On June 21st, 2016, Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 Days for violating the company’s Wellness Policy. This is Reigns’ first infraction but because of his position in the company, the news of his suspension made headlines as several sports, wrestling, and celebrity news websites made articles and blogs about the suspension and its implications. Information after the fact has come out and it has been speculated that his violation was the reason as to why he was defeated clean by Seth Rollins at the Money in the Bank PPV. And while this makes a lot of sense, the decision to suspend him at this time while being booked in a main event for the next PPV seems confusing with him not being on TV to help build for the match.
With that in mind, this has led to fan speculation about both the severity of what substance or infraction got him suspended as well as whether or not he should be allowed to compete in the main event so soon after his suspension. Some fans think it will show a lack of bias and will send the right message while others think any further punishment might be a bit much for his first infraction.
So, to argue both viewpoints, this article will look into the eight Pros and eight Cons of taking Roman Reigns out of the main event as punishment for violating the Wellness Policy.
16 Pro - Fans are Tired of Him
After the breakup of The Shield, fans were open to the idea of Roman Reigns becoming a top guy and becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Reigns’ character in late 2014 was exactly what would be needed to get him over as his repeated exposure in the main event only helped him to improve in all areas where needed.
However, after being booked in favor of Daniel Bryan and all other members of The Shield and the inconsistent booking of his character, Reigns popularity amongst fans began to waiver and by the time the 2016 Royal Rumble came around, a large portion of the audience began booing him at every turn. So with the news of his suspension comes an opportunity for the WWE Creative team to rehab Reigns character by keeping him out of the main event for a while. It may be a cheap reason to take him out of the main event, but it’s an opportunity that could prove beneficial to both the WWE and Reigns.
15 Con - A Heel Turn Would Fix That
Even though taking him out of the main event scene would help with some of the problems with his character and booking, a heel turn would be an even better solution to that problem. While Roman Reigns does have some fan support at the moment, the fact remains that the situations revolving around Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will make it nearly impossible for Reigns to get cheered. After all, Rollins in-ring style had been missed while he was away for months and Ambrose just finally got his chance as a World Champion, putting a mainstay in the main event like Roman Reigns up against those two won’t work any better to get Roman cheered.
So instead of fighting the audience, the WWE might as well embrace the opportunity to turn Reigns into one of the biggest heels in the company and leave him in the main event picture. If his match against Rollins at Money in the Bank showed anything, it was that Reigns seems naturally better to work a heel in-ring style, as even some of his NXT moments as a heel feel way more natural than some of his John Cena-esque promos. As a face, Reigns can only hope for a mixed reaction, but as a heel he would be able to thrive on the reactions much better.
14 Pro - It's Deserved
Roman Reigns has been in the spotlight even before The Shield broke up. Whether it was being the only member of the group to beat CM Punk, the record breaker for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble, or being deemed as the leader by the commentators, the WWE has shown inklings of the push that was to come. Three years later and Roman Reigns, despite an inconsistent character, is probably top five amongst Superstars from a credibility and win-loss standpoint. He’s beaten some of the biggest names the WWE has to offer and is pushed despite some of the fans backlash. And for all that effort and hard work by others to make Reigns look his best, he essentially spit in their faces by ruining his reputation and bringing the WWE negative press.
Looking back at 2015 alone, the WWE had a number of press nightmares occurring already and for a man who was being groomed to be the face of the company. to not live up to the standard he was being held at. is a big problem and it'll set a good example to penalize him.
13 Con - It's His First Offense
While it is true that the WWE put a lot of time and effort into making Roman Reigns into a star, the fact remains that this is just his first offense. Having already lost the title, Reigns is already being punished as most people probably didn’t expect him to lose his title until SummerSlam or later. The fans have pretty much been giving him hell non-stop since the news broke about his suspension and he now has to sit at home while other wrestlers are given his limelight. Reigns went from a top star with a mixed fan response to suspended guy with implications of drug abuse in less than a week, so it’s safe to say that his punishment has been pretty severe already.
Another thing to take into account is the Wellness Policy Forgiveness Program that was implanted in 2013 that will more than likely be used immediately upon Reigns return to work. So with all the things that have happened to him so far, maybe the punishment he’s received is punishment enough.
12 Pro - Puts His Ego in Check
By continuing to punish Roman Reigns and removing him from the main event scene until a later time, the WWE will be able to keep his ego in check at an early start. As stated previously, a lot of time and energy has been invested to make Roman Reigns a top guy in the WWE and the fact that he was at the top of the mountain and thought it would be cool to violate the WWE’s policies could speak to the belief of Reigns as an arrogant person who views himself as better than everyone else. Those are just assumptions, as there's no definitive evidence to prove he's arrogant, just fan thoughts.
Upon his return to the WWE, keeping Reigns in the main event may enable him to think that there’s little to no repercussions for his actions. However, taking Reigns out of the main event will show him the immediate ramifications of his actions by knocking him down a few notches. It wouldn’t help WWE with their current dilemma in regards to their storylines, but it could help Reigns to think more about how his actions affect himself and others.
11 Con - Seems Somewhat Humbled Already
Even though taking Roman Reigns out of the main event will put any ego he has in check, the tweet he sent out following the news of his suspension may indicate some form of humbleness. As a top guy in the WWE and one of the biggest stars the WWE has to offer, Reigns could’ve easily went to any of the wrestling podcast or radio shows that exist or tweet out an explanation himself to clear up any misconceptions or to defend himself for violating the policy.
Instead, Reigns has only tweeted out the message about owning his mistake and apologizing to his friends, family, and employer; a brilliant PR move.
I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) June 21, 2016
Now this could indicate that his violation involved a very serious drug, but it could also mean that Reigns just realized how stupid of a decision he made. If that is the case, then giving him another chance shouldn’t be too far-fetched of an idea.
10 Pro - Protects WWE from Further Fallout
Ever since Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble match instead of Daniel Bryan, some of the fans have been relentless in condemning the WWE for pushing Reigns a particular way, doing certain things with his character that don’t make sense, or just pushing him altogether.
So with the news of his suspension comes another thing that the fans can rip both WWE and Reigns for in regards to his push and all the protection he has backstage. By taking Reigns out of the main event, the WWE can avoid looking like they would be brushing this under the rug in an attempt to continue pushing Reigns despite his actions and some of the fans response to him. As stated earlier, the negative press brought onto the company over the past few years has been trouble enough for the WWE and to make light of a Superstar violating the Wellness Policy could potentially make it even worse, especially if there is to be a second infraction at some point in the future. Better for WWE to do it now and save face, then to do it later on with even more eyes on them for continuing Reigns’ push.
9 Con - Could Cause Further Speculation
Punishing Roman Reigns further may help WWE from looking like their brushing off a major infraction, but it could also hurt Reigns’ reputation even further. While Reigns has already been suspended, the cause of his suspension is unknown to people outside of the WWE. This had led to several rumors and guesses as to what it could’ve been for. Some have been mild like wrestling with a concussion or smoking weed, while others are more serious like steroid allegations or other drugs. But regardless of which infraction led to his suspension, the fact remains that punishing him further will only make matters worse and will more than likely compel some people to speculate even further as to what his infraction may be or the seriousness of it.
Now no one is saying that the WWE should put the belt back on him as soon as he gets back, but taking him out of the main event scene could potentially make a bad situation even worse for both the company and Reigns.
8 Pro - Provides Another Wrestler an Opportunity
Removing Roman Reigns from the main event picture will make his suspension even more noticeable to the WWE audience and won’t help him much, but it could help by providing another wrestler an opportunity to showcase their ability. For example, if they had removed from the Battleground main event, the WWE audience would lose out on their Shield dream match, but that match may be put on hold for a bigger PPV like WrestleMania.
In the meantime, the WWE could provide another opportunity for a wrestler by placing them in the main event and giving them a little more credibility by being in the ring with the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the two-time former World Champion. A guy without any direction like Cesaro or any of the upper midcarders on the current roster could be inserted into the match to help build themselves up a little further.
7 Con - Wouldn't Work with Current Roster
Simply being in World Championship matches doesn’t really elevate you that much and this is especially true for PPVs. Now for Raw or SmackDown episodes, championship defenses against less qualified opponents is fine because it provides the fans with a free World Championship match while establishing the fact that a certain wrestler can compete on a main event level. However, doing so on PPV won’t help this current roster because majority of the roster is filled with wrestlers without character, motivation, or credibility.
Kevin Owens is a good heel, but who has he beaten since John Cena that matters? When was the last time Sami Zayn won a match that mattered? Aside from beating Chris Jericho (like everyone does), who has Cesaro beaten? The list goes on and on but the fact remains that Roman Reigns is a Superstar with credibility to casual fans and the rest are not. In fact, Reigns is even more credible as a main eventer than Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins because of how he's been booked.
6 Pro - Makes Reigns Feel the Long-Term Impact of His Actions
As alluded to earlier, taking Roman Reigns out of the main event will increase the punishment that has already fallen on him and will help Reigns to feel the weight of his decision, which he needs to understand to be a top star. Despite some fans wishes, Reigns will more than likely still be a big star in the company regardless of this infraction. Whether he's punished further or not, the WWE will more than likely continue to use him as a big star.
So with that in mind, wouldn't it be better for the WWE to punish Reigns further and show him what will happen if he continues to violate WWE’s rules and regulations? Reigns will be promoted as one of WWE’s top stars no matter what, so a steeper punishment now may help to show him that more severe punishments would come down the line. Whether it be less money offered in contracts, less TV time and exposure, or whatever Reigns considers important, feeling the full impact of a stupid decision could only serve to help him.
5 Con - More Punishment Can Come Later
With all that in mind, any further punishment the WWE wants to deal out on Reigns can simply be delivered at a later point in time. Reigns is in the middle of a huge storyline that can help to increase the interest in the WWE product right now and to ruin it because of a stupid decision by Reigns would be of a huge disservice to the fans who want to see the dream match between The Shield take place and want to see this feud take place over the next few months.
If there is to be further punishment, it could simply be given later. An example of this would be when Jack Swagger, a less prominent Superstar, who as arrested and got suspended after his match with Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania. And while that was a delay of the suspension itself, the WWE could utilize a similar tactic to punish Roman Reigns further. After all, the WWE isn’t beholden to anyone so they can pretty much do whatever they want whenever they want. Maybe after SummerSlam, they can push him down the card a little and let other stars into the main event scene.
4 Pro - WWE Isn't Biased
Among all of the reasons, this would help the WWE the most. By punishing Roman Reigns further, the WWE would show a lack of bias in how they do things in regards to their main event talent. Several top tier superstars such as Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and a few others have violated the policy and the WWE didn’t rush to put those men back into the title picture or immediately into a high profile feud. By taking Reigns out of the main event scene, the WWE will show the fans and the critics that no one is above reproach in the WWE, regardless of their stature in the company. While there may be biased booking, which only makes sense, they can show that the health and wellness of the wrestlers is of a big priority to the company. The WWE wellness program has come under a lot of scrutiny over the past few years and while the punishments are set in stone, having a further punishment would show that health is still one of the WWE’s main focus and that they will do anything to drive that message home.
3 Con - We Get More Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins Matches
While showing a lack of bias is important, the fact remains that the end result might not be much better. If Roman Reigns is taken out of the main event scene, then the WWE will have a match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at Battleground and they will likely continue to feud after the Brand Split. Since the idea of replacing him has already been discussed, the focus of this point will be how more Ambrose-Rollins matches aren't that interesting. The biggest thing about The Shield all being in the ring at the same time fighting over the championship is that it has never happened before, whereas individual matches between all three members have happened numerous times.
Ambrose versus Rollins has happened on numerous episodes of Raw, SmackDown, PPVs, and Network Exclusives. And while some of their matches were really good, we've already seen a bunch of them and want new looks. Leaving Reigns in the main event scene would be interesting, as we've never seen the three Shield members feud at the same time.
2 Pro - Sends a Strong Message
Perhaps the biggest reason as to why the WWE should take him out of the main event is because it will send a strong message. Not only will it show that the WWE is unbiased when it comes to who violates their rules and regulations, but it will show that anyone, regardless of status, can be punished for making the company look bad. The 30-Day Suspension probably is punishment enough but the WWE taking Reigns out of the main event scene will show all the members of the WWE locker room that the Wellness Policy is one of the most important things that wrestlers need to abide by and failing to do so will result in you losing your push and being in the dog house.
Not punishing Reigns further could send a bad message to the locker room that the top stars are to be handled differently than midcarders and less important wrestlers. By taking him out of the main event and taking away some of his momentum, wrestlers in the WWE would learn that anyone can be punished and everyone will be punished for bringing negative press, endangering yourself, and endangering your fellow employees.
1 Con - Messes Up The Story
The fact remains that while Roman Reigns is a top star and removing him would send a very strong message about the seriousness of violating the Wellness Policy, taking him out of the main event scene will severely impact the story being told between all three members of The Shield. They competed together at the 2015 edition of Payback in a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship involving Randy Orton, but that match wouldn’t deliver the same spectacle as seeing all three members of The Shield on their own each fighting to be called champion.
The Shield are some of the biggest stars the WWE has created since the PG Era began and seeing them fight for the World Title is a dream feud for many.