Pinfall - A WWE Column #002
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Is Shield member Roman Reigns the future of WWE? And is CM Punk really gone? Richard Cosgrove offers his opinion...
With Wrestlemania XXX currently looking heavy on the nostalgia, what with Hulk Hogan and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper seemingly set to have active roles, and rumours of a Ryback / Ultimate Warrior match up, and recent Manias having relied heavily on veteran superstars like The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker and John Cena (who has been at the top long enough to be called a veteran in my book), what of the up and coming talent?
There are undeniably a number of potentially great younger stars climbing the ranks, among them Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and CM Punk (who I'm including despite his apparent recent departure from WWE, which I'll touch on briefly later) but for my money there's one man who is currently leading the pack in terms of potentially being the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and that's Roman Reigns.
Ever since The Shield appeared last year, Reigns has stood out from the group for a number of reasons. Mrs Cosgrove assures me that he's very easy on the eye and without exception I can hear the sound of hearts a fluttering from the female contingent whenever he appears on screen during our wrestling afternoons, but smouldering good looks and tattooed rippling muscles aside, Reigns is one hell of a presence in the ring.
His record breaking number of eliminations at the Royal Rumble (12, beating Kane’s thirteen year record of 11) is a good sign that WWE is about to break up the Shield and give him a push, and my money's on it being as a face. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to see Reigns victorious in a three way title match at Wrestlemania for fellow Shield member Dean Ambrose's US Title, which hasn't been defended since October 2013. (On this point, wasn't there a stipulation some years ago that a title must be defended every 30 days or forfeited? Then again, WWE has always been good at revising / rewriting / ignoring rules when it suits.)
This would provide the perfect stepping stone for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship later in the year, while giving him time to establish himself as a worthy singles competitor, the one thing he's currently short of experience in. As a tag team member, Reigns is a consummate competitor, whether destroying opponents in the ring or glaring moodily at them from the apron, but he needs to get some convincing wins over several of the higher up talent in order to really sell him as a serious contender.
Not that the WWE audiences will need much convincing,however, if the pop Reigns enjoyed when he got down to the last two in the Rumble with Batista is anything to go by. Though logic dictated that the returning wrestler would be the last man standing in order to secure his title shot at Mania, there were a few minutes when both the Rumble audience and the Cosgrove household dared to think that Reigns might just win it.
With the WWE Universe behind him, his devastatingly handsome looks, and his superb moves in the ring – he's made the spear his own, surpassing even Edge in terms of becoming synonymous with a signature move, and his Superman Punch is nothing short of awesome both in terms of delivery and entertainment value – I'm tagging Roman Reigns for big things in 2014, and should the Phenom be around at Wrestlmania XXXI, I wouldn't even rule out a showdown between these two powerhouses.
Turning briefly to CM Punk before we wrap this column up, I'm genuinely torn between believing that his departure is genuine, given that it fits perfectly with his demeanour and makes sense that he could have reached his breaking point knowing that while John Cena is around (which he looks like being for a good few years yet) then nobody else will get a look in as the WWE's number one face, and it being an elaborate work.
Why a work? Well Punk has been looking very tired lately, and so by giving him time off to recuperate by making it look as though he’s thrown a strop and stomped off like a belligerent brat might also give WWE the opportunity to turn him heel again. Consider also that RAW is being held in his home town of Chicago on 3rd March, just a month before Wrestlemania, which would provide the perfect opportunity for him to come roaring back in front of his home crowd and throwing down the gauntlet to somebody, perhaps Triple H, for a match. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but stranger things have happened in the WWE.
See you back here shortly for some thoughts on the Phenom.
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