There aren’t many marquee matches left in the WWE. Often times WrestleMania-worthy matches are spoiled on Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live with no build up whatsoever. One match that fans have been craving to see is Roman Reigns and John Cena. For those who may not know, Roman Reigns has been quite the controversial character in the company. He has been resented for retiring The Undertaker (a legend in the business) and for receiving a “push” (constantly winning matches) for years now, with the impression that he is the next top guy.
While there has been speculation that Roman and Cena would do battle at next year’s WrestleMania, the match has now been confirmed for the No Mercy pay-per-view on September 24th. No Mercy is a great pay-per-view, don’t get me wrong, but the company is really failing to capitalize on a big money feud between two of the most controversial stars in professional wrestling. A feud that has started over Roman Reigns essentially being a carbon copy of John Cena has resulted in must-watch television and has me on the edge of my seat waiting for what is going to happen next.
As much as I’m enjoying the build-up, however, it just doesn’t feel right. There is something electric between Reigns and Cena. They both are unique entities to the company and there is no doubt in my mind that they are going to tear it up. For them to just throw it away on a pay-per-view that isn’t one of the “big four” (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series) is a missed opportunity at making the big bucks. They both have what is known as the “draw factor”: Reigns and Cena put bottoms in seats. Both of them have great merchandise sales and often the main event for house shows (non-televised events). This match needs to happen at WrestleMania though. Both of these men are too good to be wasted away on a meaningless pay-per-view. There is a chance that they won’t even main event, as Brock Lesnar is scheduled to defend his Universal Championship against Braun Strowman.
Having this build-up occur in January (which is arguably the best time to be watching and the start of the “WrestleMania season”) allows Cena and Reigns to draw out their feud and not rush it like they currently are doing. Cena’s surprise return to Raw was simply explained by him wanting to have a match with Roman Reigns. Typically, that would happen at the start of the WrestleMania season. It just doesn’t feel right for early September. This feud is overshadowing Brock and Braun, which should be the focal storyline for Monday Night Raw considering it revolves around the Universal Championship (Raw’s world title) and Brock Lesnar himself is a “special attraction” since he only appears on occasion.
This missed opportunity will result in an increased subscriber count for the WWE Network, don’t get me wrong, but for them not to have this match occur at WrestleMania is a mistake. Whether or not this feud will be a one-off match or a continuous feud for the months to come is a big question, and fans will have to wait and see what happens at No Mercy to find out.