WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roman Reigns and the WWE Babyface Formula

The WWE has a way of taking guys we like and turning them into monsters we hate.

John Cena was the beloved “Doctor of Thuganomics” before his “Hustle, Respect, Loyalty” mantra became all we would know of him for the next decade. Dolph Ziggler was everyone’s favorite heel, winning the World Heavyweight championship to the loudest pop I’ve heard in a long time, before they turned him into a snarky, dickish face with no real motivations. And don’t even get me started on Sheamus, who went from one of the best hoss characters in the WWE to a generic match formula.

Now they’ve gotten to Roman Reigns, too.

The former muscle of The Shield, Reigns has had a meteoric rise over the last year while the group rose to legendary levels. He, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose put on incredible trios matches that hadn’t been seen in the WWE, well, ever. Any match they had turned into a five-star match and Reigns was quickly becoming the group’s breakout star: he had cool moves, always got the momentum and the cool finish, and just happened to look like this super cool handsome prince with Vidal Sassoon hair. He was the guy making Renee Young openly swoon on national television and we could hardly blame her for that.

But ever since the breakup of The Shield, things have become a bit more familiar. Instead of being protected by Ambrose and Rollins both in the ring – where the two would do the bulk of the work before giving Reigns the hot tag and the big moments – and on the mic – where Ambrose would do the leg work and Reigns would get to deliver the always awesome “believe in The Shield” stamp at the end – Reigns has had to make due for himself and the results are less than promising.

On the mic, it’s clear Roman still needs work. He really loves to say “ass” for no real reason other than it makes the kids and adults-who-think-this-is-real go “ooooooooh man, he said ‘ass’ he’s super serious, y’all”. He recycles lines and struggles to really get his message out. It should just be “I’m gonna superman punch your face off BELIEVE IN THE…I mean, BELIEVE IN ME.” Boom, quick and to the point. Instead, he’s got this Randy Orton thing going on where he kind of meanders through, over-explaining things, making bad puns and 10 minute threats that could be conveyed in 30 seconds. The next step is to give him the nickname of a dangerous animal that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense in comparison and then just beat that into everyone’s skulls for the rest of our days.

In the ring, it’s even worse. The WWE seems to like going by a certain formula for a few specific guys. For Cena and Sheamus, they get beat on for a while (rarely selling anything in a convincing fashion; Sheamus is saved by the fact that he turns super pink and sweaty so he at least looks like he’s gotten his ass kicked) before they pull out a flash finisher for the win. No sense of vulnerability, no sense that they’ll lose. You just know their finisher is coming at some point and it becomes this pointless, boring match with no real purpose. Reigns just kind of goes through the motions, gets beat up a little and then hits all of his spots and wins. If that isn’t John Cena for the last infinity years, then I just don’t know what is.

With Daniel Bryan out indefinitely and the WWE searching for non-Cena faces, Reigns’ ascent will continue and this problem will only grow worse. Hopefully, he can avoid the issues that plague WWE faces these days – generally thinking and acting like the worst people on the planet for little or no reason – but WWE faces usually tend to fall under the same umbrella.

It was nice having you around, Roman. When you’re running around as a douche-y face that never loses, I’ll remember the good times…until you spear your way to your 14th WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan has written all over the web from The Farm Club to The Hockey Writers to Puck Rant. When he's not rambling about wrestling here at CCB, you can find him at Two Pad Stack as it won't let me add a URL in an email) talking mostly Sabres but generally whatever is on his mind. Follow him on Twitter: @TwoPadStackRW.

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