Roman Reigns will battle The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 this weekend, and if the WWE fans at Monday Night Raw was any indication, Roman can expect to hear a lot of boos at the event. Roman Reigns also cut a promo on Raw that was the most heel-sounding promo he has ever cut, making the boos louder.
Interestingly, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Triple H mentioned that the WWE doesn’t need to officially turn Roman Reigns heel because, in reality, he is already a heel. The way Triple H describes it, the WWE fans booing Roman Reigns is what makes him a face or heel more than what he does in the ring.
“There is 70 percent of the crowd booing [Roman Reigns] out of the building!’ If that’s your belief, then isn’t he already the biggest heel we have? If 70 percent of that crowd is booing him, then he’s a heel. We’re just presenting him to you in a different way that makes you hate him.”
There are a lot of wrestling fans who might not agree with this statement by Triple H regarding Roman Reigns’ character. Going back many years, the thought process is that a heel needs to become evil and turn on the faces to become a true heel such as when Hulk Hogan joined the nWo.
However, look back to the start of the Attitude Era in the WWE. Bret “The Hitman” Hart was a face who the fans were becoming disinterested in. Stone Cold Steve Austin was a heel that many WWE fans were starting to cheer for. The two men fought at WrestleMania, and the fans demanded that the two men change sides.
However, when it happened, Bret Hart never changed and still talked about how disappointed he was that the fans would cheer someone like Stone Cold and a degenerate like Shawn Michaels. Stone Cold Steve Austin never changed and still refused to play the role of a babyface, but he became the most popular face in the WWE.
Taking a look at the promo that Roman Reigns cut on Monday Night Raw, it is clear that he is playing the role of the heel in the WrestleMania 33 match with The Undertaker. Everyone loves The Undertaker, and Roman Reigns stole his line of it being his yard and has said he will end the WWE career of The Undertaker. That is a heel statement if there ever was one.
Roman Reigns also said that this was his time, which was a John Cena slogan. He even called out John Cena if he didn’t like it. These are statements that prove that Roman Reigns can be a heel without turning pure evil, and that is important for the WWE.
Ryback has bashed the WWE a lot on his podcast, and he made an interesting comment this past week about Roman Reigns as well. Ryback said that the WWE will never turn Roman Reigns completely into a heel because he still has a large fan base, especially among the kids – and that is who spends the most money at live WWE events.
“The more successful you are, the more people hate you. But, I do feel you have to acknowledge them on a certain level. But the reason, if they haven’t done it yet, it’s probably because of the merchandise numbers that he’s pulling in [are] probably very, very strong.”
Forbes has reported in the past that Roman Reigns is a top five WWE superstar when it comes to merchandise sales. He is also one of the most popular stars when it comes to WWE YouTube videos, with six of the top 10 most watched WWE videos of 2016. That means Roman Reigns is selling a lot of merchandise, and the WWE doesn’t need to turn him heel or risk losing that money.
Triple H summed it up perfectly in his interview. He said that Roman Reigns gets one of the loudest reactions every night, and it is both cheers and boos. Whether fans like it or not, Roman Reigns is very successful and sells a lot of tickets, and he will never turn full heel in the WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]