We recently covered Roman Reigns’ suspension due to violating the wellness policy. Our coverage wasn’t all bad. We threw him a bone and also explored a few different ways that he could come back with a vengeance and really put his mark on WWE. Unfortunately for Reigns, it seems that he is destined to be hated until the day he retires. But why is that? Here are five reasons why the fans are never going to rally behind The Roman Empire.
5. He is Vince’s Guy, Not Ours
Vince McMahon loves Roman Reigns. That is crystal clear even to the most casual of viewers. The incessant push, the spotlight, the title, the main events; they were all given to him without much consideration as to whether or not he had actually earned them. Since going solo at the hands of “Plan B” in 2014, Roman has won the World Heavyweight Championship three times. This Sunday he gets yet another shot at the title at WWE’s Battleground pay-per-view, despite being recently suspended. We could start Monday Night Raw next week with Reigns as the world champion. Too bad he’s not the champ we want.
Roman’s thrust to high-tier, top-card status has never been favorable with the crowd. Granted, the WWE Universe shouldn’t be able to hijack Vince’s company and demand whatever they want. But they do have a pretty good track record. Just ask The Rock, Stone Cold, Edge, Daniel Bryan, and Shinsuke Nakamura. When a guy is truly an undeniable superstar, the fans know how to pick ’em. The moniker that Vince loved to throw at Daniel Bryan about being a “B+ player” really and truly fits the character of Roman Reigns.
The fans never once wanted Roman Reigns to be the guy, not even a little bit. But WWE persisted and Vince demanded we show his new goldenboy favoritism. Roman Reigns got labeled a star before he was ready, and long before we had given our stamp of approval on him. He was pushed prematurely, right into the title picture with his only previous exposure to a belt being a single Tag Team Championship run with Seth Rollins. WWE didn’t care about fans’ reactions towards Reigns. This was no more prevalent than at the 2015 Royal Rumble, when Reigns won the match, via interference from his cousin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The crowd heavily booed, both Reigns and The Rock. If The Rock is getting booed, you know you have a problem. Despite our backlash, Vince continued pushing Reigns, even going so far as having Daniel Bryan put him over in an attempt to make people like him. They made Reigns put in blue-colored contact lenses, make more Make-a-Wish appearances, and having Reigns seemingly bury every other talent on the card during his matches to paint him as a lovable underdog. Hell, they even let him win a Slammy for being Superstar of the Year after not wrestling most of the calendar year. WWE’s best efforts did no good and Reigns entered WrestleMania 31 to a massive amount of hatred, being booed and flipped off live in front of thousands. Vince loves the guy. We unfortunately do not, and probably never will.
4. Lacking Complete Confidence
Roman comes across as unsure of himself when giving promos on the mic. He’s better on pre-taped interviews, but on live television he is hard to watch. He doesn’t deliver and he just doesn’t pack any bite. That may be chucked up to bad promo writing, but even if you are given crap dialogue, you can still find a way to deliver somehow. Then again, his lack of surefire confidence might all be psychosomatic. Look at his gimmick. All black ring-gear, same entrance music and moves since 2012. He’s bland, he’s white bread. He’s a plate of meat and potatoes with no gravy or seasoning. It’s safe, predictable, and worst of all boring. He’s so generic that, as we mentioned above, WWE tried changing his eye color. Nothing about him is exciting. He’s two-dimensional. And to the viewing audience it would appear that he is very much aware of how watered-down he really is. There is nothing unique or exciting about Roman Reigns, and that speaks to our lizard brain, informing us to leave him behind because he’s weak. This leads to our next point.
3. He’s Not a Good Guy or a Bad Guy, He’s Just a Guy
Roman Reigns shined when he was with The Shield. Why? Because he hung around in the background looking menacing, and he let Ambrose and Rollins do most of the talking. He was the muscle of the group. Since going solo, he has been uninteresting. He couldn’t get over as a babyface. They haven’t bothered trying to turn him heel yet. And prior to his wellness violation suspension, he was playing the role of a weak in-betweener. He even said as much with his post-WrestleMania promo: “I’m not a good guy. I’m not a bad guy. I’m the guy.” There’s no reason to cheer someone like that. And the main reason we boo him isn’t because of heel heat, we just don’t want to see him in the ring. He has gripped the world title three times and never once carried himself like a champion. In his first quest for the belt, they had him take a massive ass-whooping at the hands of Brock Lesnar, and we all cheered the Mayor of Suplex City. Roman Reigns just doesn’t have star quality. He has no pop. He is the equivalent of putting ice in a glass of water. No flavor, no depth, no anything. And that’s just as much WWE’s fault as it is Roman’s fault.
2. John Cena (Spicy Hero Remix)
Roman Reigns is nothing more than an emo John Cena. Women and children love John Cena. Women and children love Roman Reigns. Real fans of professional wrestling hate them both. Cena and Reigns are both self-righteous and are portrayed as never say quit heroes always looking to fight and do the right thing. Neither is really a heel, neither is really a face. They just come out and do the same moves every single match, make the same remarks during every single feud, and get a non-stop hype train from the commentary team. John Cena uses some form of phrasing to talk about his opponents “balls” or “testicles.” Roman Reigns does exactly the same thing. They fill the same role for Make-a-Wish kids. Roman Reigns shirt says “I Can. I Will.” And John Cena’s towels say “Never Give Up.” Reigns is a spicy Cena clone, nothing more. It’s evident in similar pushes to the top and the fact that neither man can stay out of the championship picture for long. Similar to Super Cena’s Attitude Adjustment, anytime Roman Reigns lands a Superman Punch in the ring, we can safely assume a 90% victory rate. And unfortunately, it’s inevitably that the two will meet at some future WrestleMania for the world title, and we’re all losers in that matchup.
1. He’s Good, But Reminds You of Something Better
Roman Reigns came to prominence from the dismantling of The Shield. But unlike Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns never moved on from the group. He continued using The Shield “Special Op” entrance theme. He continued coming out through the crowd. And he continued dressing in the black military gear The Shield wore to the ring. Nothing about Reigns changed. Of all the guys from The Shield, why was he singled out as the one to continue using everything? Especially when Seth Rollins was billed as The Architect of The Shield. Seth Rollins transformed his look, as did Ambrose. Both got exponentially better on the microphone, and the pair expanded their repertoire in the ring. Roman Reigns never improved. In all aspects of his career, he is the same character he was four years ago. There has been no growth.
He still uses the Superman Punch. He still uses the Spear. He still cocks his fist. He still sucks on the microphone. Reigns never evolved. And so, subconsciously, every time his music hits, it just reminds us of The Shield, one of the best angles in WWE over the last decade. It makes us think of another time, pinning for a group where Reigns was the weakest link. While Rollins is the star and Ambrose is the “likable” one, Roman Reigns is just a former member of The Shield. That’s what made his mega-push so baffling. He never showed signs of being a breakout star, and still hasn’t to this day.
Despite being hated, Rollins rose to the top and has actually gotten the fans behind him now. Despite being put into shit angles, Dean Ambrose has excelled to become a big fan favorite. Roman Reigns was booed, is booed, and will continue being booed because he is not someone we care about. And the fact that he gives interviews showing a nonchalant attitude about the whole thing, declaring he doesn’t care what we think, just makes him come across as being lazy and having a shit attitude. He could be a marketable heel, he could get cheered as a hero; but he just doesn’t seem interested in either path. He’s walking a straight line in his career and before long it will be too late to do anything with him. And to think, I actually wrote THIS article about him.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker