It's pretty clear that Reigns is going to defeat Lesnar and win the Universal Championship on Sunday, blowing off stories that go back as far as Wrestlemania 30 in 2014. Does this mean he's finally going to be booked as the ace babyface that he's supposedly been for the last two or three years? He's obviously been booked as a top star - defeating HHH and Undertaker in Mania main events is proof of that - but he's never had the extended run as the top champion that one would expect from a babyface ace. The closest he's ever come to that was in 2016 when he beat HHH for the title and then had the excellent feud with AJ Styles but the Adderal suspension derailed that run. It''s unfortunately because that was probably the best presentation of his character since the main event push began in 2015.
With that being said, is there a chance now that we'll get the title run they've held off on for all these years? The potential opponents are in place for it to be a truly legendary run, a la Cena in 2006-07. In fact, the potential feuds they could run would easily be enough for a great year long title reign or longer - Rollins, Balor, Joe, Strowman, Ambrose, Cena, Lashley if he comes in, Miz could be a transitional challenger, whoever gets called up from NXT and transferred from Smackdown could be in the mix too. There's a good mix there of faces and heels that a polarised crowd could whip up a great atmosphere for. He's still not universally over as a babyface but the Lesnar angles have gotten us to a point where more fans are vocally in favour of Reigns than ever before, recreating the hot dynamic Cena had going. There's also a healthy mix of challengers that you could easily feed him and opponents who are worthy of big time feuds and matches. I feel like the stars are aligning for something special here that would really make the guy seem like the man in WWE.
The second question is whether WWE are interested in this sort of booking anymore. We've all talked about how the brand is the star above any of the individuals on numerous occasions. It's also really striking to me how heel-dominated WWE's main event scene has been for years now. This was a promotion that was traditionally babyface orientated - Bruno, Backlund, Hogan, Bret, Shawn (the Attitude era was more hot shot) and Cena all got those career defining babyface title runs but we've not really had one since perhaps all the way back in 2007 with John proving himself as the top star.
Are WWE no longer interested in booking this way? Is the top babyface ace as we've previously understood it an outmoded concept? Or have they simply been waiting til the time and the person are right in their eyes to be in that postion post-Cena?
I for one think it'll be refreshing to see a proper top-dog ace title run for the first time in years after long periods of chickenshit heels and the part-time Lesnar.