Roman Reigns is a polarizing figure, with a number of vocal WWE fans booing him and many others cheering his every move. A perfect example came this week on Monday Night Raw when Shawn Michaels faced off with Roman in the ring and fans even booed HBK when he said he was “on Reigns side” when it comes to his place in the WWE.
In a new interview with Wrestling Inc, WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross gave his thoughts on what the WWE needs to do with Roman Reigns if they ever want him to be the giant face of the company that they want him to be.
According to Ross, the only way for the WWE fans – as a majority – to accept Roman Reigns as a monster face is for him first to turn heel. He said that could happen as soon as WrestleMania 33 when Roman battles The Undertaker.
“I can help you get to the next big fan favorite star scenario. It’s very easy. You let him turn heel blatantly with a cheat-to-win move, low blowish-type thing, against Undertaker and beat Undertaker, so you cheat to beat the great Undertaker at WrestleMania.”
The table was set for Roman Reigns at Monday Night Raw when he was in the ring with Shawn Michaels. After HBK mentioned how he knows how Roman feels, carrying the weight of the WWE on his back while everyone wants him to fail, Reigns said the most heel thing he could have in response.
Roman Reigns reminded Shawn Michaels that The Undertaker retired him at WrestleMania. While Shawn stood dumbfounded and the WWE fans in attendance booed Roman, Reigns then finished by saying he will be the man who retires The Undertaker.
Talking about The Undertaker like that was a sure way to get the fans to boo him even louder as he left Shawn Michaels in the ring. The truth came moments later when Braun Strowman ran out and sucker punched Roman Reigns, sending him flying. The fans vocally started to “Thank you Strowman.”
Jim Ross said the best way to really change Roman Reigns is to have him cheat to beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 and then talk about how it is his yard, allowing Roman to become a cocky heel that says he can do anything he wants, anytime he wants.
“Make him very defiant because the longer that reign is, that run is, more specifically as a villain, when he finally turns, and it’s certainly inevitable, he will be then that massive fan favorite that WWE has tried so strenuously to sell.”
Jim Ross did admit that the WWE has one thing that they have to accomplish with the Roman Reigns vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania 33. He said that no matter what Roman does in the match as a face or heel, he has to come out of the match looking strong. Ross said that making Reigns edgy and arrogant coming out of the match will make him a bigger star in the long run.
Forbes reported that there is little to gain monetarily by turning Roman Reigns heel. He sells more merchandise than almost anyone else in the WWE and is one of the most sought after superstars on social media as well. The WWE knows that the fans remaining polarized to him as a face is what keeps him interesting on social media.
However, as Jim Ross said, the most important thing is to get Roman Reigns over for the long term. Just because the WWE might consider turning him heel over The Undertaker at WrestleMania and then having him turn into a cocky, arrogant heel after that, it doesn’t mean he will stay that way.
The WWE avoided ever turning John Cena heel because of how much money he makes the company as a face plus his outside work with Make a Wish Foundation. However, Roman is young and turning him heel with the idea of later turning Reigns into a face could make him an even bigger star in the future. The WWE might be giving up a little money now to bank hard on Roman Reigns in a year or two.