Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dispatches from the Lake: Webster’s Dictionary Defines Underdog As…

Pictured, an underdog and Roman Reigns
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I didn't want this post to be about Daniel Bryan. I really didn't. But after the very familiar looking ending to Survivor Series, it's impossible not to invoke his specter. If rumor is to be believed (and it really shouldn’t be), WWE is keeping Bryan off the program so as not to interfere with Roman Reigns’ current story. If any part of that ridiculous notion is true, then WWE needs to stop reminding the audience of Bryan. It’s not doing Reigns any favors.

That’s part of the larger problem with Reigns. It’s a level of disconnect beyond Machine Gun Kelly declaring John Cena as one of the biggest underdogs of all time. WWE, have you watched your show? Do you know what an underdog is? I’m starting to think that you don’t. Grab a dictionary! Look it up online! THIS IS NOT A HARD CONCEPT.

Let’s look back to the night after SummerSlam ‘13. The proto-Authority was in the ring, praising Randy Orton’s victory and toasting their genius. The entire roster was forced to watch this group of narcissistic dickheads, knowing they couldn’t do anything or they will lose their jobs. Daniel Bryan got called down to the ring so that he could address Triple H’s betrayal from the night before, but then he got jumped by the Shield, who kept him from getting into the ring. Bryan fought back, because he was full of babyface fire, but he still took the beating. He didn't get to speak, and the Authority celebrated over his charred corpse. At no point during this segment did he get to stand tall over his enemies. That would have to wait about eight months because that’s how you tell a damn story.

There’s some key differences here. Triple H hit Bryan with cheap shot to set up the Orton cash in, and Bryan took a beating the next night with no comeuppance. Bryan is also not the WWE’s ideal ‘Superstar’. An underdog story works for a guy like Bryan.

It doesn’t work for a guy like Reigns. He’s not an underdog. If anything, he’s an idiot. At Survivor Series, Reigns got murked because he was more concerned with spearing Triple H than watching his ass. Why should I feel bad for someone who just attacked his boss without provocation? Just leave him hanging on the handshake. That shit is ice cold, and Reigns doesn’t look stupid for forgetting that Money in the Bank is in play. He did get jumped the following night, but who could predict a surprise Rusev to the face? NO ONE. But Reigns got that back later in the show, but fending off his enemies with a steel chair.

I still think there’s potential to work with the Roman Reigns character. He’s a fun guy to watch in the ring, and when he’s not trying to be Supercool McCleverphrase on the microphone, he can be an engaging promo. Stop looking at your screen like that. Positioning him as an underdog makes no sense, especially when he isn’t allowed to show any kind of weakness. Let the guy show some vulnerability. Because as it stands now, the only thing Reigns reminds me of is John Cena, and I don’t want another ten years of that.