Roman Reigns makes his return to the WWE on Sunday, July 24th, and many are speculating that it may finally be time for his long-anticipated heel turn.
So is it going to happen? Or is the WWE taking Reigns in a completely new direction going forward? Let’s take a look at all of the evidence for and against Reigns becoming a bad guy post-Battleground.
The topic of Reigns as a possible heel has been around for months, growing as it became clearer and clearer that the WWE universe was not buying into him as a babyface. His victories are continuously met with boos and chants of “You can’t wrestle,” making many fans wonder why the company does not simply embrace the hate and turn viewers’ dislike of Reigns into a positive thing.
If there’s any time to do that, it’s now. Reigns is about to come back from suspension after he failed a drug test, as he was reportedly using Adderall as a mild performance enhancer. This will likely affect viewers’ opinion of Reigns, and the WWE has made no attempt to sweep the scandal under the rug. In fact, during the first Monday Night Raw to air following the news, Seth Rollins came on the mic and called out Reigns for betraying the entire WWE universe. He also mocked Reigns’ Twitter apology.
All of this led to speculation that Reigns will come back as a heel, with the show perhaps embracing an angle of him being seen as doing anything it takes to win.
“Reigns needs to tell the crowd that he cut corners because he will do anything to win,” Bleacher Report observes. “The Big Dog can shout that he doesn’t care what the fans think, and that he felt everyone turned on him when he got suspended.”
Evidence pointing in this direction includes the fact that Vince McMahon is reportedly quite upset with Roman Reigns due to the superstar’s drug violation. According to Daily Wrestling News, McMahon is beginning to sour on Reigns, with sources saying that the suspension came at the worst possible time, as McMahon was already feeling this way before it happened. The report also notes that McMahon was leaning towards giving Reigns’ push to someone else like Seth Rollins.
Adding onto this is the fact that it’s rumored that Seth Rollins will win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. Even without this report, it seems quite unlikely that Reigns would be allowed to win the title on the same night he returns after abusing drugs. Could all of this mean that Seth Rollins is about to receive a big push, while Roman Reigns is viewed as the bitter, resentful jerk who is willing to cheat in order to get his title back?
There has, however, been some information that conflicts a bit with the Reigns heel turn theory. A previous rumor stated that Reigns would be given a redemption storyline when he returns, with the superstar having to work his way back up to the top again. It could be, then, that instead of being pushed as a heel, Reigns simply won’t receive as much time in the spotlight as he used to, at least until he’s able to prove himself to McMahon again.
Though he does not return until Battleground, Roman Reigns was eligible for the WWE Draft on July 19th’s SmackDown, and he will be sent to Monday Night Raw along with Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose, however, will be separated from his former Shield partners, as The Lunatic Fringe is headed to SmackDown. The three of them will duke it out, perhaps for the final time, at Battleground this weekend.
For more on Battleground, check out our breakdown of the night and predictions on who will win each match: