There’s having your “next big thing” overcome nearly insurmountable odds. Then, there’s laying it on so thick that your audience not only disapproves of this push, but openly voices their displeasure at it. Unfortunately for Roman Reigns, the latter seems to have been the case in more than a few cities playing host to WWE live events. When did Vince McMahon & company go overboard with trying to make Roman look like a Superman and how can they gain back the portion of the audience that they lost?
The first that it was publicly stated that there was an agenda to put the rocket pack on Reigns and shoot him straight to the top was in one of CM Punk’s infamous shoot interviews. Punk recounts a handicap match he was scheduled for against all three members of the Shield. Before the match, Punk was allegedly told by nearly a half dozen officials that, though Punk was scheduled to win, he needed to do all in his power to “make Roman Reigns look strong”. This has yet to be corroborated, but anyone that has been watching WWE programming the past two years, Punk’s allegation isn’t a hard pill to swallow. The booking of Roman since the Shield was dissolved resembled the booking of another Superman-like superstar that a large portion of the audience has rejected, John Cena. However, as much as fans give Cena a hard time, he’s at least someone who is considered to have paid his dues. Many feel that despite Reigns not having a wrestling background or any experience in the independent circuit, the powers that be (Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn) were sold from day one solely because of Roman’s look and his family having a long standing working relationship with the McMahons.
This all isn’t to take anything away from Reigns. His ring work is solid and his mic skills, while still not up to par with where a main eventer should be, has improved. He has the tools to become the top of the WWE food chain within the next two to three years. But since the powers that be are hellbent on rushing his progress, how can he get over? To paraphrase D-Generation X, I’ve got two words for ya…turn heel.
With Seth Rollins’ knee injury, creative was forced to push the then Money In The Bank contract holder, Sheamus. Though Sheamus does feel like a place holder champion. It would be easy to buy that Reigns would be fed up with the fans constantly not giving him the respect he feels he’s earned, despite him overcoming every roadblock that the evil Authority has put in his way. Roman decides it’s time to make his deal with the devil. He should betray a popular babyface (the most likely candidate would be his friend and former Shield teammate Dean Ambrose) and end an episode of Raw, or a pay-per-view event, with Reigns shaking hands with Triple H. He should then go on a tear, ripping through the WWE roster to solidify his dominance. The boos that he’d then receive from the crowd would be the type that the company actually wants, instead of ones that upper management scuttles to cover up.
How would you book Roman Reigns so that the naysayers finally get behind him?