WWE | Pro Wrestling

Is Roman Reigns the Next John Cena?

For the past several months, Roman Reigns has been the talk of WWE fans everywhere. Not because of his catchy alliterative name and not because of his trendy sleeve tattoos. The reason Roman has become the buzz word for much of the WWE faithful is the commonly held belief that he is headed for big things in the company.

And by big I mean really big; John Cena big. Yes folks, much of the hype surrounding the Reignman is due to the notion that he is heading for the upper echelon of WWE, namely the spot of top face that is currently held by the guy everyone loves to hate. Or hates to love. Or something like that.

But on his way there, if he is indeed on his way there, something bad is beginning to happen for Roman. And by bad I mean John Cena bad. The truth is that there is a grumbling among the so-called WWE Universe that Roman Reigns is nothing more than the next John Cena. And the fact is that practically no one wants that.

I don’t know for sure when it began and honestly I’m not really certain if it’s a fair assessment. But the truth is that talk is out there and it’s only getting louder. The guy that was supposed to represent the future, the guy that worked his way up inside the most dominant faction in WWE history, is now beginning to get some hate. And yes, much of that hate is directly associated with Cena.

The five moves of doom. If you’re a WWE fan, you know that phrase and depending on which side you’re on, you either love it or you hate it. But you mostly hate it. It’s the trademark move-set of John Cena, the repetitive routine that fans witness every time WWE’s Superman is in the ring.

Running shoulder tackle, spinning side slam, the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, The Attitude Adjustment and The STFU. Throw in a bulldog off the ropes as an honorable mention and in a nutshell, you have the entirety of John Cena’s offense. Despite what opponent he faces and no matter what event he’s headlining, the five moves are all but a guaranteed occurrence every time Cena is in the ring.

If you’re guessing he’s hated for it, you guessed right. If you’re thinking that a lot of guys have a reliable move-set they go to in nearly every match, you would be right about that too. But the difference between them and Cena is that John tends to go straight to that routine very early on in his matches. The bulldog and shoulder tackle in particular are relied upon quite often, even when the end of the bout is nowhere in sight.

It’s one of the biggest criticisms against Cena and it’s one that continues to haunt him everyday; the belief that he is just not fundamentally sound in the ring. No matter how many matches he works or how many promos he cuts assuring fans that no one can out work him, the fact is that Cena is seen as the modern day Hulk Hogan.

But we all know that. It’s a message that is repeated so many times with Cena that it’s become the gospel truth by now. And I have to say that I did not see that truth being applied to Roman. Call me crazy, but I never saw it coming.

Fans want John gone. Say what you will about the number of people that love him, we all know that those people are not always in the room. But the haters are. And the haters want John gone because they’re sick of the same tired routine. So when Roman’s name was first being bandied about as a potential replacement, much of the vibe was very positive.

After all, a Roman Reigns ascension meant a John Cena decline. And that was an idea that a lot of fans could definitely get behind. But things have changed. Roman’s ability in the ring is being called into question, so much that now many fans are watching his matches and they’re beginning to count the moves.

Then there’s the issue of his image, which is also very comparable to John’s. Roman may not be wearing the multicolored T-Shirts, baggy shorts or ball caps but he definitely has a very marketable look. He may look like he’s wearing the under armor of Darth Vader’s suit but honestly, you could put anything on this guy and he could probably sell it.

He has the kind of face that the company can put on a program. He has an image that can be kid friendly, appeal to guys that love brawlers and to women that like their men tall dark and handsome. He is also the kind of Superstar that would look great in an action movie. Physically, Roman is the complete package.

But his mic skills are where the comparisons to John begin to differ. Some fans believe that Cena has charisma and sounds great in promos. Other fans want to hit John in the mouth with a cinder block whenever he starts talking. But when it comes to Roman, nearly everyone agrees; dude needs some work.

He just doesn’t seem comfortable when he talks. That’s not to say he can’t improve, of course. He took turns cutting promos before and most of the time his lines consisted of “believe in The Shield.” So maybe he should be allowed a little time to grow into the role he has now. Right?

Tell that to the John Cena haters that look at Roman and see another John Cena. And fair warning; if you think you’ve heard the worst of it, think again. Once fans got a load of Dean Ambrose, they saw beyond Roman. And when Daniel Bryan returns, they may just forget all about him altogether.

Is it fair? No. Is it going to happen? Only time will tell. As far as I’m concerned, WWE needs to start moving ahead and Roman is probably going to be one of the cornerstones of its future. Is he the next Rock? Probably not. Is he the next Cena? I really hope not. Honestly, no one wants that.

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Tom Clark

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/

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