Even though WWE fans have been heavily booing Roman Reigns for the better part of the last two years, company chairman Vince McMahon has soldiered on with the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion’s babyface push.
The WWE audience first turned on Reigns when he won the 2015 Royal Rumble match, because they looked at him as the guy who took Daniel Bryan’s spot. Of course, WWE knew that the fans were going to boo Reigns when he won, so they tried to circumvent the issue by having The Rock — who is arguably the most beloved WWE superstar in history — come down to the ring and endorse him. Long story short, it didn’t work, and it just angered the fans more.
Since then, WWE has tried almost everything to get Reigns cheered, but nothing has worked. But the one thing that they haven’t tried, which, oddly enough would be the one thing that probably would work in the long run, is turning him heel.
Since the breakup of The Shield, Vince McMahon has been against turning Roman Reigns heel, and on Sunday’s post-Roadblock edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said that the WWE chairman hasn’t softened his stance on a possible Reigns turn.
“We’ve gone through all the attendance figures, and one of the things is, Roman Reigns is not a big draw. The only real big draw is John Cena. But one of the things that Vince believes is that Roman Reigns is a real big draw, and god only knows why he would think that because the crowds aren’t that big these days. I know from people in the company who have said, whenever the idea of Reigns turning has been brought up, they’ll be like, ‘well it’s just like John Cena, and he ended up doing just fine as a babyface.’”
While John Cena, at best, has been a polarizing figure during his decade-long run atop WWE, he’s been, by far, the company’s biggest draw, and biggest merchandise seller, which is why the company has, up to this point, never decided to turn him. Reigns, on the other hand, isn’t on John Cena’s level when it comes to drawing power, and Raw‘s declining ratings are evidence of that.
Aligning Reigns with Seth Rollins, and teasing a Shield reunion is WWE’s latest attempt to get the current United States Champion cheered. So far, it hasn’t worked. Will it work in the long run? Probably not. But, you never know.
News: Universal Championship Rematch between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns is expected to take place at RAW tonight. Rollins and Y2J banned. pic.twitter.com/tjF8yXrKgo— Pro Wrestling News. (@WrestIingNews) December 19, 2016
Roman Reigns has been the favorite to win the Royal Rumble match for the last two years, but, this year, he’s not. Of course, that doesn’t really mean anything, because WWE could book him to win the Rumble match, simply because it’ll be something that no one would see coming. But, as of right now, the favorites are Chris Jericho and John Cena, and it doesn’t look like Reigns will be heading to the WrestleMania main event for the third year in a row.
It’ll be interesting to see how WWE handles Roman Reigns in 2017 if the fans continue to boo him, which they presumably will. Again, you can’t really compare him to Cena, because, at the very least, Cena will get half the audience to cheer him, which you can’t really say for Reigns. So, it’ll be even more awkward than it is now if WWE continues to push Reigns as the company’s top babyface, while the vast majority of the audience is booing him.
Reigns is coming off of a disqualification loss to Kevin Owens, so we’ll probably get a follow up on that during tonight’s Raw. In fact, we might even get a Universal Championship rematch between the two.
[Featured Image by WWE]