WWE fans who want to pile on Roman Reines for not defending the combined titles he won at WrestleMania 38 at premium live events just got a little more work done. The Tribal Cheif defeated Brock Lesnar at the Showcase Of The Immortals in early April. He has since renegotiated his deal and appeared on Raw and SmackDown less frequently than expected.
Raines has defended the combined titles just once in the last 100 days. This match did not take place in Backlash, Hell In A Cell or Money In The Bank. This did not happen during the premiere episode of Monday Night Raw or during any other special event. Instead, it happened on the June 17 episode of Friday Night SmackDown when he successfully defended his title against Riddle. The condition of this match was that Riddle would never be allowed to fight for a single title as long as Raines held it, in which case Deep Waters would never get another championship match.
Not because Riddle isn’t a decent wrestler, but because WWE just didn’t hire Raines to defend the titles. Generally. The company’s official Twitter account, @WWE, recently released the first advertisement for the October premium event Extreme Rules live, and Roman Raines is nowhere to be seen on the chart. Obviously, things can change, but this seems to indicate that at the time of this writing, WWE has no plans to involve Reigns in Extreme Rules.
The card is still a few months away, and anything can happen during that time. Last but not least is Roman Raines’ “Last Survivor” match against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Since Lesnar looks more dangerous than ever, and the Theory looms as a threat to cash out his “Money in the Bank” portfolio, there is no guarantee that Raines will still be a unified champion by the time the “Extreme Rules” appear. However, if he makes it through SummerSlam with both belts, it is likely that he will last until October and this premium live tournament.
Even if Raines still doesn’t wear both belts, he is one of WWE’s most important attractions. His absence from four of the five premium live tournaments after “Mania” is noteworthy. In addition to Lesnar, he is the most protected superstar in the company, and Vince McMahon saw fit to award him both major men’s titles for a reason. Of course, to make WrestleMania 38 seem as large-scale as possible. But he’s also one of a small handful of credible world champions that WWE has created over the past decade. John Cena is still arguably the biggest player the WWE has (sometimes) access to, while Raines and Lesnar tower over former champions like Finn Balor, AJ Styles and even Seth Rollins. Maybe the plan is to try to raise the Theory to that level sooner rather than later so that it can work more matches. Most likely, he will participate at least in Extreme Rules. Roman Raines, at least at this stage, probably won’t.