Roman Reigns is hated by a good percentage of the WWE Universe. And it has often appeared as if WWE wants to sweep the boos he gets under the rug, and insist that he is the man that the fans should be cheering as the next alpha babyface of the company. Now, it would seem that one of the company’s backstage officials – former WWE Tag Team Champion “Road Dogg” Jesse James – is speaking out against the fans who boo Reigns on Monday Night RAW, and insisting they represent the minority and not the true voice of the WWE Universe.
A second-generation wrestler, Road Dogg (Brian James in real life) is the son of “Bullet Bob” Armstrong, and one of four brothers who had joined their father in the pro wrestling business. Originally introduced as the roadie to then-kayfabe country singer Jeff Jarrett, James adopted the “Road Dogg” Jesse James moniker in the late-1990s, as he teamed up with Billy Gunn to form The New Age Outlaws. The duo won six WWE Tag Team Championships, including an unexpected run with the titles in early-2014, as they briefly returned to feud against CM Punk in his final days before walking out of WWE.
After the New Age Outlaws made their brief WWE comeback, both James and Gunn returned to their backstage roles behind the scenes. And while Gunn has been out of the WWE since 2015, Road Dogg has remained in the company in his role as backstage producer. He is also a key part of the SmackDown Live writing team – contrary to reports suggesting he had replaced head writer Ryan Ward in his job, Top Rope Press confirmed in January that Brian James, a.k.a. Road Dogg, now holds a “VP title of sorts” in the blue brand, overseeing a team of writers including Ward himself.
As an important backstage employee within WWE, Road Dogg got vocal on Sunday night when responding on Twitter to a video of Roman Reigns spearing current arch-rival Braun Strowman. With both the @pwstream account and a user named @RyanCooper_96 appearing impressed by the video, James tweeted back in reply, observing the positive crowd reaction to Roman Reigns – no hateful boos or jeers, just appreciative cheers from the audience at Regensburg, Germany, where WWE recently held a house show.
“Look at the crowd when it happens. The anti-establishment minority doesn’t want you to know that reaction!”
According to WrestlingNews.co, there is a grain of truth to what Road Dogg had said. While Roman Reigns haters are quite common in the “Internet Wrestling Community” or smart fans in general, the “Big Dog” holds appeal among different types of casual fans and receives generally positive crowd reactions on WWE Live house shows.
“Reigns does get cheered on most house shows because those shows consist mostly of families.”
What could be a bigger issue, the publication added, is how Reigns’ star power has not made much of an impact in terms of house show attendance. In 2016, some WWE live events headlined by Dean Ambrose were bigger draws than those headlined by Roman Reigns.
“Reigns is expected to be the face of the company but he is not making a difference at the box office. The only time there’s a real difference in live event attendance is when (John) Cena is on a show.”
At Fastlane later this week, it’s going to be Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns, and the negative fan reactions may be heating up again at the last Monday Night RAW-exclusive pay-per-view before WrestleMania 33. And it may likely be at ‘Mania where the boos grow louder and angrier than ever before, as Roman is expected to be facing The Undertaker. While it may sound to RAW viewers as if Roman Reigns’ haters well outnumber his fans, it is worth noting that he does have his share of supporters, especially in the casual sector and among families.
[Featured Image by WWE]