Roman Reigns picked up an emotional victory over Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 35, but the face of WWE wasn't present for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
His Shield counterparts - Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose - both made appearances. The former would team up with new WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, and the two defeated The Bar. Ambrose made perhaps his final apperarance in WWE, where he was brutally attacked by Bobby Lashley.
So why wasn't Reigns there for the big show after WrestleMania 35? According to Brad Shepard of the Oh, You Didn’t Know podcast (h/t Ringside News), WWE wasn't sure what kind of crowd reaction Reigns would get, so the decision was made to keep him away from Raw on Monday.
Shepard cited the fans' negative reception towards the McIntyre-Reigns match at WrestleMania 35, pointing out "Raw after Mania crowd is brutal." With that, WWE simply decided to play it safe and not have Reigns potentially face an unwelcoming crowd.
Reigns has received warmer crowd receptions since revealing his leukemia diagnosis in October, but clearly, WWE still wants better. He didn't have that many cheers before, during and after his match against McIntyre. So really, it's anybody's guess what kind of reaction Reigns will garner down the road.
Now, Rollins vs. McIntyre is being advertised for the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. As for Reigns, he's being advertised for a match against Baron Corbin - who has worked in an alliance with McIntyre. Corbin promises to receive more negative fan reactions after retiring Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 35, so Reigns is in prime position to receive more friendly crowd reactions now.
What This Means
WWE is obviously still bent on pushing Reigns more and more until he fully gets over with the fans. Right now, Rollins is the No. 1 guy. He's the Universal Champion and his popularity continues to reach new heights. It'll be interesting to see how WWE goes about booking Reigns down the road, as they continue to try and win him the fan support.