What was the point?
At SummerSlam over the weekend, WWE decided to debut a new form of No Holds Barred match. It was Tribal Combat now, as Jey Uso had said on SmackDown a short few weeks ago. This proclamation was met with hesitancy from Roman Reigns, who seemed to be shocked by the gravity of what Tribal Combat entailed.
Here’s the problem with that however: Tribal Combat was nothing new in a reign that has spanned over 1000 days.
Before SummerSlam, it was heavily hinted on WWE television that Tribal Combat would lead to no interference for the first time in Roman’s long reign as champion, as he would have to defeat his cousin all alone. The company went so far as to confirm this stipulation on their website, with many fans being aware of this confirmation.
The other stipulations of Tribal Combat was there would be no disqualifications or count outs. This would be a level playing field if the first stipulation was in effect, but all this stipulation did was negatively impact Jey’s chances.
Initially, WWE seemed to be sticking to their original advertising, as Solo Sikoa was absent at the beginning of the match. However, as the tide turned and Jey took over the matchup, Sikoa would attack his older brother. This was nothing new for Roman’s title reign, but it was unexpected for many fans. At this point, Solo and Roman dominated Jey until Uso moved out of the way of a spear, with Reigns hitting Solo instead.
Solo would remain a fixture of the match however, and was only taken out after Jey hit him with a splash through the announce table. Jey would then drop Roman with a spear and a splash of his own. And just when it looked like Jey would end the reign, Jimmy Uso showed up and pulled Jey Uso out of the ring, nailing him with multiple superkicks, all but handing the victory to Roman.
The reaction to this decision has led to a lot of criticism from fans, particularly due to the nonsensical decision for Jimmy Uso to turn on his twin brother and realign with his cousin. It was confirmed on RAW that Jimmy would be returning to The Bloodline on SmackDown, which is a complete waste of the character development Jimmy and Jey have gone through all summer.
The other issue, which also relates to Jimmy’s interference is the retconning of what Tribal Combat was supposed to be. If Roman had defeated Jey on his own, the reaction would not be as strong, as WWE had laid in the gravity of a stipulation that did not change a thing, even benefitting Roman as he did not need a ref bump to receive assistance at SummerSlam. The way the match was presented and advertised, this should have been Roman’s toughest test to date after a title reign full of interferences that lead to him retaining the title. However, WWE decided to retcon this decision, which led to the incredible amount of backlash from fans.
Jey Uso has proven himself to be a main event calibre singles star, but we have yet to see any significant spark from Jimmy when it comes to being a singles star in WWE. However, once again Jimmy will not be alone as it appears he will realign with Roman and Solo.
All in all, the decision to have a No Holds Barred match disguised as Tribal Combat was just lazy booking from WWE, and they failed to explain why Roman would be so shaken by the stipulation if it were just another way for him to win with the help of outside interference.
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