WWE announced a 30-day suspension of Roman Reigns on Tuesday, due to the wrestler’s first violation of the company’s talent wellness policy. The suspension, for which WWE did not provide specifics, could have major implications for WWE’s next pay-per-view, and potentially SummerSlam 2016, WWE’s biggest remaining event of this year.
Reigns dropped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday at the Money in the Bank PPV, having held the title since he defeated Triple H at WrestleMania 32 on April 3. The former champ is scheduled to face Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the current champion, in the main event of WWE Battleground on July 24.
Reigns’ 30-day suspension will conclude a few days before Battleground is set to take place, so it’s possible that he will still fight for the title at the PPV. WWE, however, could choose to exclude him from the PPV, making it a singles match between Ambrose and Rollins.
Even if WWE keeps Reigns in the main event of the next PPV, he’ll miss WWE’s next big event. WWE’s draft to determine which superstars will appear on “Monday Night Raw” and which wrestlers will appear on “SmackDown “ is set for July 19 on the first-ever live edition of “SmackDown,” two days before Reigns’ suspension is set to end.
Reigns will certainly be one of the top picks in the draft, if not the No.1 overall selection. He’s held the company’s top title three times in the last seven months, and WWE has positioned him to be the next top babyface, potentially replacing John Cena as the future face of the company.
I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) June 21, 2016
The suspension might not affect WWE’s plans regarding Reigns, but it’s hard to imagine him returning three days later and winning the championship as a babyface. If anything, the recent news could help Reigns become WWE’s biggest heel.
For most of the year, a large portion of the fan base has been vocal about their opposition to Reigns being WWE’s top “good guy." WWE has been steadfast in their attempt to get him over, but the live crowds have continued to serenade him with boos, and those boos will get even louder upon his return.
WWE might have been planning to turn Reigns heel before his suspension, considering the crowd reactions. He did, afterall, get beaten clean on Sunday as he lost the title.
Either way, the chances of Reigns winning at Battleground or headlining SummerSlam as a babyface champion appear to be slim.