After Payback tonight, WWE fans are speculating that Roman Reigns may be kept off of television for the next few weeks.
At the end of the April 30th pay-per-view, Braun Strowman won clean, proceeding to brutalize Roman Reigns long after the match officially ended. The show concluded with Strowman driving the steel steps into Roman Reigns’ chest, and Reigns coughed up blood into the ring.
The action continued after the pay-per-view itself ended, with Roman Reigns limping backstage and being attacked by Strowman one last time before he could enter an ambulance.
Earlier this month, the WWE had Braun Strowman attack Roman Reigns in an incredibly over-the-top fashion, and this set up a Roman Reigns hiatus; after Strowman went after Reigns and tipped over his ambulance, it was stressed that Roman was seriously hurt, and fans speculated that this would keep him off of television until Payback. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened.
Tonight, Roman Reigns’ kayfabe injuries were theoretically far worse than they were earlier this month, as this time, he was bleeding internally and coughed up blood several times. If the previous attack kept him off of television for three weeks, wouldn’t this attack take him out of action for a similar, if not even longer, length of time?
Plus, giving Roman Reigns some time off makes some degree of sense when we look at the WWE’s rumored plans for the Universal Championship title. The plan is reportedly to have Braun Strowman face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Great Balls of Fire. It has already been announced that this July pay-per-view is when Lesnar will defend his championship for the first time. And on a recent episode of Raw, Strowman said that he was going to destroy Roman Reigns in order to prove himself to Brock Lesnar, something he has now successfully done.
This all seems to set up a situation where Roman Reigns is absent for several weeks as a feud between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman is built. Then, Reigns interferes in the match between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman, costing Strowman the victory.
Keeping Roman off television for some time would help delay the storyline that the WWE is also seemingly working towards: a feud between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, which will reportedly lead into the main event of WrestleMania 34. Besides, giving Roman time off will cool the crowd off following their post-WrestleMania hatred for Reigns. This already seems to be working, as the crowd at Payback was far less hostile towards Reigns than the crowd on the Raw after WrestleMania was, although they still did chant “You deserve it!” at a man who was coughing up blood.
If over two months seems like a long time to not have Roman Reigns on WWE television, it’s also possible that he could be kept on break just until Extreme Rules, the next Raw exclusive pay-per-view that airs on June 4th. It would certainly be strange if Roman walked into Monday Night Raw with barely any injuries and just went back to wrestling, especially after being taken out of action for three weeks following a similar attack.
We’ll get a much better sense of where this whole storyline is going when we see whether Roman Reigns shows up tomorrow on Monday Night Raw.