WWE Raw star Roman Reigns is the man the WWE universe loves to hate. Reigns is booed every time he takes the ring, fans rejoice when Roman loses a title, and yet Vince McMahon continues to promote Reigns as a WWE “face.” Reigns has been front and center of the WWE’s storylines this week. On Sunday, the Alamodome crowd cheered when Reigns lost his championship match to Kevin Owens. The Royal Rumble crowd were especially pleased, because Reigns had the match all but won, before Braun Strowman interfered, and set Owens up for the win.
Reigns then sent the Royal Rumble audience into a frenzy, and not in a good way, when he entered the Royal Rumble as the final competitor. Reigns infuriated the WWE universe when he blindsided The Undertaker, eliminating the Deadman from a contest many assumed he would win. As reported in the Inquisitr earlier this week, Reigns interaction with The Undertaker has set up a long overdue Reigns heel turn.
Last year Forbes revealed that the WWE network’s rating had hit a 20-year low. Both live and television audiences are in decline, and at that time it was suggested that an over-reliance on Reigns tag-team, The Shield, was turning the audience off. Viewing and attendance figures have not improved. As reported by Wrestlezone, SmackDown Live drew more viewers than Monday Night Raw, for the edition that fell between Christmas and New Year. This was a first for the WWE network.
The big problem for the WWE network, is that they have made a huge investment in Reigns and his “Shield” partners, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Arguably no previous WWE star has had so much promotion as the three fresh faces, that were supposed to herald in a new age for the WWE network. Despite the apparent failure of Vince McMahon’s strategy for Reigns, many commentators argue that reigns can still become the WWE’s top attraction.
Can A Roman Reigns Heel Turn Save ‘Monday Night Raw’?
The WWE universe is aware the Vince McMahon recently sent Triple H to the UK to begin planning for a weekly WWE network show in the UK. The message is clear; McMahon wants to expand WWE’s worldwide exposure. The problem is that expanding whilst the WWE network is weak is a dangerous strategy. What the network really needs is wrestling entertainment that the fans want to see.
For too long the WWE network has relied on the same few stars to draw TV audiences and paying customers. At the same time the potential of stars like Reigns are not being used to their full potential. Of course, the WWE network wants to surprise viewers, with story turns and feuds, but there comes a time when just giving fans what they want makes sound business sense.
No matter how hard McMahon pushes Roman Reigns as a face, the audience just don’t like him. Reigns was the first WWE “babyface” to win the award for “most hated” wrestler of the year. Paste says that “the WWE continues to find new ways of using Roman Reigns as the human equivalent of a pointy stick, jabbed into the ribs of its audience.” How long can it go on before McMahon realizes that Reigns just isn’t going to cut it as a face?
The answer is simple; a Reigns heel turn is the way forward. Reigns is already spectacularly unpopular, so why not give the audience a reason to hate him. To be fair, it seems that a Reigns heel turn is already underway. When Reigns took out the Undertaker, at Sunday’s Royal Rumble, the scene was set. The Undertaker and Reigns engaged in the sort of epic stare down, that can only mean there is more to come. Given that The Undertaker is almost 52-years-old, and a very infrequent competitor, that can only mean a match between Reigns and the Deadman at WrestleMania 33.
That match would be the perfect opportunity for a Reigns heel turn to be complete. What could be better than to see Reigns beat The Undertaker using nefarious tactics? Reigns would become a top attraction overnight. The WWE network audience subscribe, and attend events, partly because they love to get involved in the storylines. A Reigns heel turn would be epic. His unpopularity would reach new heights, and that could turn Reigns into the most epic heel in WWE history.
Many would argue, that a Roman Reigns heel turn is such an obvious move that McMahon won’t consider it. The WWE network has put a lot into setting Reigns up as a face, it didn’t work. A Reigns heel turn would give the fans what they want. It may be obvious, but a Roman Reigns heel turn is essential for the WWE network. Reigns has everything it takes to be the best WWE heel of all time.
This week’s Monday Night Raw saw Reigns disrupt the match between Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens. For the second night in a row, Reigns, Strowman, and Owens were involved in a brawl. Clearly, the WWE network has plans for the three, and a Roman Reigns heel turn seems to be at the center of those plans.
[Featured Image by WWE Network]