Roman Reigns suspension can create character identity crisis or opportunity

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As every WWE fan now undoubtedly knows, Roman Reigns has been suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE wellness policy.

Reigns has since taken to twitter to apologise for his actions, and that's all that is currently known. There has been no information provided as to the impact the suspension has on the Shield triple threat scheduled for Battleground, or on the brand split draft. 

Reigns' suspension ends after the draft takes place and three days before Battleground.


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This news has to have an impact on the path Reigns' career will take in the coming months. 

From a company perspective, one can assume that how much this damages his profile will depend largely on what he actually did. A violation for taking the wrong cold medicine is different to a violation for steroids, or for class A recreational drugs. 

A quick glance at the published summary of the wellness policy confirms it may not even be a substance violation, there are several other options, each of which would presumably have a different impact on Reigns' standing within the company.

If Reigns' standing within the company remains intact, there is still an issue of image. To this point, Reigns has been pushed as a clean-cut, PG, family friendly superstar, a natural successor to John Cena as a company ambassador. 

Despite the wellness violation, WWE could still go down this route, but it would need careful handling. 

Firstly, a full disclosure of the nature of the violation would be required either by WWE, or preferably by Reigns himself. A public, televised apology would need to follow, along with some sign of atonement.

Given the way the crowds and online fans have reacted to Reigns in recent months, even this may not be enough to repair the damage. 

There were signs that Reigns was gaining some ground with the fans in recent weeks. Duelling chants during his matches against AJ Styles, and a section of the fans answering the obnoxious 'you can't wrestle' chants with a 'yes he can' response. 

It is likely that this news will impede that progress somewhat, but there are other options.

There have long been shouts for Reigns to turn heel, and that side of his character has been allowed to emerge in the weeks since WrestleMania. 

With an enforced break of 30 days, now could be the time to make that turn. A brand new Roman Reigns, complete with new gear, new music and a new attitude, would be welcomed by many fans. 

Reigns taking out major players on his return, including new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose, is exactly what some fans want to see.

The apologetic 'I made a mistake and I've paid for it' approach is more in keeping with Reigns' portrayed character, and would promote a better image for the young fans with whom Reigns has been consistently popular. 

Lessons can be taught about owning up to your mistakes, taking responsibility, and working to earn back your good name. All good PG stuff, the flawed hero card. It would work for the families, but there would be a lot of negativity from the more critical sections of the fanbase.

There is a lot to learn before any real judgements can be made on this story. The implications for the draft, for Battleground, and indeed for Reigns' long-term prospects, are yet to be uncovered and understood. 

The ramifications of the suspension of such a top star is the latest in a long list of 'wait and see what happens' events, in a year where WWE have already provided wrestling fans with much to talk about, but there must be ramifications. 

The worst thing WWE could do is try to brush this off without proper acknowledgement. Time will tell how they choose the play it.

What should WWE do with Roman Reigns following his suspension? Let us know YOUR suggestions in the comment section below!

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Roman Reigns
The Rock
John Cena
Triple H
Dean Ambrose

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