Roman Reigns vs. Elias has been one of the most featured storylines on WWERaw and SmackDown Live since WrestleMania 35, but it is safe to say that the majority of fans were not very excited about the prospect of seeing their match at Money In The Bank.
Why? Because not only was the event stacked enough already with 10 other matches, but the strange dynamic of fans feeling as though they should cheer for babyface Reigns in a lengthy match against popular bad guy Elias was never going to work.
Instead, WWE decided to have Elias smash a guitar against Reigns’ back in the backstage area before their match, and he went on to play an electric guitar and insult fans with his usual pre-match shtick in the middle of the ring.
WWE’s resident guitarist then bid farewell to the Hartford crowd in typical fashion (“Thank you, good night, I love none of you”) before Reigns returned and caught him with a Superman Punch near the stage area.
Despite Elias’ reluctance to participate in a match, the referee signalled for the bell to sound and “The Big Dog” made light work of his opponent by hitting a spear and getting the 1-2-3 in just 10 seconds.
In this article, let’s take a look at five of the biggest questions that need answering following the surprising Money In The Bank outcome.
#5 Is Elias ever going to be taken seriously in-ring?
The Money In The Bank encounter against Roman Reigns was all set up to be the biggest match of Elias’ career so far.
Over the last two years on Raw, “The Living Truth” has constantly received loud crowd reactions wherever he has been, mostly because he has the ability to evoke a response by saying derogatory things about the city that he is in.
After being announced as “the biggest acquisition in the history of SmackDown Live” by Vince McMahon last month, it looked as though a move to the blue brand would represent an opportunity for Elias to evolve as a Superstar, particularly in-ring, with fresh rivalries and opponents.
Sadly, this 10-second match showed that he is unlikely to be taken seriously as an in-ring competitor any time soon.
#4 What’s next for both men?
Given the manner of Roman Reigns’ victory at Money In The Bank, it would not be surprising if Elias demanded a rematch, claiming he was not prepared, but then it also seems just as likely that WWE will quickly move on and forget that this match even happened.
In Reigns’ case, he has a ready-made opponent lined up for him next – Shane McMahon – and local advertisements are already promoting that the two men will go head-to-head when WWE visits Saudi Arabia for the Super ShowDown event on June 7.
As for Elias, his unusual alliance with McMahon has worked wonders on Raw and SmackDown Live in recent weeks, even if the authority figure was not there to help at Money In The Bank, so they are likely to join forces again ahead of the Saudi show.
If the seven-month storyline between McMahon and The Miz continues in the coming weeks, we can also expect Elias to face “The A-Lister” at some point.
#3 Who will defeat Roman Reigns one-on-one next?
Roman Reigns lost a one-on-one match against Bobby Lashley at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in July 2018. Since then, he has defeated the likes of Baron Corbin, Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre in singles matches but he has not lost one-on-one on WWE television in the last 10 months.
In fact, taking all televised matches into account, Reigns has only lost two of his last 22 matches: vs. McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler & Braun Strowman (October 2018) and vs. Daniel Bryan, Rowan, Shane McMahon & Elias (May 2019).
Now that Reigns is appearing on both Raw and SmackDown Live on a seemingly weekly basis, it is inevitable that somebody will finally defeat him, likely via some shenanigans, in the not-too-distant future.
On Raw, we would be foolish to rule out another McIntyre vs. Reigns match in the coming months following their battle at WrestleMania 35, while Shane McMahon seems like the most likely candidate to defeat “The Big Dog” from the SmackDown Live roster.
#2 How long until Roman Reigns is in the title picture?
Remember when Daniel Bryan returned at WrestleMania 34 and went on to feud with Big Cass in non-title matches for the next two months? Well, the current situation with Roman Reigns feels similar.
“The Big Dog” initially made a big impression upon his return, teaming with The Shield in the Fastlane main event before defeating Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 35, but this largely meaningless rivalry with Elias feels like a significant step down from where he used to be.
Just like Bryan in 2018, Reigns is destined to move on from this feud with Elias and Shane McMahon to bigger and better things (i.e the WWE Championship). It is just a matter of when, not if, WWE decides to put him back in that position.
Right now, Kofi Kingston is trying to establish himself as one of the top guys on SmackDown Live as WWE Champion, but do not be surprised if Reigns steps up and challenges for the title as soon as he has finished with Elias and the McMahons.
#1 Why is WWE afraid of Roman Reigns receiving boos?
Given the circumstances regarding Roman Reigns’ leukaemia and his time away from WWE, it is only natural that fans have been hesitant to boo the four-time WrestleMania main-eventer in the same way that they did before everybody found out about his illness.
However, it cannot be denied that his current character is suffering as a result of him receiving quieter and quieter fan reactions on a weekly basis. While fans used to boo him vociferously, there are now only smatterings of boos. While other fans would counter that by cheering loudly, there are now only smatterings of cheers.
At Money In The Bank, the obvious explanation for WWE cutting the Elias vs. Reigns match down to 10 seconds is due to the fact that the Hartford fans would likely have booed Reigns and cheered Elias if the match lasted a lengthy amount of time.
Although WWE has been widely praised for the smart booking of the match, is it really necessary to protect Reigns from boos at this point?
The man himself has even said in media interviews that he does not care whether he gets positive or negative crowd reactions – to him, all he wants to hear is noise when he enters an arena.