They did it! They actually did it! Roman Reigns is a heel!
WWE essentially confirmed the change in Reigns’ character at its Payback special, following Reigns’ return at SummerSlam last weekend.
Reigns returned after Bray Wyatt beat Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship, spearing both the new champ and the former champ before standing tall as SummerSlam went off the air.
Fast-forward to this past Friday on SmackDown, and Adam Pearce was tasked with finding Reigns and having him sign a contract for a three-way match at Payback, where he would challenge Wyatt for the Universal Title along with Strowman in the main event.
The plotline weaved throughout the show, and when Pearce finally caught up with Reigns, he was sitting in a locker room backstage. Reigns said he would “wreck everything, then leave,” which is apparently his new tagline, and then said he would walk out of Payback as the Universal Champion.
“That’s not a prediction,” he said. “That’s a spoiler.”
And that’s Paul Heyman’s line.
The camera panned to show Reigns sitting next to a grinning Heyman and the show went off the air.
What did that mean? No one was really sure. Viewers thought it was a heel turn and it really was the first “holy shit” moment on WWE television in a while.
But there was plenty of skepticism, which with WWE, is richly deserved.
All concerns were cast aside at Payback. Wyatt and Strowman began the match before Reigns made his entrance and they tore each other apart. After about 15 minutes, Wyatt would superplex Strowman to the mat and the ring collapsed. That’s what brought out Reigns, along with Heyman by his side.
Reigns signed his Payback contract on the ramp and then hit the ring, spearing both wrestlers before finally getting the pin (following a few kickouts) and claiming the Universal Title. The show ended with Reigns celebrating alongside Heyman.
Heel turn, confirmed!
WWE doubled-down on the move at Payback, having Reigns sit out the match at first while the other two wrestlers beat each other up. Reigns taking the opportunity with both men hurt to enter the match and steal the title just cemented his newfound character.
Reigns seemed more comfortable in that spot as well. His facial expressions just felt more natural. His entire demeanor was terrific.
Anyone who watched Reigns in FCW, prior to his main-roster call-up, knows that he can be an effective heel. Now he has the chance.