For the past few years, WWE has made it known in every way possible that Roman Reigns is going to be the top star in the company whether we liked it or not; judging by the crowd reactions he gets almost every time he comes out on TV…plenty of you do not. But what went wrong? Reigns was once part of the popular group of rebellious newcomers known as “The Shield” with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose who dominated upon their arrival and immediately became big stars. Fans even cheered wildly for the underdog Reigns to win the 2014 Royal Rumble instead of the heavily rumored (and eventual) winner Batista. So what went wrong? For starters, The Shield broke up.
It seemed like just when The Shield was at its hottest, turning face but keeping their edge and getting big wins over the reunited “Evolution,” WWE decided there was too much star power to keep in a group and it would be better to utilize them as singles stars. The problem was that Roman Reigns fell victim to following the cookie-cutter “good guy” mold that turns fans on talents faster than they can say “tater tots.”
Roman Reigns was the bad-ass power behind The Shield – he didn’t have to say much, he just went out there and powerbombed guys through tables with no remorse and we loved it. As soon as word got out that Reigns was getting the big push, he suddenly had to start being funny and showing how nice of a guy he really was. For some reason, no one has picked up just how many times this has happened to heels that get over big, turn face, change their character, and fail. I mean, it’s nice that he plays with his daughter, but these commercials that aired did NOTHING for his badass image:
On top of that, Roman suddenly had to start talking on the mic a LOT more and that meant attempting to be funny for some reason…not good. Reigns’ “tater tot” jokes and other corny attempts at humor went over like a lead balloon and it’s been downhill on the mic ever since. When Roman did his talking in the ring, he was on the road to being a crowd favorite, but his attempts at being humorous pretty much derailed the entire effort and he was met with a chorus of boos no matter who he defeated or what goals he achieved.
Fast forward to this past year where Roman Reigns’ push has involved beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania and defeating John Cena clean…yet the fans were still booing because Reigns just couldn’t get his original magic back – that is until The Shield reunited on RAW. It seemed like the old Reigns was immediately back – more action and less talk and the fans were seemingly immediately behind him again just like that. Is it having Rollins and Ambrose by his side? Is it just kicking ass without the jokes? There’s just something about Roman Reigns in The Shield that is missing when he’s on his own.
Many will argue that Reigns is the most popular guy at house shows and gets the biggest response, and it’s undoubtedly true since kids are going to cheer for whatever top “good guy” WWE presents, but when it comes to TV, fans obviously want the badass characters that don’t care about being entertainers; funny Steve Austin was never shown having tea parties when he was the hottest star in the company…that era should tell WWE a lot about what fans want in a top star.
Roman Reigns’ current run with The Shield may, unfortunately, be short-lived since it’s already out there for almost a year that WWE wants Reigns defeating Lesnar at WrestleMania 34, but we hope WWE can somehow extend seeing this version of Reigns because it seems without The Shield, Reigns will forever be the top “good guy” that the vocal masses will never accept.