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The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Roman Reigns brings forth the end of an era and the future of the WWE

Graphic by Ivan Sandoval-Navarro
From left to right: Triple H, Roman Reigns and Vince McMahon, who are all important figures in the WWE.

In the world of sports, it’s clear which athletes are among the greats. In soccer, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. In basketball, it’s Lebron James. In racing, It’s Max Verstappen. And in professional wrestling, it’s Roman Reigns.

Leati Joseph Anoa’i, otherwise known as Roman Reigns, has been at the forefront of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) franchise for the past four years. Since 2015, Roman has been featured in every WrestleMania, WWE’s biggest wrestling event of the year in April, where he has beaten Hall of Famers like Triple H and the Undertaker. It’s safe to say that during Roman’s reign, he was that guy.

Roman’s fame truly kicked off in 2018 — after falling short to his long-time rival, the ‘Beast Incarnate’ Brock Lesnar many times since 2015, Roman finally beat Lesnar at Summerslam for the Universal Championship in August.

Soon after winning the title, things were starting to go in Roman’s direction. But as a hated hero — many times, the crowd even booed him out of the ring — it was clear that fans didn’t like him. However, on October 22, 2018, Roman announced that his long fight with leukemia — which was not publicly known beforehand — was escalating, he then relinquished the title and left it in the ring.

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Roman returned to the WWE on February 25, 2019, announcing that he was in remission. But, it wouldn’t be until a global pandemic ruined the company that immunocompromised Roman left the ring again.

At the same time, the WWE was also struggling as a whole; a sport whose whole point is physical fighting could not operate in a time of social distancing. Along with being unable to sell tickets to events and its superstar’s stories getting worse because fans couldn’t voice their opinions, things were looking bad for the WWE.

On August 23, 2020, at Summerslam, Roman made yet another return. However, it wasn’t to the main screen; rather, Roman interfered with the main event right after it finished. A week later, he made an official appearance at Payback, beating Braun Stroman and the immortal, Bray “The Fiend” Wyatt, and winning the Universal Championship.

After an amazing start to his reign, it wouldn’t be until WrestleMania 38, nearly two years later when he beat Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship, holding both titles and later uniting them into a yellow-gold belt that he held until just recently. On April 8, 2024, Roman lost to “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes, ending his 1,316-day reign.

Across Roman’s almost four years as WWE champion, he created the strongest group in WWE history, the Bloodline, a group consisting of his family:

  • Jimmy and Jay Uso, twins and Tag Team champions for 622 days;
  • “The Enforcer,” Solo Sikowa, who nearly retired John Cena;
  • “The Final Boss,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a temporary member for the last two months;
  • And, of course, “The Tribal Chief,” Roman Reigns, champion for 1,316 days.

At the same time as Roman’s story — which fans dubbed the “Bloodline Era” because of its dominance over the rest of the roster — the WWE founder was caught trying to keep career-ending controversies under the table:

In July 2022, WWE founder Vince McMahon was exposed paying hush money to four women in the company to cover up alleged sexual misconduct. He coincidentally “retired” in August 2022.

In early January 2024, news came out that McMahon trafficked a WWE employee to re-sign a wrestler — Brock Lesnar, allegedly, — whose contract ended in 2021. As of April 2024, McMahon is selling his stock of TKO, which WWE and UFC merged to create, and is dealing with a lawsuit regarding the allegations.
With McMahon out of the picture, Paul “Triple H” Levesque rose to fill in his place as the new owner of the WWE. Historically, compared to McMahon, Triple H’s ideas were much better received. For example, Triple H’s stories were shown on NXT, a subsection of the WWE known for some of the best storylines

With the end of the Bloodline Era also came the end of the “Vince Era,” and their conclusions were made official at WrestleMania 40, the most recent and biggest of them all. Almost every champion lost their title which was a soft reset of the company, as currently, the only person to still have their championship from Mania 40 is the United States Champion Logan Paul, who had help from Youtube Streamer IShowSpeed. At this event, the torch was passed from Roman to Cody, and Vince to Triple H.

With the future of the WWE in Triple H’s hands, this new era brings excitement to all wrestling fans. In fact, Triple H has already made many good changes, like changing the Tag Team Championship belts by improving their designs from red and blue to beautiful shining gold. Fans are ready to see more changes from the terrible things that Vince has done, and what good Triple H can do to a united fandom. Then, Now, Forever, Together.

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Ivan Sandoval-Navarro
Ivan Sandoval-Navarro, Staff Writer

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