Roman Reigns' WrestleMania 40 plans got a shot of adrenaline with The Rock's return and Cody Rhodes's shocking decision to step aside for him to challenge the Tribal Chief. Eventually, the social media outrage and discourse will die down. The hype from the return will only last for a while, and the creative team will have their work cut out for them. Roman is only sometimes around, and Rock is around even less. Rock is not an in-ring master, and Roman's style is slower and more methodical. That, along with the prevailing headwinds of Cody finishing the story, presents a ton of obstacles. If this is the confirmed direction, they have a few options to prepare Roman for the main event after time away and a string of lackluster appearances.
Jey Uso heads to Smackdown to side with The Rock
Rock needs some allies, and using Cody Rhodes will probably result in a backlash that would surprise many older fans who are happy to have Rocky back. Jimmy and Solo are available to build the feud if the Rock comes around without Roman. If Rock is away, though, who does Roman have? If WWE doesn't have a good answer to that, then the match will be cold with television audiences and returning nostalgia fans alike. There is one obvious option that WWE has that is both a big draw and has some credibility inserting themselves this late into the Bloodline saga.
Jey Uso shouldn't get back into the drama with his family for WrestleMania. He has built an excellent singles run on Raw and looks poised to capture singles gold in short order. With the changing landscape of the WWE roster the past week, though, he has no other choice. Roman and his team need to have a foil to build the match. A few weeks of solo promos would be fine, but that would require a significant time commitment from the Rock and Reigns. To ensure that scheduling doesn't cool off Reigns, Jey can come back to heat things up. It could result in another match, or it could just be brawls and promos when Rock is away. Regardless, Jey moving back into Roman's line of sight may not be the best for his main event run, but it will do a lot to pump up Roman before his.
Roman Reigns goes down under for the Elimination Chamber
One refrain online from people in favor of the apparent Rock vs. Reigns title fight is that with CM Punk gone, WWE had to call this audible to meet its obligation to fans. There may be some truth to that, and that same philosophy will help Roman Reigns get some of his heat back. Despite reports, Roman wasn't planning to be at the Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia. With CM Punk gone and Roman's feud being with a part-time performer, building interest will require The Bloodline to have more face time with audiences. The next opportunity he has for that is down in Australia.
What he does in Australia matters less. He can have another match with Jey, defend his title against Cody Rhodes, or have a segment with his past or future rivals. He doesn't need to step into the chamber or do anything crazy. All it would take is for Roman to keep doing his usual routine. Cheating the win to drive fans crazy and build up animosity and anticipation for the moment that somebody finally gets him beat. That won't likely be The Rock at WrestleMania, which hurts the match with more of the high-information viewers. However, it will work with less tuned-in audiences, and it beats leaving the match underbuilt and giving skeptical and casual fans both a reason to dislike the match. His being around means he has more time to get fans to boo him and hopefully cheer for his downfall.
WWE gets Roman Reigns some serious ring reps
WWE can heat up Roman Reigns now the way they did before his WrestleMania 31 match for the WWE title. At that time, they made sure fans knew Reigns could go by pairing him with Daniel Bryan with the title opportunity on the line in a classic match. It was done to try to build excitement for Reigns and cut off any talk that his match would be bad. With some of the same criticisms coming for Roman and Rocks' recent ring work, a high work rate match or two with some talented new stars could change people's expectations and build more excitement, and his beating these faces will give him the extra heat he needs.
With Smackdown signing stars like Carmelo Hayes and Andrade still looking for a final landing spot, there are people that WWE can ask to work that style of match with Reigns for the title in the build to WrestleMania 40. Each could ease concerns that Rock and Roman can't put on a main event match, with Roman showing he can provide the big moments and spots the occasion needs. Also, Roman taking out superstars the fans are still excited about will make him look like an even bigger heel. While the Bloodline drama and Jey Uso will drive the narrative, making Roman more generally cruel and disliked will also help build the match.
WWE really needs to heat up Roman Reigns before WrestleMania 40
The truth, as seen on social media, is that WWE really needs to heat up Roman Reigns before WrestleMania. The fan reaction has been mixed at best, leaning toward negative just a few days removed from The Rock and Roman Reigns facing off. With that being the presumed match, the backlash is scary for WWE and TKO. The team could call an audible here to earn some goodwill back. If removing The Rock isn't in the cards, and it seems that he is gaining legitimate power in the company for better or worse, then Roman will need to be the key that holds the fan's interest. The story is straightforward, but getting Roman hot will be crucial in giving fans a central protagonist to follow for WrestleMania.