WWE Superstar Roman Reigns has not had the best luck with WWE fans and those same fans have to admit it is not totally his fault. When WWE ended The Shield faction that included Roman, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins it was Reigns who got all the attention.
Of course, Seth was given a good role as a top heel in the WWE by aligning with The Authority. However, Reigns was being pushed in a time when fans did not feel he had earned a thing.
Honestly, he didn’t. He was given a top role, then missed a lot of time with an injury, only to win The Royal Rumble in January of last year. He has been booed and the fans have been against him since. Reigns would go on to work an interesting match with Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Title at WrestleMania 31 only for Seth Rollins to cash in “Money in the Bank” to steal the title from him.
He finally got a shot at the title again late last year. Still, the fans did not care for him for the most part, but it was still understandable due to the product he produced.
He has managed to improve lately, proving he can have good matches when he worked with Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, and Dean Ambrose. The issue was that fans were not backing him and wanted to see him earn his way back up, which is why his rivalry with Rusev is so important for him. Despite what fans think, however, it did not stop Pro Wrestling Illustrated from making him “the guy” for 2016.
Roman Reigns was named the No. 1 best wrestler of the PWI calendar year. It is usually done from summer to summer, around this time yearly. That said, everything that happened between August 2015 to August 2016 is the time in which they chose Reigns as the top man. For those who don’t know, the list is based on kayfabe.
The definition of kayfabe in wrestling terminology is pretty simple. It is the portrayal of wrestling’s predetermined material within the industry as real or true. This is specifically true in the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between wrestlers as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. So basically, kayfabe is taking everything on television as real and not a television show.
It’s a good thing that WWE and other organizations try to stick to television. PWI bases their list on it, which is why Roman Reigns makes sense for the top spot. Roman Reigns won three World Heavyweight Championships and main evented WrestleMania 32, where he defeated Triple H. Reigns would beat the top stars of the year along the way. That means that in kayfabe terms, Reigns did more than enough to deserve the top spot on PWI’s list this year.
While logic states it as true, don’t tell that to the internet. You can check out the comment section on various websites which will claim the list is wrong. Another claims that “Reigns accomplished nothing and was handed everything all year by Vince McMahon.” There are also various versions of comments. Twitter is also having fun taking jabs at the magazine and the list itself.
Knowing the backlash would come for this pick, PWI Publisher Stu Saks made a bold comment.
“Our cover headline comes right out and states it: ‘Half of You Will Hate This! Roman Reigns Is No. 1.’ Reigns is certainly not the sexy choice, but based on what he accomplished during the time frame for evaluation, we think he’s the right choice.”
Roman didn’t help the hate either by posting the magazine image on his Twitter account.
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) September 1, 2016
The flames are being fanned by the man himself, so you can understand why fans have gotten even more upset about him being there. Some have come to the defense of the list, claiming that is it kayfabe. However, the hatred for Roman Reigns stops logic because he will never win some over and will clearly be hated regardless. There are still people who hate John Cena as a wrestler as well, despite his great matches.
Even if you despise Roman Reigns, the kayfabe version of things does make sense. However, lists are always debated online. Try any popular top-10 list on the internet. No one will agree with every pick and many will disagree with who you pick as No. 1. PWI knows this as much as anyone and they have made it a habit of picking someone at the top spot that may be controversial. The Miz topped the list one year and the internet had a field day with that one too, so Reigns is not alone in controversial picks for the PWI list.
[Image via WWE]