Roman Reigns manipulated Adam Pearce into a singles match at the Royal Rumble but there’s still a lot of time to see where this angle ends in three weeks.
WWE SmackDown ended with an angle that left some people amused and others upset. Roman Reigns wanted to send a clear message that he is the one who runs the blue brand. To do so, he set up Adam Pearce to enter the gauntlet match to get a shot at the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble. Then, Reigns and Jey Uso “helped” Pearce get the victory and be the top contender to the crown. Yes, this is a questionable result for several reasons, but Adam Pearce is an individual that has found a wealth of success in the professional wrestling industry before his time with the WWE.
Even though Michael Cole made the snide comment about Pearce “not being good enough to make it to the WWE,” that remark could not be any further from the truth. His career boasts nearly two decades of action across some of the most prominent organizations in the industry including Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and Impact Wrestling. Perhaps his two biggest claims to fame are his 5 reigns as NWA World Heavyweight champion and his 139-day run as the PWG champ.
Pearce is a slouch in the ring. But his time as an “authority” figure on WWE television has been well-received. WWE frequently leans on these types of GM angles for SmackDown and Monday Night Raw, often with the result being a convoluted power struggle. Pearce does just enough to make an impact, but the shows are not forced to revolve around him. He is segued into this position and just like a good referee, he is an important part of the story but does not take away from the wrestlers as the focal point of the show.
Still, this angle was met with understandable animosity. Roman Reigns’ title run has worked so well to not only show his growth as a performer but help elevate others into a prominent position at the same time. So, it can be frustrating to see the main event angle begin to involve a behind the scenes face, rather than another character that viewers know can give Reigns a classic match. But with three SmackDown episodes remaining between now and the Royal Rumble, there’s still time for important shakeups to come.
Adam Pearce is in no way a threat to Roman Reigns. This is another step in Reigns becoming the full-fledged, gaslighting, toxic heel he is playing up on the show. But this still is an angle that can have an intriguing outcome as much of the booking with Reigns at the top has paid off very well when the dust clears.