Bengaluru, September 3: Roman Reigns came back to in-ring competition during WWE Payback 2020 and ended up winning the WWE Universal Championship with the least efforts. He signed the match contract while the match was actually in progress between "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman. He then injected himself fulfilling the Triple Threat quota and speared his way to his fifth world championship reign.
This officially marked the heel turn for the current poster boy of the company. At one point, Roman Reigns obviously used to be the biggest babyface star on SmackDown, but that spot is now empty following the transition of his character.
PWInsider is reporting that the plan going forward to the WWE is that "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt will be the top babyface superstar on the blue brand. On the flip side, Reigns will be the top-most heel on SmackDown, alongside Braun Strowman, who'll also be a top heel on the blue brand leaving AJ Styles' status (the top heel on SmackDown for the past few months) in jeopardy.
It was also noted in that report that a big push is coming on the SmackDown Women's division for Naomi, thanks to the recent #NaomiDeservesBetter trend. She already pinned the SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley during a Beat the Clock challenge and thus should face Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Clash Of Champions. Naomi should be the big babyface name in the women's division from now onwards.
WrestlingNewsco reports that there have been plans for a major character change in Roman Reigns' character since WrestleMania 36, but that got delayed as he opted to pull out of the event amid the coronavirus pandemic. The idea was that beating Goldberg for the Universal Championship in a short match would put a chip on his shoulder.
WWE wanted this factor to be goaded around so that Reigns could possess an 'over the edge' character. The match against Goldberg never happened but the plan for Reigns was put right back on the table when he returned at SummerSlam and beat the hell out of Strowman and The Fiend. Not to mention, Paul Heyman is now by his side who's master of the mind games.
Although he is being positioned as a heel, the backstage feel is that the Big Dog will likely be seen as a fan favorite who would get cheered when fans are allowed back at shows. The goal for him is to be the ultimate babyface and finally get him over to the level of John Cena where he remains a polarizing figure.
The source added that WWE is eventually planning to keep the Universal Title on Roman Reigns for a long time, perhaps until WrestleMania 37 ensuring he remains in the main event scene.
"Vince is not playing around. He wants Roman to hold onto that belt until WrestleMania at least. Everyone knows the fans will cheer him and we all expect him to be a babyface sooner than later but the games with the silly verbiage in promos are done with. Roman will have more input this time with his promos."