do. Jey was not ready for the levels that his cousin was talking about.
The following week was Jey not wanting to come to terms with the loss. Not just losing but the way he lost and the fact that his cousin and best friend did what he did to win. Reigns not wanting to hear excuses told Jey “Buy the membership, by the end of the line you will fall in line” Reigns rubs his cousin’s shoulder and tells him “I love you” and leaves the ring. By the end of the night that is just what happened as Jey aligned himself with his cousin and fell in line, he turned heel and attacked an innocent Daniel Bryan for the final minutes of Smackdown. What makes this story impressive is that it is straightforward, with no twist and turns and that can be the problem with most WWE television.
There are swerves for the sake of it, I do not know where this goes from here I have a few ideas but this story has been so good that as a fan I do not want to fantasy book it myself. I just want to watch and enjoy, That is why this is the most compelling thing on WWE television right now and fans are clamoring for more. Not everything can be this dark but relatable is what people are looking for. What is more relatable than family drama, and the family taking one side over another and the person side they don’t take feels a certain way about it. There is so much more story to tell but the psychology right now has fans on a roller coaster ride that they are loving.