The crowd erupted in a chorus of cheers. The excitement in the air was practically electric. This is what everyone had been waiting for. The culmination of built-up tension being released as the former champion returned to form right in front of the audience’s eyes.
Over the past half year, it seemed like this moment was well within grasp. It was right there for the taking. There was always some small detail that stopped the former champion from returning to glory.
That was about to change. This was something different. The crowd knew that this Sunday was what they had been waiting for.
That’s right. Former WWE Champion Roman Reigns was about to beat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.
Hang on. SummerSlam is still a week away. On top of that, a good portion of the audience could probably care less if Roman Reigns were to suddenly win the Universal Championship.
In fact, I bet Roman Reigns wouldn’t be cheered if he beat Brock Lesnar. It seems far more likely his crowning redemption would be met with a chorus of boos.
No, the story in question was not about Roman Reigns. It was about the return to form of Tiger Woods. Woods was the sole reason for the rapturous applause this Sunday.
For all intents and purposes, its probably fair to say Woods was the reason for the biggest crowd eruption in sports this month too.
That’s because the tale of Tiger Woods is a true redemption story. Fans have been waiting with baited breath this entire golf season for Woods to pull together a series of strokes lead him to that elusive 15th Major.
Although Woods came up just short, it’s easy to see what the effect of all that excitement was. Woods was the talk of the news. Everyone wanted to hear about the dazzling shots that captivated fans’ imaginations. People even wanted to hear about the shots that didn't happen. They wanted to know the swings that could have brought Woods back to the pinnacle of his sport.
Perhaps most importantly though, everyone wanted to hear more about golf.
That’s what should happen next Sunday for professional wrestling.
Regardless of whether or not Roman Reigns wins at SummerSlam, people should be buzzing. Pro wrestling should be getting more exposure than ever.
Unfortunately, that may not be the case. At least, it won’t be the case because of Roman Reigns.
That’s because the story of Roman Reigns has failed to become that Tiger Woods redemption story. No one believes that Reigns is just inches from grasping the championship that has eluded his reach the past several months.
The Roman Reigns story is just too predictable. Reigns just doesn’t seem to be struggling. Based on his recent performances, there’s no real reason to believe he’s not in peak form. In fact, he’s practically ran through everyone he’s faced.
Even when victory eluded Reigns against Brock Lesnar, Reigns failed to really place doubt in anyone’s mind. It always just seemed natural to assume that he’ll eventually beat the beast and capture the belt.
In essence, that’s what is missing from the Roman Reigns story. Tiger Woods’s redemption had that element of doubt. Fans legitimately didn’t know if Woods had what it takes to challenge for a Major again.
On the other hand, everyone knows Reigns can challenge for wrestling’s equivalent of a Major at any given time. Lesnar is just a roadblock on the road to Reigns’s inevitable success.
Fortunately for WWE, this time their wagon isn’t completely tied to Reigns as far as mainstream exposure goes. When it comes to this Sunday, Ronda Rousey will likely deliver the headline-capturing attention that Reigns vs Lesnar can’t.
That’s a good thing for pro wrestling. Hopefully, that means wrestling can receive the same time in the limelight that golf did this past weekend.
Regardless, Tiger Woods should still serve as a great lesson for WWE.
Tiger Woods should forever be an example of what could happen to a sport if its fans truly believe in a great redemption story.