Given the timing, this may be a little contentious but let’s have a discussion about Roman Reigns. When he first entered the WWE he was hugely supported by fans despite being a heel. The Shield gimmick was massively over. From the moment they burst on the scene you knew they all had the potential to be stars.
Go your own way
The Shield split and as predicted the various members became stars in their own right. All three have held the main title. Ambrose settled as an upper midcard guy, Seth as a main event star and Roman has been pushed as a megastar. But not everyone is happy about that.
In the same way that John Cena divided audience (mainly between the young and the old) Reigns has had the same effect. He is the Rock’s “cousin” he has the wrestling heritage. There’s no doubt he looks like a star. So what is the problem? Now let’s be objective here for just a second. Even the people that can’t stand him have to acknowledge, Roman should be a star. He has all the attributes and the WWE would be stupid if they weren’t giving him some kind of push, right?
Why the hate?
Simply put the WWE have pushed the wrong guy, in the wrong way. Rightly or wrongly the WWE universe, or at least the vocal, 30-something, male portion of it, feel Roman is “rammed down their throats”. Many feel that he needs a heel turn. He can put on a decent match but his promo work isn’t great. He needs a manager ideally and faces generally don’t have managers!
Is it just jealousy?
I mean partially yes. Just look at Roman. The guy is carved from granite and is as handsome as they come. I think there is an element of that. However, I legitimately feel if they turned him heel for a while that he would become a big star. The worry is that as a heel he would stop selling merchandise, but someone else could step into that spot and shift merch. And you only have to look at someone like Hulk Hogan to see what a heel turn can do to a top face. Far from destroying his legacy, it cemented it.
The elephant in the room
So let me start by saying this – it sucks that Roman has cancer. Cancer in general sucks and he is a decent guy and him and his family don’t deserve that. And fair play to the WWE fans, when he broke the news of his illness and on his return the fans were brilliant. Respectful and impassioned. It was a credit to them that they were able to separate the person from the character for the moment.
However, and this is going to sound harsh, in my opinion, roman missed the mark with his return spiel. I know he isn’t the best mic guy but his words sounded like they were being read directly from a script. Even the bit where he claimed to be going off script sounded scripted. I was watching the event with my partner, a relative newcomer to the crazy world of pro wrestling, and despite me explaining the back story partway through she said “I’m bored of him now” a bit blunt, maybe? But that’s ultimately the problem with Roman, for all his strengths, and there are plenty of them, he’s just a bit boring.
He will get cheers for a while because of his situation, but fans patience will run thin – let’s hope the WWE pulls the trigger on a heel turn with Roman because he does deserve to be a star and his current character will prevent that.