In the months leading up to this past year’s WrestleMania, there wasn’t a character that the WWE fans resented more than Roman Reigns. Some people blamed it on the fact that he was going to be in the WrestleMania main-event instead of Daniel Bryan, while others believed that the fans were turning on him because it was clear that WWE was totally behind him, and that the fans will rebel against any wrestler that has the full support and backing of the company. Whatever the real reason is, the fact is that the fans just weren’t into him, which ultimately forced WWE to change the result of the WrestleMania main-event.
With John Cena approaching his late-30’s, WWE badly wants to find its next poster-child, and they want to find him right now, which is what led to the immediate and inorganic push of Roman Reigns. He’s everything that the company wants in a top guy — tall, muscular, good-looking with a great head of hair. But, he wasn’t everything that the fans wanted, at least not at the time.
Most people would say that Roman Reigns’ push was forced, and that it came way before he was ready for it, which is exactly what WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart said during his interview with Sports Illustrated.
Hart said that Reigns’ push was poorly thought out, and that it was so obviously manufactured that it hurt a guy who was going to get over on his own. Hart also thinks that Reigns will eventually find his way, but he believes that WWE has hurt Reigns in the short term.
“It was so manufactured that it hurt someone who was naturally getting over on his own. As soon as the company decided they were going to make him the star, people started to sour on him. Roman Reigns is a really good wrestler and he’ll find his path. He turned the corner at WrestleMania when the fans accepted him on his own merit just ’cause he had a great match.”
Also in the interview, Hart mentioned that Reigns’ character is too similar to Triple H’s, and that — because Reigns is always angry and indestructable — it’s hard for him to get sympathy from the WWE fans, which, of course, is going to make it difficult for him to be a top babyface.
“In the creation of Roman Reigns, he seems to now be a lot like Triple H’s character. Long hair, indestructible, no facials, he’s always angry, and there’s no softness in his eyes, so it’s very hard to get sympathy. All of that was poorly thought out. There are ways to achieve all those things with dramatic logic in the match, but they missed a lot of that with him. The company said, ‘We’re going to get this guy so over that no one will be able to compare to him.’ In the end, no one liked him. They just need sometimes that there is a logic that goes to wrestling and people like to see.”
Things have gotten better for Roman Reigns over the last couple of months, but he’s still not been fully embraced by the WWE fans. The feeling in WWE is that Reigns will be full embraced by the time WrestleMania 32 takes place next year, which remains to be seen.
[Image via WWE]