Normally, being controversial is a good thing. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the first figure in the WWE that was truly a controversial figure. He wouldn’t obey the rules. He would fight against the establishment and try and get under Vince McMahon’s skin. Austin was the prototypical working adult who wanted to tell their bosses “no,” and rebel against the authority. That’s what worked so well with Stone Cold Steve Austin in the Attitude Era.
Transitioning to John Cena, at first, he was the most-over man in the WWE. The audience wasn’t worried about spectacular wrestling ability, while the focus was still on the storylines and writing of the feuds. Cena was a benefactor of great booking in that time period. It lasted until the writing got worse and the Internet Wrestling Community wanted wrestling again. When that took place, Cena’s “flaw” was exposed to the WWE Universe.
He isn’t the best wrestler, but has had several intense matches with various WWE superstars. Umaga, JBL, Triple H, Edge CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton are only a few examples of his skill inside the squared circle. Nonetheless, WWE fans soured on Cena because he would dominate the wrestling scene and constantly be in the main event. He was controversial for that reason alone. The WWE wanted him there, while the bulk of fans didn’t.
Roman Reigns is the latest WWE star to be a controversial figure, but for an even more severe reason than Cena. Fans took a liking to Reigns before he was pushed by McMahon and the WWE Creative team. Now, he’s booed in every arena, but still taking on a babyface character. Triple H commented on Roman Reigns’ character heading into WWE Payback 1rA2j#cAyenAP@@3gk#v&ln9 Sunday night.
“Yeah. I think the world is a different place now. I think you’re going to find it very hard now, at the top level, to find anybody that is either a good guy or a bad guy. Someone who is universally loved or universally disliked. It’s very difficult. I think part of that is the internet, in that I don’t care what the topic is, whether it’s politics, music, sports, anything, you can go on the internet and find somebody who loves it and somebody who hates it. You can jump on whatever conversation you want to have with people who are like-minded to what you think, or opposite-minded to what you think. And that emboldens your position right? So I think the time of ‘hey, this is the guy and he’s the good guy’ and everybody goes ‘yay he’s the good guy’ – I think that time has gone.”
Now, the origin of Reigns saying, “He isn’t a good guy, bad guy, but he’s the guy,” is found. It was presumably a combination between Triple H and McMahon. The group of WWE officials to book him like this oversaw one common mistake. That wasn’t the answer to making Reigns the person they want him to be. Women and children are the majority of Reigns’ fans. Meanwhile, the most-popular demographic for the WWE is the 25-44 male group.
They aren’t catering to the proper demographic with their WWE World Heavyweight champion. If they were to start doing so, a larger portion of males wouldn’t deter to the man they are putting most of their stock in. AJ Styles is the biggest babyface in the company heading into WWE Payback. That shouldn’t be the case.
What Triple H said about characters resonates with what WWE NXT is doing, simply because he’s the final say in their booking process. Is Finn Balor a good or bad guy? Samoa Joe still caters to the fans at house shows. Kevin Owens is beloved by many in the WWE Universe, but he’s still a heel on paper. The same goes with Bray Wyatt before his big babyface turn. He was a heel, but the fans loved him.
Sunday night at WWE Payback, the changing of the guard could take place with Roman Reigns. Could the WWE fans also see a Finn Balor debut? If that does happen, where does Reigns fit into those plans? His future of being a big babyface is futile. Therefore, something has to change.
[Image via WWE.com]