Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I am not attempting to be a “smark” here, I’m not intending to downright destroy Roman Reigns and I’m not trying to act like the always negative wrestling fan, particularly the negative WWE fan.
But if you think that there’s nothing negative going on with Roman Reigns and how he’s being booked, you really need to step away from the WWE-branded Kool Aid you’re drinking.
It’s been blatantly obvious since the breakup of the Shield almost two full years ago now that the rocket has been firmly attached to Roman Reigns and come hell or high water, WWE is going to get him over, damn it! Even wrestling fans who don’t keep up with the behind-the-scenes of wrestling are getting sick of one guy being shoved down our throats constantly with the expectation that we will give him full praise.
He’s become John Cena 2.0, as in he’s marketed as the guy and the only guy that matters in the company. He rarely loses and when he does it’s certainly not often a clean loss. And in terms of the crowd reaction, it’s almost the exact same: The little kiddies and the girls cheer for him cause he’s a pretty boy tough guy (which is funny cause he’s married and has a daughter), while every male fan over the age of 14 loudly boos him. The only thing missing is for Roman to start painting his Kevlar bright orange.
The most damning part about Roman Reigns right now is his character. Does he have a great look? Abso-fucking-lutely, who is disagreeing with that positive WWE fans?! Roman Reigns looks fucking badass, he’s a big guy, the tattoos make him tough, he’s got a Kevlar vest on so he looks like a badass mercenary and he’s got the long hair and facial hair to match that persona. The only problem is he doesn’t act like a badass mercenary! He doesn’t act as he looks so to a crowd that wants gimmicks to match the personality, it’s absolute garbage. Of course kids won’t care, they just want to like winners, that much is obvious, but to a crowd who actually loves professional wrestling and not just John Cena, they’ll take it more seriously.
And that’s something that really sucks right now with the younger wrestling fans. I am more than willing to bet they could give a flying fuck about professional wrestling as a whole, they just want to see their hero and be done with it. On several podcasts and blog posts, I’ve heard plenty of stories of people sitting in the crowd near of next to kids in the audience and they sit on their hands until John Cena comes out. Then they want to go home. They’ve seen their hero, now they’re bored cause the anticipation is over. Roman Reigns given his character should not be turning into that kind of person to the crowd, he should be someone making everyone interested in the rest of the product if he’s supposed to be the main guy. If you’re the flag bearer people should want to watch the entire product because of you, not just wanting to watch you and nothing else. It’s no wonder the ratings are dropping when John Cena’s been gone, the casual fans only wanted to watch him so with him not on TV for a while, more kids are giving up. Roman Reigns should not be a part of this trend.
So what should WWE be doing to fix Roman Reigns? Certainly not sending him out to talk for 15 minutes while spouting random nursery rhymes and Looney Tunes references. Take a long look at Roman Reigns. Go on. I know it’s not going to be hard for the female fans at least. What do you see when you look at Roman? Do you see a funny man? Do you see a guy that should be solely admired by kids and girls looking for something to picture when they touch themselves? Or do you see a guy that should be kicking ass, taking names and speaking few and far between these ass-kicking appointments?
Roman Reigns is physically designed to be a badass mercenary. So why is it that he’s speaking like a child? Nursery rhymes, Looney Tunes, testicle jokes, this is the kind of dumb shit an elementary school kid would do. I already said it before, kids will gravitate to winners. They would cheer for Heath Slater if he won 90% of his matches, I guarantee it. So why turn this potential badass into a character who speaks to kids when you can have him still be that badass and so long as he wins enough matches, the kids will like him anyway. When Roman comes out, he should be a man of few words. For example after winning at Fastlane on Sunday, the following night on RAW, this is the kind of thing I’d have Roman say (and this is a full promo):
“Six weeks. Six weeks Triple H is how much time you have left. At Wrestlemania, I can…and I will beat you in the middle of this ring and I will become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. So start counting the days and start planning. You put me against 29 other men and yes, I lost. But in six weeks, Triple H…it’s just you and me. And one-on-one…you can’t and you won’t beat me. Tick-tock.” *drops mic and leaves through the crowd*
No jokes, no shots at the size of anyone’s balls and most importantly, no stupid smile on his face that he sometimes has, looking like he’s Tyler Breeze taking a selfie. Straight-forward, to the point, looking like a stone cold killer as he says it. He’ll come off cool to the kids, mysteriously sexy to the girls and a badass motherfucker to the guys.
The other key is his booking, something WWE has messed up terribly with him. It’s not even that he wins all the time, it’s how he wins all the time. Now even in his Royal Rumble loss, they fucked up badly with him. They had him leave for almost half of the Rumble and come back looking brand new. They’re marketing him with the never give up attitude John Cena has, so why is he walking out (on his own power no less!) of the match? Shouldn’t this badass babyface be wanting to stay in the match and fight it out? Then at Fastlane, he powers out of a submission hold from a real UFC Heavyweight Champion. If some of the best athletes can’t escape that hold, neither should he. And then after that he takes three HARD chair shots to the back and two seconds later gets up and spears Dean Ambrose for the win like nothing happened. But Brock Lesnar, the badass motherfucker that was destroying them all match and got up from two table powerbombs stayed down after the same level of chair shots. Okay, WWE.
When Roman wins, you’re more than welcome to book a hard-fought comeback, no one has a problem with those. But be intelligent about it. Remember when Cena beat the Nexus after being DDT’d on the concrete? No more shit like that. If you’re going to have him get brutally destroyed like that, he shouldn’t be winning the match unless he manages to do the same to his opponent later on. No massive beatings and then all of a sudden he hits one spear and it’s over. Here’s an idea, have him win with a rollup once in a blue moon, make it seem like he barely managed to walk away with a win. It puts the heel in the situation over to, cause he lost to a fluke surprise pin. And then against the right opponents (get some smaller jobbers, WWE!) have him annihilate opponents leading up to PPV main event matches. Make him look strong so when he has to claw his way to victory against other main event talent that they look strong too. Did anyone ever believe Rollins could match up against Reigns? Not with that booking. Who can conceivably challenge Reigns? Only Lesnar as far as I see it and that’s something WWE has to rectify.
I don’t hate Roman Reigns, I’ve always like him and the idea of his character. But WWE has clearly dropped the ball tenfold when it comes to his booking since the breakup of the Shield. I truly believe he can be a main event talent, but the guy? I’m not 100% convinced of that. But he’s definitely near the top, which is crazy given the amount of time he’s been in the business.
So take it easy, WWE, he’ll become the star you want if you let him get over organically. Did you put the rocket to Austin, Rock, Hart, Michaels and all those stars? No, they got over with the crowd first and then you pushed them up. Roman did not ever get over organically, you rocket-shipped him. That’ll work for a portion of the audience, but not your hardcore fanbase which will pay for the Network, merchandise, pay-per-view and television shows.
The casual fanbase? They’ll buy a couple things here and there. But they aren’t paying thousands for Wrestlemania, they’ll pay $50 a ticket for a live event. Why do you think he gets more cheers at live events than TV/PPV?
It’s not that hard, WWE. Use your brain.