Roman Reigns, despite being booed earlier in the night, was cheered and embraced Monday on Raw in Cincinnati as he defeated Bobby Lashley to once again earn a shot against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.

Reigns, as WWE announcers have said, is a controversial figure whom hardcore fans decided long ago was unworthy of being the organization's top main event superstar.

It's hard to argue that Reigns' time in the WWE, and his multiple coronations as "the guy," haven't been rough, but dating back to 2017, The Big Dog has more than earned his place atop the WWE food chain and is deserving of the Universal Championship.

Reigns and Lesnar have battled multiple times and their WrestleMania 34 bout was especially disappointing.

However, Reigns remains the best opponent to finally topple The Beast before he heads back to the UFC.

Other candidates that could face Lesnar, including Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins, don't have the same history Reigns does with the champ.

A SummerSlam match between Reigns and Lesnar will bring an end to their feud, which started at WrestleMania 31, the type of conclusion to a long-form story line that the WWE faithful say they don't get enough of.

Rollins, who only enjoyed a short feud with Lesnar, would be better suited to challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship. Lashley is similar to Reigns' character, but is worse at the microphone.

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Braun Strowman will be getting his shot again at the Universal Championship as he holds the Money in the Bank briefcase.

He could cash it in at SummerSlam, but WWE should want to keep Strowman as far away from Lesnar as possible following the pair's truly horrendous match at No Mercy in September.

Strowman and Lesnar's Triple Threat Match from the Royal Rumble, which also featured Kane, was also forgettable.

Reigns remains the best choice to defeat Lesnar, having also defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, a legendary feat that should not go to waste.

Reigns losing to Lesnar again only invalidates what it truly means to defeat The Deadman on the grandest stage of them all.

The Undertaker does not just lose to anyone, and beating him should lead to a world championship, no matter how long it takes.

There is a high chance the Brooklyn crowd at SummerSlam will differ greatly from Raw's Cincinnati crowd and boo every second of the Reigns-Lesnar match but, the thought of Lesnar losing and the Universal Championship appearing on television every week again, should put some naysayers at ease.

Reigns has steadily become more and more liked as time has gone on. He has received more cheers then ever before as a singles star, and clearly has a dedicated fan base made up of kids and women.

The hardcore fans shouldn't feel left out or ignored if WWE caters to a more casual audience with Reigns, as the company has gifted more ardent followers with Smackdown Live.

So what if Reigns continues to be placed on top? Smackdown, with its completely different roster, features Internet darlings AJ Styles as WWE champion, Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan, to name a few.

WWE followers should let the young and female fans have their star while they can enjoy what has clearly been marketed toward them.

With Raw and Smackdown having two different rosters and with each pay-per-view featuring big matches from both shows, is Reigns ever truly the main star?

Before Reigns, John Cena was placed at the forefront relentlessly. As fans for years continued to both boo and cheer Cena, they now appear to do so with Reigns, who, depending on the town, can be seen as a hero or a villain.

WWE will sometimes just reward those who garner the biggest reaction positive or negative.

With Reigns as Universal Champion, the same will happen as he becomes an even more polarizing figure -- but consistently has great matches and who gladly puts his title on the line, leading to more thrilling moments on WWE programming.

It's time the hardcore fans and the naysayers give Reigns a chance. Instead of booing the position he is in, accept that he is there for a reason and help move WWE forward into a new era post-Lesnar.

The Universal Championship will mean something again once it's off Lesnar, and Reigns is the best person to do that.

Photo credit: Miguel Discart