You might be thinking, well yes, we all talk about it all of the time and whatever we say doesn’t make an ounce of difference. Well, nothing rings truer than the subject of Roman Reigns. What is he meant to be? Why is he being booked in such a way? Does the creative really have any clue about what they’re true intentions are with him?
Roman Reigns aka The Big Dog has perhaps been the most talked-about wrestler in the last 10-15 years in the sport. No-one appears to have divided more opinion than the Hawaiian-born athlete, and to be honest, has never really made such sense.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since the WWF Attitude days and never, in all my time of watching WWE, have I been so frustrated watching a superstar main event in the manner that Reigns has. Back in the good old days, it was simple. If you were booed by the crowd, then creative would turn you into the bad guy, if you were cheered then you would be the superhero for the evening or foreseeable future and vice versa.
Strangely enough, none of this occurs when Leati Joseph Anoa’i, his real name, performs in a WWE ring. His treatment on the card and consistently over several pay-per-views pretty much confirmed that chairman Vince McMahon stopped caring about what the fans wanted and envisioned his own kingdom for the sport.
That Royal Rumble
Building up to the 2014 Royal Rumble, there was a lot of momentum behind current top heel Daniel Bryan, his “Yes movement” took the WWE universe by storm and fans truly bought into it. A year later, he still was the top face of the company despite John Cena being the obvious corporate face. Bryan was eliminated early by the old Bray Wyatt and fans were not happy to say the least. Wyatt was effectively booed out of the building after throwing out the man formerly in the Wyatt family and trained by the ‘Heartbreak Kid’ himself, Shaun Michaels.
Reigns entered 19th in the 30-man Battle Royal and was in the ring for 27 minutes and 29 seconds, WWE tried everything to get him cheered and even received help from The Rock by eliminating Titus O’Neill and the Big Show before Rusev entered and was thrown out by Reigns to win. The reception was exactly what WWE did not want and The Rock looked incredibly confused as he raised Reigns’ hand in triumph, only to receive a chorus of boos from the crowd.
These were the early warning signs that McMahon and other members of the creative should have taken into consideration as it was clear that the fans did not want him as the top guy in the morning. Reigns has become the modern-day Marty Jannetty. Same outfit, same music, same move set, even when The Shield split and the likes of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins went forward with gimmick changes, Reigns remained with his tedious and predictable image.
It was almost as if creative had completely run out of ideas for Joe, and that he was just misty-eyed in the sense that he was just happy to be there and willing to do whatever was asked of him. As a result, he appears to have been rewarded with multiple titles and back-to-back main events in Wrestlemania. Including his 2017 match with Brock Lesnar, which was quite possibly one of the worst Mania matches of all time.
So, if a gun was pointed at the head of creative at WWE and were given the ultimatum of changing Reigns’ gimmick or removing Ric Flair from the Hall of Fame, here is what I think should be done with The Rock’s cousin.
The Businessman (NXT)
This wrestling persona was simply brilliant, and hilarious. Triple H, the man overlooking WWE’s development show, was truly impressed with the ability of the Hawaiian man not just with his wrestling ability, but also with his skills on the microphone. Having the advantage of being able to talk loads of smack and promote a show to its highest calibre is something that Reigns did superbly well, and effectively was the birth of NXT and what it is today.
A return to this gimmick wouldn’t be snubbed in a hurry if forced to, and especially if creative made the decision, which needs to be made, about Reigns turning heel. Of course, when he does, it will be a very interesting time in WWE.
Maybe this is a little bit stereotypical due to the origins of the man, but it can’t be a worse idea than his current gimmick. Although it certainly could have a bit of a clash with Samoa Joe in itself, but what’s wrong with the two joining and ruling the tag team division?
Samoa Joe has been extremely unfairly treated due to his lack of opportunity to win belts and taking part in title matches, this could be the big break that he truly deserves and also could be given a boost alongside the ‘top man’ in WWE.
His special moves are terrible, probably worse than The Rock’s, but the difference is that Dwayne Johnson, the man who starred as The Rock, was cheered from the high heavens every time he pulled off one of his signatures. Whereas Reigns’ “Superman Punch” and the “Spear” aren’t quite represented in the same way.
The man is called the Big Dog, which has no association with superheroes, DC, Marvel or anything close. Change the name of his punch to the “Dog Pound” and this would make a lot more sense. Get Reigns to make a lot more dog references on the mic in order to maintain his marketing sales and to produce even more products based on his new persona.
He has a nickname and everything else around it has no reference to it. Look at Triple H, Kurt Angle and the late Eddie Guerrero. Analyse why they are some of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Not just inside the ring but out of it to. Do the same with Roman Reigns, WWE.