Someone is trying to kill Roman Reigns. Not really, of course, unless there are valid real-life threats against the man that I don’t know about. Nope, this is all kayfabe. Who Attacked Roman Reigns? has become a major storyline on SmackDown Live. The tremendous thing about this particular plot is that it doesn’t make a single bit of sense. Even longtime fans are confused by it.
For example, this is an actual message I got from Sachin Hingoo, who writes about wrestling for this site.
“Hey, do you have an article that’s going to explain this Bryan/Rowan/Roman angle at some point? I haven’t really been watching the shows but I cannot make ANY sense of it from the recaps I’ve read.”
See? Even he doesn’t know what the hell is happening here! The whole storyline is sheer madness. While the writers try desperately to come up with an actual ending for this tale, let’s track the thing back to the beginning and see if we can’t come up with a decent list of suspects.
Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan lose the tag team championship belts. In a backstage interview, Bryan says he has to do something to elevate his career.
The next week, Bryan is booked to make a grand announcement about his future with WWE. Bryan comes out on the ramp and says nothing. Did WWE simply drop that particular angle without a word of explanation? Yep! They sure did.
Two weeks later, at the end of SmackDown Live, Roman Reigns is on his way to a backstage interview when this happens.
Amazingly, Reigns is not hit by any of the scaffolding. He’s like the Road Runner after a particularly stupid attempt on his life by Wile E. Coyote.
The internet goes nuts after this, as the internet is wont to do. Fans claim to have seen Buddy Murphy skulking around in the back after the attack on Roman. Could WWE’s Best Kept Secret have pushed over all that stuff onto our beloved Big Dog?
Probably not, but that doesn’t stop Reigns from assaulting Murphy in the locker room until he claims it was Rowan.
Maybe Samoa Joe is the mastermind of the attacks. He has a history of harassing his competitors with personal promos and, in one case, showing up at their house. He’s also not Samoan enough for Roman, who is both a cancer survivor and a kayfabe racist. But when someone tries to run Roman down in the arena parking lot on RAW, Samoa Joe isn’t behind the wheel. In fact, he’s the first to call for help.
In WWE land, that means Triple H shows up to make sure Roman is okay. Who needs EMTs when Papa Trips is there, right?
The next week, Roman apologizes to Samoa Joe and swears, OJ Simpson style, that he’s going to find the real driver. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan and Rowan promise to lead their own investigation into the incident. This leads to Bryan and Rowan also assaulting Buddy Murphy until he admits he was lying. All of Murphy’s claims are under duress, of course, so no one can take anything the guy says seriously. Because of this, though, Murphy gets a massive push within the company. He ends up wrestling Roman (because that will solve everything) and getting a spot in the King of the Ring tournament.
Two weeks ago, Bryan and Rowan claim they have found the culprit! They keep the suspect under a hood in a supply closet until the end of the show. When his identity is finally revealed, nobody knows who the hell the guy is. He is bald and has a red beard like Rowan’s, but he’s not anyone on the main roster. Is it Ralphus? Is it Gary Garbutt’s long-lost cousin? No one knows.
This past Tuesday, Reigns shows the scaffold footage again. Skulking around the back, there’s a guy who looks like it might have been Rowan, maybe, if you squint really hard. Bryan immediately rejects Rowan, slapping him in the face and calling him a liar. Ignoring Rowan’s protestations of innocence, Daniel makes his way out to the ring where he is immediately speared by the Big Dog. Violence solves nothing, and the mystery continues! What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here? We don’t know!
Since the writers have their scripts torn up at the last minute by Vince McMahon, this whole debacle has gone on for weeks. I’m pretty sure we’re ready to get to the end of it. So who could possibly be the one trying to kill Roman Reigns?
Daniel Bryan — Could this all be a wonky set-up for Bryan v Reigns at Clash of Champions? Probably. Does that mean it was Daniel Bryan all along? Probably. Are they going to swerve us and make it someone else? Probably.
Lars Sullivan — Where has this big boy been? He’s out with a knee injury (allegedly), but do you need a fully-functioning leg to crash a mid-sized hybrid sedan into an SUV? After months of battling the Lucha House Party, trying to murder America’s favorite yard animal would be a great way for Sullivan to get back into the spotlight.
Eric Bischoff — He’s the executive director of SmackDown Live now. Even though the dirt sheets say he’s not supposed to be on television, it’s hard to imagine Eazy E not making his way in front of the cameras. What better way to make room for new talent than by attempting to destroy one of WWE’s biggest stars? Look, it’s lame logic, but we’re talking about wrestling here. Don’t think too much, okay?
Tommasso Ciampa — Arguably the best male villain NXT ever had, this could all be leading up to Ciampa’s triumphant solo entrance to the main roster. It makes sense. To kill the snake, you chop off the head. It would instantly make a name for Blackheart, who wouldn’t even have to wrestle. He could just pull a Paul Ellering and manipulate everyone else to do his dirty work until he was medically cleared to wrestle again.
Cancer — Maybe it’s a jobber in a pink shirt calling himself Cancer. He’s mad at how it took Roman beating leukemia to finally get over with the fans. Imagine that dude’s promos. “Why is Cancer always the bad guy?” Let Roman beat Cancer in a ring with pink ropes. That’ll put butts in seats. [Author’s note: if you find this idea offensive, you haven’t been watching WWE long enough. They’ve done far, far worse things.]
In the end, it doesn’t matter who is trying to murder Roman Reigns. When the culprit is finally revealed, Roman will end up destroying the dude during a pay-per-view. Let’s simply sit back and enjoy this madness. We’ll recall when we didn’t know who killed Mr. McMahon. We will laugh and remember when we spent weeks trying to figure out who attacked Aleister Black in the Full Sail University parking lot. Truth be told, we won’t remember who attacked Roman Reigns this time next year. The identity of his attacker will go down as another absurd story in a show that has certainly seen its share. However, here at the end of the Reality Era, it’s great to see something so willfully foolish and goofy. Hell, keep on trying to kill the Big Dog. Do it until WrestleMania. I’ve got a comfortable seat and beer for the night. I’m willing to watch and guess along with everybody else until this storyline comes to its inevitable, ridiculous end.