How tired are you of reading about Roman Reigns? Anyone? The big Samoan has been all the rage since January of this year and even though he lost at WrestleMania 31, the talk has never really died down. And with the talk come the questions. Did WWE make a mistake by giving him too much, too soon? Was he not able to carry the ball when it was handed to him? Is it over for him?
He has his haters, I can’t deny that. I’ve debated them many times on Twitter myself. Some of them are extreme in their hatred of him while others are very logical in their approach; it ranges from “drop him off a roof” to “he just wasn’t ready.”
Whatever your feelings toward Roman may be, there can be no doubt that the guy did the best he could with what he was given. He was thrust into a virtually impossible situation; get over on Daniel Bryan and hold your own against Brock Lesnar while trying to appear unaffected by all the hate leveled at you on a nightly basis.
That’s a tall order for a veteran, much less a guy that had never been that far up the ladder before. And as much as some just can’t stand Roman, the fact is none of it was his fault. Some guys can either rise to the occasion and deliver, while others struggle. WWE knew what it had and what he was capable of and if there were any reservations then Roman should have been left where he was. To move him too far too soon was an ill advised move on their part.
But in pro wrestling, it’s sink or swim. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. And if you don’t, then you’ll die a slow death. After WrestleMania ended, many fans likely pronounced Roman’s career DOA and honestly, it was hard to argue the point.
However, there is life after death for the former Shield strongman. Thanks to a separation from the main event scene and a more casual approach to his promos, Roman is beginning to get his feet under him. The crowds have not been as harsh toward him lately and it very well could be that they are finally beginning to see the hard work he’s putting in to succeed.
Now, notice I didn’t say he’s ready to be WWE world champion. We’ve been down that road once already and to put him back under that microscope right now really does not do him any favors. In fact, what he’s doing right now is simply about reconnecting with the audience and establishing himself once again.
It’s what WWE tried to do with him before and it worked very well. Roman was looking good in 2014, on his way to big things and at that time there really seemed to be no one that had a major problem with it. But then Daniel Bryan went out with surgery and suddenly WWE went into panic mode.
Bryan had to be replaced and he had to be replaced as soon as possible. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins helped fill the void and so did Roman. The former Shield members brought everything they had every week on TV and before long; it became apparent that the company was going to be in good hands.
But then Roman went out with surgery as well and it all went to pieces once again. By the time he returned, the company was more than ready for him and they welcomed him back with the Slammy for Superstar of the Year. It was that singular act that brought the hate down upon Roman and it only got worse from there.
Overnight, the guy fans loved and wanted to see win was reviled and despised for just being himself. He took the blame for holding Bryan down when he came back and WWE soon became the Roman Reigns show. Every promo, every match, every interview, was all about making Reigns look good and no one really believed he deserved to.
So Roman had his time in the sun; he main evented the biggest night of the year in the industry. He was begrudgingly hailed as the next top guy and Brock was going to do the honors on the grandest stage of them all. It was expected, it was loathed and Roman received more hate for it than anyone could possibly imagine. But then it didn’t happen.
Seth walked away with the gold and Roman had the chance to get back to developing, to maturing as a talent and building his career one match at a time. And while he still has his critics, the overall response from WWE crowds seems to have mellowed. And it will probably only improve from here.
The fact is fans don’t like being told who the next top star is. It doesn’t work out and it really never has. Fans like to feel part of the process, to believe they have a say in the matter. Daniel Bryan’s growth was very organic, it was born and it matured on a very high level and fans were there every step of the way. They believed Daniel would not have been the man without them and honestly, they’re right.
Fans will be more accepting of him this time, only if it doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye the way it did last time. The more they are involved, the more they will surely let go of their hatred for him and eventually Roman will become the top star he’s capable of being.
It’s not over for Roman Reigns. Get used to it.