You’ll never see it coming. That was the tagline for SummerSlam, and Roman said it himself upon his return, but... couldn’t we? I don’t mean it in the sense of being predictable, not at all. But what happened last night is not without precedent. Maybe this confrontation was inevitable all along.
“I MADE YOU! YOU AIN’T A MONSTER UNLESS I’M HERE!”
It’s not the first time that Roman has said this, but it’s the first time he’s said it to Braun. Before “Get These Hands”, it was “I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU”, and that was all about Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns. Time and again the Big Dog faced down the Monster Among Men, braving whatever odds. Braun would not be stopped, but neither would he. Those battles were epic, and even if no one wanted to acknowledge it, kept the rest of the roster relatively safe.
In the months that Roman’s been gone, we’ve seen Braun win the Universal Title. He’s stepped up and tried to be the champion SmackDown needs. This is the second time he’s tried to fill Roman’s shoes, and it went about as well as the first time, when he faced Brock Lesnar. But this time, something was different. This time, there was The Fiend.
No one really knows what happened in the Swamp Fight between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman, save that at the end of it, Strowman vanished and The Fiend reappeared. It was weeks before he was seen again, and while some believe he came back for Alexa Bliss, the Monster made it clear through words and deeds alike that he no longer cared about her, or at the very least, would not be manipulated by The Fiend using her. Braun wasn’t just a failed champion: like everyone else who had faced The Fiend, he had changed.
“What the hell happened here? You think you can be on the top and not run into me?”
For everything we don’t know about The Fiend, there is this: he tends to go after the people he perceives to have wronged him. It’s possible that this is why he fell to Goldberg; there was no history to draw on, no depth of animosity to sustain his crazed rage.
Lest we forget, Bray Wyatt has gone after Roman Reigns before—and lost. And that loss is part of The Fiend’s history. Based on that statement, Roman is clearly aware of this. As with Braun, The Fiend is not here without that loss. In that light, Roman’s return could be seen as preemptive; going after The Fiend before The Fiend can go after him. Thing is, that wasn’t all the Big Dog had to say.
“See the thing is, neither of you are here without me. This has always been mine. You’re just a freak in a mask, you can’t handle the responsibility.”
Having turned his attention from The Fiend, Roman wasn’t giving Strowman the chance to get up, either. Now returned, he was going to make his presence felt, to demand what was rightfully his—be that the Universal Title, or SmackDown itself. The Fiend may hold the Universal Title, but he’s doing so in Roman Reigns’ yard.