WWE fans have been voicing their displeasure with Roman Reigns for the better part of the last two years. WWE management has a propensity to book him in ways that often leave us scratching our heads, wondering why he always has to win. That’s not to say that he never loses, but it’s definitely a rarity. That seems to be the sticking point in an era where two potential greats departed early, and another was forced into an early retirement because his push came too late. So what is it about Roman Reigns that makes him the quintessential favorite behind the curtain, but universally despised outside of it?
Let’s destroy this myth right now: Roman Reigns is not a bad wrestler. In fact, I’d say he’s probably in the top three performers in WWE today. If you look back at some of the best matches over the last two years, Roman Reigns has to be mentioned several times. He put on two really great matches with AJ Styles for the WWE Title, had a fantastic rivalry with Kevin Owens over the Universal Championship, and fought off Rusev for the United States title. The guy can be trusted in big match scenarios no matter who he’s facing. So what is it that makes the fans hate him so much? Why do we complain with each and every victory that he earns? I suspect for that answer, we’ll need to look no further than the man he most recently defeated, John Cena.
For the better part of the last 10 years, John Cena had been booked (pre-determined) to win against a ton of our favorites. CM Punk, Bray Wyatt, Ryback, Mark Henry, Big Show, etc were all victims of Super Cena. The fans absolutely hated it, not because Cena couldn’t wrestle, but because they were simply tired of seeing him win. Fast forward to present day, and Roman Reigns is in virtually the same spot. He’s running through the entire roster, with no end in sight, and while he doesn’t have the World Title currently, he’s about due for another championship run.
So here’s the thing about Roman Reigns… Fans, myself included don’t specifically hate Reigns himself. In fact, I actually like the guy. What I do hate, is how his character is booked though. Watching him wrestle John Cena last night, Roman didn’t have the mannerisms of a face (good guy) like he is so often portrayed, and instead he looked like a heel (bad guy). He was often over-confident and borderline cocky, taunting Cena several times throughout the match. These are typical traits of a bad guy, and although he normally behaves this way, management insists on treating him as if he’s a good guy. The way he’s booked though, is no fault of his own, and is more indicative of Vince McMahon’s faith in the rest of the locker room.
I think the single biggest way to truly and genuinely get Roman Reigns all the way over (popular amongst all wrestling fans), would be to humanize him. Maybe instead of him winning majority of his big matches, have him start to lose. Allow him to second guess himself, or feel the frustration that literally the entire roster have felt underneath him. Someone (other than Braun Strowman) has to beat Reigns, and they have to do it convincingly.
Roman Reigns will be around the business for a very long time. He has already cemented himself as a big name player that WWE can trust to put in big matches and he’ll deliver every time. The problem is, in his current form WWE will eventually chase fans away if Reigns is the only guy cleaning up. The wrestling industry is one that’s constantly evolving and WWE has to be willing to shift Reigns out of the Hogan/Cena mold he’s shaped in. It’s high time for WWE to bring Roman Reigns back down to earth, or risk the credibility of the rest of the RAW main event roster.