The vast majority of WWE fans were shocked to hear that Roman Reigns had been suspended on Tuesday for 30 days due to his first violation of the company's Talent Wellness policy. Despite disbelief, the news was reported on WWE.com which immediately solidified the truth in the report.
Reigns himself would take to twitter to address his fans as he tweeted the following:
This suspension will affect the company in a number of major ways. Ever since the WWE faction The Shield broke up, all three of its members (Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose) have carved out incredibly successful careers for themselves as singles competitors.
With Rollins being perhaps the most technically gifted in the ring -- he has been set up to be the next Shawn Michaels type of character -- while Ambrose is starting to have major success with his "Lunatic Fringe" gimmick. However, many WWE fans were unhappy to learn WWE was forcibly positioning Reigns as the next face of the company.
Despite backlash, boos, and online venting (none of which Reigns deserves -- he's a skilled athlete and it's not his fault that WWE are pulling the strings), WWE still seem hellbent on making Reigns the next John Cena. Many fans were happy to get a break from Reigns, but this 30 day suspension arguably couldn't have come at a worse time, let's take a look at how it could affect the WWE going forward.
The Reigns/Ambrose Friendship Angle
Ever since The Shield went their separate ways, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns have remained buddies. Some were unhappy with this angle as Ambrose, who is supposed to be an unstable lunatic, shouldn't have been a sidekick to anybody, let alone "the next big good guy" Roman Reigns.
However, after Reigns lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Seth Rollins at WWE's Money In The Bank last Sunday, Dean Ambrose cashed in his newly won Money in the Bank contract on Rollins, winning the championship in the process. The following night, in order to assure his dominance as champion, Ambrose took out Reigns with Dirty Deeds and then did the same to Rollins.
With Reigns gone for 30 days, the inevitable "You betrayed me and I was your friend" angle will not get to play out. This could have made for some great TV promos and fights in the buildup to the eventual match, mainly because Ambrose would have been given the edge over Reigns (something that has never happened in their previous altercations).
The WWE Draft
With the debut of SmackDown! live on USA Network on July 19th, 2016, WWE will officially welcome in a new era. Much like they successfully did back in 2002, their flagship shows RAW and SmackDown! will once again become two separate brands, each featuring their own unique roster of superstars and commentary teams.
With the draft set to take place on the season premiere of SmackDown, we know that Reigns' suspension will not expire by then and thus, he will not be a part of that live broadcast. Moreover, he will not be present as his future is decided and will not be able to appear on which ever show he ends up on until after the suspension.
Difficulty Writing Him Off TV
Despite strong opposition, Roman Reigns has been billed as the company's main headliner for quite some time now. With John Cena's absence, the company relied heavily on the rising star. He won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32, defended the title on every Pay-Per-View since, and just lost it to his former-friend-turned-bitter-enemy on Sunday night.
Then his best friend cashed in on said enemy to win the championship. Now, he is supposed to have a chance to reclaim his title at WWE Battleground next month. So the character of Roman Reigns has a lot going on at the moment. Thus, with so much emphasis on the character, how on earth are WWE supposed to write him off TV for 30 days?
More Superstars Could Rise Up
With the WWE battling declining ratings and ticket sales, the last thing they needed was to lose one of their headliners. Sure, Seth Rollins has returned from injury but they still didn't need Reigns' absence right now. Thus, in his absence, could WWE finally begin to rely on the stars that fans have adored for a long time now instead of shoving their own hand-chosen favorites at them?
Furthermore, with the draft, there have been rumors that WWE will be calling up the upcoming talent from NXT to appear on either RAW or SmackDown! and beef up the rosters. Reigns' suspension could be the perfect indication that WWE should get the ball rolling on this.
On the Other Hand, Legends May Return
It is common knowledge that when WWE's ratings begin to fall or ticket sales are low, they heavily rely on major legends and stars to add star power to the bill and thus increase ratings and sales. Now that Reigns is absent and ticket sales were already starting to fall, could WWE turn to their legends to once again stabilize things? Perhaps one legend in particular.
It is common knowledge that WWE legend the Undertaker wrestles once a year at their premiere event, WrestleMania. However, he shocked the world last summer when he appeared from the darkness and cost old rival Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. He and Lesnar would go on to headline SummerSlam and for the first time ever, it was treated almost like WrestleMania. Although rumor has it that the Undertaker has apparently told Vince McMahon that he is retired, reports have suggested Vince has again contacted him with an idea for an appearance at this year's SummerSlam. Could the Deadman save WWE one more time?
With Brock Lesnar due to return soon, fresh off a bout at UFC 200, that should give the company a much-needed boost, but the question is: Will we hear the Undertaker's signature gong this summer?
The Shield Triple Threat at Battleground
This is the most important point. With Reigns' suspension looming over it, the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between all three former members of the Shield is set for WWE Battleground. This is a WrestleMania main-event calibre match and many worry that Reigns' suspension will hinder it coming to fruition. However, his suspension will expire just days before Battleground so it's possible that he will be there. However, according to Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio, many of WWE's top officials knew about Reigns' violation of the policy before Money In The Bank which may have influenced Reigns' ultimate loss of the title.
Thus, if they did know and willingly set up the Triple Threat match for Battleground afterwards, perhaps they intend to include his suspension in the storyline? To be honest, because of the anticipation surrounding this match, it should have been saved for SummerSlam and Reigns' suspension allows the perfect chance for Ambrose vs. Rollins at Battleground and to save the Triple Threat for SummerSlam.
Roman Reigns' suspension is going to be a blow that is felt by the WWE. Even if they write it into the storyline, Reigns' fans will still be unhappy that he will be no longer onscreen for the next few weeks. Although WWE have to stick by their wellness policy, Reigns' absence will have a significant effect on their programming, at least for the next month. It's certainly going to be an intriguing month for the WWE Universe.