Roman Reigns is the WWE Universal Champion and has held one title or the other for longer than 1,100 days. He’s proven his utter dominance and is not someone who can be beaten easily. The issue comes due to what happened this weekend at Crown Jewel, where the star’s incredible performances were not able to live up to expectations. In fact, although through no fault of his own, he was involved in a huge botch.
And this is not the first time.
Had WWE followed the rules, Reigns would not be the champion right now. In fact, he’s technically lost the title twice simply through his own issues. The last time this happened was in a match against Kevin Owens years back, where WWE ignored botches to keep Reigns in power. Let’s take a look at the two instances.
At Crown Jewel, Roman Reigns was putting on a great performance with LA Knight. The stars had the entire crowd going, but after being hit with a BFT, Reigns was pinned by Knight. Reigns was not supposed to kick out, but Jimmy Uso was going to appear and put his foot on the rope, breaking up the pin. Jimmy Uso was late. He was only late by a second, but it was enough. The referee’s hand struck the mat thrice by then.
WWE did the only thing they could – they ignored it had happened. Reigns went on to win the match, but if the botch had not been ignored, Reigns would have lost the title. Triple H booked the show to not even acknowledge it.
This is the second time that WWE covered up a botch costing him the title, as the last time it happened was at the 2021 Royal Rumble event. In a Last Man Standing match against Kevin Owens, Reigns was handcuffed to some fixtures. While the handcuff was supposed to have been easy to get out of, it was not. The referee was counting to 10 but stopped and got taken out.
Roman Reigns was not on his feet, and the second referee who came in stopped counting as well while Paul Heyman frantically helped Reigns release himself. Throughout this awkwardly long time, Kevin Owens had to pretend to lie on the ground. Technically, the second referee just stopped mid-count, but it was clear to anyone who saw that Reigns had been down for the full ten-count.
Both times, a new champion should have been crowned, but both times WWE ignored it.
Will Roman Reigns be punished for the botch on SmackDown?
WWE will likely want to move past the botch as quickly as possible, but there might be a punishment for it, even if Roman Reigns himself is not on the receiving end. Given that Jimmy Uso was late, he might find himself punished in some form or other this week on SmackDown.
What form that will take remains to be seen. It’s up to Triple H and Roman Reigns and how they want to play it.