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WNS Column: The Pros & Cons of Roman Reigns Winning the Intercontinental Title
Posted By: Caylon Knox on Nov 24, 2017
As seen on this week's edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns captured the prestigious WWE Intercontinental Championship, thus making him one of only a few WWE Grand Slam Champions of the modern era. As many fans are aware, the current definition of a WWE Grand Slam Champion is someone who has held the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, a Tag Team Championship, and a World Championship, either the WWE Championship, the Universal Championship, or the now-retired World Heavyweight Championship.
Former Intercontinental Champion The Miz has done an amazing job of elevating the Intercontinental Championship over the past few years. Between his incredible promos and the amazing string of championship matches he's had, The Miz has easily been the greatest Intercontinental Champion of at least the past 10 to 15 years, and he would have to be in the conversation as being one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. And now Roman Reigns has the potential to elevate the Intercontinental Championship even higher.
Roman Reigns is a former one-time United States Champion, one-time Tag Team Champion, 2015 Royal Rumble Match Winner, a three-time WWE World Champion, and has headlined the past three WrestleManias in a row. WWE has made it very clear over the past several years that they consider Roman Reigns to be the heir apparent to John Cena as the face of the company. With the exception of current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Reigns has to be considered the top Superstar on the WWE roster at this point. Despite the fact that the WWE Universe seems to have mixed feelings about Reigns (much like John Cena throughout his entire career), the fact of the matter is that Roman Reigns has been established as being "The Guy" in WWE for the foreseeable future.
Reigns's current position in the company, combined with his previous championship wins, as well as the list of Superstars he's defeated, really helps add legitimacy to the Intercontinental Championship. Winning an Intercontinental or United States Championship should never be considered a "demotion" for any Superstar at any point in their career. Countless World Champions, main eventers, and Hall of Famers have held both of those championships throughout the years, and it's often been said that "the title doesn't make the guy, the guy makes the title." As was previously mentioned, The Miz has done a fantastic job of making the Intercontinental Championship mean something in WWE, perhaps more so than it has since the 1990's. But considering the fact that Roman Reigns obviously has a higher position within the company than The Miz, keeping the Intercontinental Title on Reigns for a while could actually put the Title in the same vein as Raw's Universal Championship or SmackDown Live's WWE Championship.
Whether or not fans want to admit it, Roman Reigns has demonstrated over the years that he is more than capable of having spectacular matches. And his unique crowd reactions (again, much like John Cena) only adds to the big-fight atmosphere of a Roman Reigns match. Imagine what Reigns could do for the Intercontinental Championship in matches against the likes of The Miz, John Cena, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus, Cesaro, Finn Balor, The Big Show, even guys like Elias Samson and Jason Jordan. Reigns could have excellent title matches with all of those guys.
Also keeping in mind that Universal Champion Brock Lesnar only works a part-time schedule, the Intercontinental Championship is pretty much the championship on Monday Night Raw when Lesnar isn't around. It takes a strong performer to carry the title and make it worth something in the eyes of the fans. Roman Reigns could be the one who makes the Intercontinental Championship appear equal to WWE's two World Championships.
On one hand, Roman's Intercontinental Title win is extremely good, or at least it could be. But on the other hand, it sort of backs Reigns into a corner.
At this point in his career, you can already start to say that there really isn't much that Reigns hasn't done. Roman Reigns has headlined WrestleMania three straight years in a row, and has defeated two WWE icons in the form of Triple H and The Undertaker at those events. He's also defeated John Cena, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Mark Henry, Finn Balor, Alexander Rusev, The Big Show and Sheamus. Besides Brock Lesnar, there's hardly anybody left on the main roster at the moment who Reigns hasn't defeated at this point.
Although Reigns could have some epic battles with all of those performers over the Intercontinental Championship, there's really not much fresh competition left for Reigns at this point from the main roster. The NXT roster certainly has a lot of stars that Reigns has yet to face, but he's already beaten nearly everybody on the main roster at this point.
The only thing that Reigns hasn't done at this point is win a Money in the Bank briefcase, though it seems almost certain that this will be an accolade that they'll give him at some point in the future. But to win the Intercontinental Championship and complete the Grand Slam at this stage in his career just makes it to where you can say that Reigns has "already been there and done that" when it comes to just about everything in WWE.
There are still quite a few Superstars though that Reigns has yet to square off against. He's never faced Bill Goldberg. He's never faced his own cousin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He's never faced Shinsuke Nakamura. He's never faced Bobby Roode. He's never faced Baron Corbin. From the current NXT roster, he could have some great rivalries against the likes of reigning NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas, former NXT Champion Drew McIntyre, Lars Sullivan, Aleister Black, Roderick Strong, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Kassius Ohno, Adam Cole, Oney Lorcan, Killian Dain, maybe even the rather eccentric Velveteen Dream (Velveteen's rivalry with Aleister Black has been pretty good, so it might not be out of the question).
For the time being however, WWE really doesn't have much fresh competition left for Reigns. Over the next year or so, who could Reigns possibly go against (and likely defeat) that he hasn't already faced before? The Raw roster is loaded with a lot of very talented Superstars that Reigns can have great matches with, but there aren't very many who would be truly new and fresh competition for Reigns.
Elias Samson could be a very intriguing opponent for Reigns. His promos are great, his in-ring work is pretty decent, and he seems to be fairly over with the crowd. A heel Jason Jordan could even be a decent feud for Reigns, depending on how they have Jordan portray the heel character. Although they have wrestled each other before, Samoa Joe would be an excellent challenger for Roman's Intercontinental Title. So would Finn Balor, especially under his "Demon King" persona.
It will be interesting to see what WWE's long-term plans are for both Roman Reigns and the Intercontinental Championship. The rumor has been for a long time now that Reigns is penciled in to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34. Could we possibly see a Champion vs. Champion Match at WrestleMania? Only time will tell.
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