When Roman Reigns proved to be The Big Dog at WrestleMania 33, it was supposed to signify a change in attitude. The old guard was gone. This was his yard now.
A losing streak followed.
Braun Strowman defeated Reigns at Payback. Following that, Reigns failed to win a six-way number one contenders match at Extreme Rules. Another loss to Strowman, this time at Great Balls of Fire, was followed by another failure to capture the Universal title, losing a four-way at SummerSlam.
If Vince McMahon and company wanted to established Reigns as the new dominant force in WWE following WrestleMania, they had a weird way of showing it. October proved to be a turning point for Reigns. Beating The Undertaker in the main event of WrestleMania was a pretty big deal. How could he top it?
By beating John Cena on a single brand pay-per-view, third from the top. The decision to run Cena-Reigns on a random October event was questionable at best. It was a match that should have been reserved for at least SummerSlam. But with lacking interest in single brand events, WWE felt they need to deliver with a big match.
Cena and Reigns spent weeks rehashing the same material Cena and The Rock used years ago. The former Doctor of Thuganomics trucked Reigns on the microphone, but that wasn't surprising. Reigns' best work has always come when his fist is cocked, not holding a mic.
Reigns defeated Cena, further cementing himself as the new face of the company. Until Strowman decided he wasn't finished with him.
Unable to deal with Strowman on his own, Reigns turned to some former friends. Re-uniting The Shield confused fans who wanted to boo The Big Dog, but cheer The Architect and The Lunatic. Unfortunately for WWE, The Shield re-boot was short lived. Reigns suffered a viral infection and proved to be expendable. He was replaced by Kurt Angle at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Shortly after returning, Dean Ambrose suffered an injury that has kept him out since December. The group disbanded shortly after, setting Reigns off on his road to WrestleMania.
He was runner-up at the Royal Rumble, again, before surviving (and then getting destroyed by) Strowman to win the Elimination Chamber. The Chamber victory set-up the rematch three years in the making. Reigns-Lesnar: Tug-O-War 2
WWE tried to turn the crowd against the Universal champion by pointing out that he "Vince's boy" and that he was a "part-time bastard." It didn't exactly work. When he showed up, Lesnar decimated Reigns at every turn in the build to their WrestleMania rematch.
We all thought we knew what would happen at WrestleMania 34. It was expected to be a WrestleMania 31 rehash, without the Seth Rollins cash in.
Whether you believe the finish was changed a week before, a day before, minutes before, or during the match is up to you. The end result was the same. Brock Lesnar laid another beatdown on Roman Reigns, finishing him with a clean (minus the blood) pin in the middle of the ring.
For four years WWE has tried to make Reigns the leading man in their longest running weekly episodic television show in history. Whether it was the popularity of another superstar, a failed drug test, an unforeseen injury, poor character development, or any other of the 500 reasons you can come up with, the result was the same: Fans rejected Reigns.
The fourth year of the coronation is simply on hold for a couple of weeks. At the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, Reigns will get his rematch with Lesnar. Most expect him to win, but no one knows why it's happening. Including Reigns. He was unaware of the bout until he found out on social media and doesn't seem all that happy about getting an undeserved rematch.
After four years, Reigns is just as confused about his push as everyone else.