Liam Hoofe on why Roman Reigns is the best thing on WWE television right now…
Last Sunday night at WrestleMania Roman Reigns retired The Undertaker, and everybody hates him for it. The following night on Raw, ‘The Guy’ came out to the ring and received perhaps the most negative reaction I have heard from a live audience in nearly 20 years of watching WWE.
The former Shield member couldn’t even get the mic to his mouth without receiving a torrent of abuse in the process. Hell, the fans even temporarily hijacked Vince’s segment later in the night with anti-Roman chants, making sure there was no way he could miss the fan’s anger.
WWE have been trying to make Roman Reigns a star for years, but in my mind, they finally managed it at WrestleMania. That level of reaction is something special, providing, of course, he doesn’t just return as the same old boring Roman next week.
See, I’m not here to defend Reigns and say, well, you know, his promos are scripted and he’s actually pretty good in the ring. Those two are things are true, but the guy has still shown next to no personality over the last couple of years. For me, the reason is that they’ve totally focused on the wrong part of Roman’s personality. Roman Reigns has one of the most arrogant smiles in the world. His cock-sure manner screams I’m better than you and his in-ring style is all about power and beating the hell out of somebody.
If you look at two of the biggest stars of the last couple of decades – The Rock and John Cena, what made them work was the ability to hone into the parts of their personalities that really got them over. Could John Cena walk around kicking tens bell out of everybody and then simply smile about it afterwards? No. So why have creative decided that Roman Reigns can do the John Cena thing and crack jokes in every promo and be Mr Nice Guy in the build up to matches? Reigns is a visceral guy, his character isn’t as warm and fuzzy as Cena’s and the company has gone wrong simply by trying to make it so. His natural look is one of a guy who doesn’t give a damn what you think, and that it was got him so over with The Shield in the first place.
What we saw last Monday Night was arguably the best promo of Reigns’ career so far. He came into the ring, stood there, smiled, shrugged his shoulders a bit, and then uttered five words, sending every mark in the world into a hissy fit in the process. It was perfect. This is the character that Reigns needs to show us more often.
Currently, the IWC is arguing as to whether Reigns has turned heel, but, honestly right now? Who cares. Reigns’ current approach to his character doesn’t need to classified as a face or a heel, he’s simply a badass who couldn’t care less what you think. Reigns has been telling us for months that ‘he isn’t a good guy, he isn’t a bad guy, he’s just the guy’ but has not really lived up to that, until now. Whether you like him or not, his actions this past week have created some major buzz around him, and that’s all that matters for his character right now.
If people are expecting a full-blown heel turn then they are going to be waiting a long time. Reigns doesn’t need to hit someone with a chair, or rely on run-ins like the other heels on the roster, he can just beat whoever is put in front of him. Likewise, he doesn’t need to be a face either, he shouldn’t be coming down to help out a fallen foe, and he shouldn’t be cutting promos where he drops catchphrases or trying to be funny. He simply needs to keep his mouth shut and spear anyone who gets in his path. If the audience boo him, he should just give them a smile or a shrug, like he did on Monday night. The Shield worked so well because they were just a bad asses out for themselves, and Reigns was the one that stood out playing that character, so keep it going now.
It’s been a long time since WWE had a character with so many options on their plate. If he came out next week and speared Finn Balor because he thought he was stepping on his feet, it would set up a feud and make perfect sense. Likewise, if he came out and speared Kevin Owens because he decided he wants the US title, it would also set up a feud and make perfect sense.
Reigns can deliver in the ring, and he can sure as hell pull off being an arrogant SOB, so it’s time for the company to embrace that. They need to stop trying to make him the biggest face in the company and instead start making him the biggest bad ass in the company because if Monday Night proved anything, it’s that he can certainly pull that off. Keep him away from a microphone and let his actions do the talking.
Right now Reigns is the most interesting character on TV. Love him or hate him, his recent actions have got everybody talking. WWE is about entertainment and on Monday night he showed me he is more than capable of that.
What do you think about the recent events involving Roman Reigns? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter, here- @liamhoofe