WWE Payback 2020: Why Roman Reigns might not win the title just yet

WWE, Roman Reigns (Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images)
WWE, Roman Reigns (Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images) /

Roman Reigns should win the Universal Championship at WWE Payback 2020, but here’s why it might not happen.

We never saw it coming. Although there were hints Roman Reigns would return at SummerSlam, realistically nobody could have predicted him interrupting the Fiend’s Universal Title celebrations with a couple of spears. The top male star is back, and he has a title match at WWE Payback 2020.

Ideally, Reigns, as my colleague Patches Chance wrote, would win the Universal Championship at Payback on Sunday. He needs to be entrenched as the top star on SmackDown, elevate the Universal Championship to where it needs to be, and reclaim the title he NEVER lost.

But it might not be that simple. It seems like nothing is ever that simple in WWE, unfortunately, so why would Reigns’ climb back to the championship be that way?

It’s worth noting that the Fiend just won the Universal Title at SummerSlam against Braun Strowman after a lengthy feud that lasted through the summer. Bray Wyatt, of course, was supposed to defend the Universal Title against Reigns at WrestleMania 36, but then WWE decided to screw Wyatt over and put the title on Goldberg. And then COVID-19 hit so WWE had to put the title on Strowman with Reigns admirably taking a pause from wrestling to protect his young twins.

WWE fans can’t wait for Roman Reigns to win the title

Reigns is back, and fans can’t wait for him to win the Universal Title. There’s a buzz in the air after Reigns’ return, as the rightful star of Friday Night SmackDown is back. The Blue Brand has suffered mightily without Reigns, and we’re all ready for him to be pushed to the moon. We’ve waited long enough.

But I just can’t shake off this feeling that WWE wants the fans to wait a little more. There’s nothing they love more than the “climb” of watching a babyface get over the obstacles a heel puts in front of them, and I cannot think of a greater obstacle than the Fiend as the heel Universal Champion feuding with Reigns.

There’s so much potential in a long-term story between the two for the title. It could be told with Reigns winning it immediately, or it could be told with Reigns eventually taking the title off the Fiend. And I have a feeling it might be the latter, out of respect for Wyatt. I mean, it’s not like WWE has shown the most respect to Wyatt over the years, but after what they did to him against Goldberg, they might feel compelled to protect him a little. And they can also protect Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat environment, allowing the Fiend to cheaply pin Braun Strowman at the “overflow” Pay Per View, Payback.

I wouldn’t go that route, because WWE don’t have any big Pay Per Views after Payback. And by that “big PPV” logic, isn’t any PPV with Reigns on it automatically a bigger deal than any PPV without him? Especially when he’s competing for the title?

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Reigns should win, but if he doesn’t win at WWE Payback 2020, don’t be surprised. That just means WWE wants to tell a different story with Reigns and Wyatt, and it’s possible that ends up being the better outcome in the long run…if you trust WWE to tell that story correctly.