At the rate things are going, it might be too much to ask for a Roman Reigns heel turn at WrestleMania 33. Although “The Big Dog” has an extremely popular opponent in The Undertaker, WWE doesn’t seem to have any plans to switch his alignment from heroic to villainous. But even with fans booing him mercilessly on Monday Night RAW, on pay-per-views, and even at house shows, Reigns isn’t too fazed by this negative reception, something he made clear in today’s episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast.
Many have long been speculating about a Roman Reigns heel turn, especially now that he’s scheduled to face the legendary Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, but according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestleNewz), Reigns will likely remain a babyface for the immediate foreseeable future due to the fact he has become WWE’s top merchandise seller and erstwhile top draw John Cena’s post-WrestleMania hiatus to focus on his acting career. That might lead to more boos from audiences, but as Forbes posited, it may be a “bad business decision” due to the potential loss of merchandise sales that would result from such a turn.
On this week’s recently uploaded episode of Talk Is Jericho, Reigns sat down with WWE colleague Chris Jericho to talk about the usual variety of topics. These included his background growing up in a wrestling family, his days playing college football in Georgia Tech and pro football for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, and the close real-life bond he shares with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, who he made his main roster debut with as The Shield. But one of the more interesting points of this week’s Talk Is Jericho came when Jericho asked Roman Reigns about the boos he gets from the WWE Universe despite his heroic alignment and how he’s able to remain professional despite this adversity.
“I’m just me,” said Reigns, talking about how he handles negative fan reactions. “I’ve always had some kind of… I rub people either the right way or the wrong (way). You either like me or you don’t.”
— PWM – WWE COVERAGE (@ProWrestlingMag) March 31, 2017
Reigns then shed some light on a point Jericho had made earlier — that booing him, much like booing Cena in the past, has become the in thing to do among wrestling fans, especially those within the 31-year-old Roman’s age range.
“But the thing is, it’s cool because they compete (with their cheers). The people who like me, they’re gonna cheer, and the guys my age who don’t, they want to be louder, so it becomes a thing. That’s what’s it’s all about. This is the world that we live in today. Not everybody’s gonna like you. And people want to see you do good, but not that good.”
Moving on to the inevitable topic of a Roman Reigns heel turn, Jericho raised the point that many have been waiting for this turn to take place, much like fans had long wanted John Cena to turn to the dark side and play a villainous character. He added that fans may likely stop booing Reigns if WWE gives in to their desires and turns him heel. With that in mind, Roman stressed that he feels he’s right where he wants to be as a character, and that turning him heel would be too predictable.
“If I turn heel, what am I? It’s like everything that’s been done (before). Why not just be me? No one’s ever been like me. This is uncharted territory. I can be anything I wanted to be, so why put myself on one side, why not just dabble? Why not have the full range, do whatever I want, be ‘The Guy’?”
For his final thoughts on the topic, Reigns actually encouraged fans to keep booing him.
“Have fun, man. Boo the s**t out of me. If it’s making you cooler with this dude and that dude next to you, and y’all having a great night, please. Say all you want to me. I’m a grown man. You’re not gonna hurt my feelings.”
Aside from Roman Reigns sharing his thoughts on a heel turn and the fact that fans still enjoy booing him, he also had some words to say to Jericho about his upcoming match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. He said that he feels “grateful” for the opportunity given to him and for the chance to share the ring with the iconic “Deadman” on WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of the year. He also took a moment to speak in character and issue one final threat to The Undertaker before WrestleMania 33, as he referred to an early-2013 angle where The Shield, then booked as a villainous faction, beat down on ‘Taker and took him out with a triple powerbomb.
“Dead men don’t listen to podcasts, so one of these demons needs to tell him (that) ‘I speared your a** through the wall, boy.'”
[Featured Image by WWE]