WWE provided perfect spark for Roman Reigns’ Bloodline story

The Post’s Joseph Staszewski brings you around the world of professional wrestling every Tuesday in his weekly column, the Post Match Angle.

Roman Reigns’ dumb decision could be the catalyst for the next Bloodline chapter — and potentially the demise of his historic title reign.

Reigns and The Bloodline choosing to interfere in the SmackDown triple-threat match to determine his challenger at the Royal Rumble was the most foolish thing he’s done in his pairing with Paul Heyman. But it may have had to be done to set up what comes next.

I understand WWE wanted a fatal four-way with Reigns, A.J. Styles, LA Knight and Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble for the Undisputed WWE Universal championship and needed a way to get there.

But any fan who has watched wrestling for any length of time could see it coming the minute The Bloodline marched to the ring with intent during the match. Shouldn’t Reigns or Heyman, the “Wiseman,” have foreseen this possible outcome? Maybe they did and Reigns’ arrogance and feeling of being untouchable got the better of him.

Roman Reigns and The Bloodline on SmackDown. WWE

Instead, SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis had a chance to stand up to The Tribal Chief, and he did in a big way. And that’s a story WWE can continue through 2024. Reigns has only had to deal with Adam Pearce — who was viewed as a middleman for most of the run. In Aldis, you have an imposing figure who has the power to make Reigns’ life miserable all the way to WrestleMania 40 if he keeps getting tested like this.

He could be the one to allow The Rock to skip the line for a championship march or to put Cody Rhodes of “Monday Night Raw” in the Elimination Chamber to earn his match at WrestleMania. The Reigns-Aldis dynamic is just getting started, and the GM could be a perfect foil. Maybe Reigns’ arrogance cost him relationships with Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa

Listen, I’m somewhat happy we aren’t getting another Reigns singles match, through him versus Randy Orton would have been fun. Maybe WWE did this so Styles and Orton don’t have to take a pin, preserving opponents for Reigns should he retain at WrestleMania. They could also take the title off him without him getting pinned, but that doesn’t make much sense.

More likely, the win at the Royal Rumble boosts his arrogance even more after defeating Orton and Styles for the first time during this run. It will open him up to again declaring there is no one left for him to face and could cue The Rock to close the Royal Rumble or the SmackDown following it. Because him vs. The Great One at Elimination Chamber still feels like the lesser of evils.

Reigns’ decision that led to the fatal four-way felt so out of character for him and Paul Heyman, but maybe that was the point.

Paul Heyman and SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis. WWE

In the Devil’s details 

Adam Cole did a good job explaining — though it was a touch convoluted — his betrayal of MJF, saying he beat him to the punch, MJF had it coming for all enemies he made in AEW, the group wanted change in AEW to start a march toward more gold and that it eventually became about crushing MJF’s soul and not the AEW World championship.

Adam Cole and the Undisputed Kingdom address their actions at Worlds End. Lee South/AEW

After that he laid a roadmap of stories for the Undisputed Kingdom…a nice Undisputed Era ripoff. Roderick Strong was going for the AEW International championship and Wardlow the world championship that he will forfeit to Cole once he does (that could lead to Wardlow reuniting with MJF down the road). 

But he addressed MJF in a interesting way, saying he was dead and doesn’t work in AEW anymore. (This could mean a prolonged MJF injury absence and an epic return.) For now, the new group will be busy with Bullet Club Gold and The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn — all factions they attacked. The short-term and long-term plans here are clear.

Drew it out

Drew McIntyre has been exceptional with his new angry and more self-righteous persona, but things went to the next level during his promo with CM Punk on “Monday Night Raw.” It was seeping with truth and made a connection to their past time in WWE that felt unexpected.

Both men appeared legitimately upset with the other, and McIntyre came off like he was trying to prove he could hang with Punk on the mic and he did. It could be a trend we hopefully see as the way Punk does promos will allow WWE talent across from him the freedom to look, feel and be less scripted. McIntyre delivered on it like a charm and made you intrigued to see more from he and Punk as they will now be a major story in the Royal Rumble match. Punk said he will throw McIntyre out last.

The 10 Count

Deonna Purrazzo’s AEW debut played out perfectly after the New Jersey native came out to defend her home state and confront Mariah May following May’s first match. She immediately called out women’s champion “Timeless” Toni Storm, so we will likely get May vs. Purrazzo first. Purrazzo will be the perfect promo partner to call Storm on her BS if AEW actually gives them a live mic.

Deonna Purrazzo interrupts Mariah May on Dynamite. Lee South/AEW

WWE did a great job building off some small things on Raw. Jinder Mahal being the red herring for The Rock wasn’t a waste as he now has a World Heavyweight championship match with Seth Rollins next week. It also used Giovanni Vinci being injured on a move from Kofi Kingston as motivation for Ludwig Kaiser to unleash a fiery attack on him.

At what point is it time to move Orange Cassidy into an actual storyline? Thankfully, AEW had Hook call out world champion Samoa Joe, who feels like the perfect early roadblock for the Long Island native at the top of the card.

Nic Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler) made an excellent choice heading to New Japan first after his WWE release. He appears set for a feud with new Global Champion and Bullet Club leader Dave Finlay as the two brawled following his Wrestle Kingdom win. Nemeth could be a nice boost to New Japan shows in the US and would have the freedom to work in AEW. 

The pop for Luchasaurus’ turn on Christian has a chance to be something loud. Tony Schiavone shrugging his shoulders at him on Dynamite was tremendous.

Teaming up with The Authors of Pain and Paul Ellering is Karrion Kross’ best chance at relevance on the main roster. It’s an imposing-looking group, and Kross’ quasi-jobber days feel over.

Wrestle Kingdom was a better showcase of diverse wrestling styles than it has in past years. Bryan Danielson and Okada present such a beautiful, logical and fierce approach to pro wrestling. Tama Tonga vs. Shingo Takagi was a short, explosive sprint. Jon Moxley, Will Ospreay and Finlay gave us a great variety of approaches.

Yes, it was one match with Griff Garrison, but it left me with a feeling that Adam Copeland is about to go on a special run of matches on his way back to the TNT Championship.

Adam Copeland clothes lines Griff Garrison. Ricky Havlik/AEW

Jon Silver and Amanda Huber on this week’s “Being the Dark Order.” Being The Dark Order

Amanda Huber, the late Brodie Lee’s wife, stepping into his role as Dark Order leader two straight weeks now on “Being the Dark Order” is some must-see, funny content.

A couple of things on The Judgment Day: Rhea Ripley turning into a babyface while being the quasi-leader of a top heel faction is a testament to her star power. Also, R-Truth’s video about his story with them is an absolute masterpiece.

Wrestler of the Week

Kevin Owens, WWE

It was a good day to be Kevin Owens on SmackDown. He defeated Santos Escabor in the tournament final to become the No. 1 contender for the United States championship before getting a one-punch knockout of champ Logan Paul. A high-profile match at the Royal Rumble is likely next.

Social Media Post of the Week

Match to Watch

Josh Alexander vs. Alex Hammerstone, TNA Hard To Kill, Saturday, 8 p.m,  FITE/TrillerTV

This is Hammerstone’s debut in TNA, and he couldn’t ask for a better dance partner than Alexander, who is one of the best in the world right now. A win for Hammerstone, a former world champion in MLW, over Alexander — a former Impact world champion — would be a huge stamp of approval and a tone-setter as he starts on the company’s first show in its return as TNA.

Around the Ring

  • Money in the Bank was announced for Toronto on July 6 at Scotia Bank Arena.
  • Great gesture by Cody Rhodes to pay for the KIPP AMP Middle School “Wrestling Club” from Brooklyn to attend WrestleMania 40 and be the best man at a random fan’s wedding.

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