Roman Reigns is the most controversial figure in pro-wrestling right now and especially in WWE, and fans have wanted him to turn heel for some time now yet it seems according to Triple H, he may already be one. The boos for Roman Reigns are almost deafening. Everywhere he goes, the boos rain down harder and harder, as fans are clearly sending the message that they do not want to cheer for him as a face and that he isn’t working at one. That said, a heel turn makes sense.
Sadly, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon feels that Roman Reigns is the next “top guy” in WWE, and that means he has to remain a babyface. Triple H and others in WWE have claimed that the WWE does not need another John Cena. This does not mean that WWE should avoid guys with that name, but rather avoid guys that were like him. The big guy who was mostly a merchandise mover rather than a man who fits into the world of pro-wrestling we see today.
Fans watch nowadays for the wrestling side and not for the random characters the WWE has these days. While many fans will like seeing a character too, they really want the top guys in WWE to be the best wrestlers in the company. While Roman Reigns has improved, he is not on the level of several guys even on his own brand, much less the entire WWE. By not wanting another John Cena, WWE is saying we don’t want a guy who has almost everyone or half of the people in the crowd hating them.
They want a guy who is like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or The Rock, who were cheered even as heels but universally as babyfaces. They want their top guy to be someone who is more than that too. Having a guy booed every week by fans can be a bad thing. WWE and fans who like Reigns will claim that he sells a lot of merchandise, and that means he’s obviously liked. However, that is not a fair assessment. The reason comes down to how much merchandise is made for a given talent.
For example. John Cena has moved more merchandise than just about anyone, but there are like 40 products sold with his name and/or colors on it. Meanwhile, an AJ Styles type has 5 things. AJ’s stuff is his gloves, shirts, and pendant type of stuff. All of this is anywhere between $5 to $35. There is only so much you can buy too. Cena has a new shirt all the time among several other things, and this has even been highlighted on television in that he has some wild stuff with his name on it.
Naturally, when you have more to own, fans will buy it. However, cheapness plays a factor too. So if you already have the AJ shirt but not the John Cena hairdryer….where would you go as a person who wants a souvenir at a live event? The argument of merchandise sales tends to always avoid the social economic standpoint. This is why the argument tends to be weak with Roman Reigns too, who is getting near Cena level on random merch products.
That said, would a heel turn be a bad plan? Not so much. However, Triple H seems to believe that Reigns is already there. Sports Illustrated sat down with Triple H recently where he spoke to them about a number of things, but Roman Reigns was brought up. He claimed the following regarding a Roman heel turn.
“People can look at Roman Reigns and say, ‘The failed attempt that is Roman Reigns,’ but Roman Reigns sells tickets. Roman Reigns gets one of the loudest reactions every night, whether that reaction is a boo or whether that reaction is a cheer. The fans who say, ‘I don’t understand why they don’t turn Roman Reigns heel!’ Isn’t he already? If you believe what you believe, and you’re saying, ‘How can they not turn him heel? There is 70 percent of the crowd booing him out of the building!’ If that’s your belief, then isn’t he already the biggest heel we have? If 70 percent of that crowd is booing him, then he’s a heel. We’re just presenting him to you in a different way that makes you hate him.”
In theory, Triple H makes sense with what he is saying, but there are flaws. Number one, no one in WWE sells tickets on their own. They have at least one opponent, and there are multiple members of the WWE RAW roster in the case of Roman Reigns. So that means people are coming to see Roman Reigns, but also Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Braun Strowman, the Cruiserweights, the amazing women’s division, etc.
That said, Reigns is not the entire selling point here…WWE is. Roman is not the only one selling tickets and he certainly isn’t the only reason for ratings being at one point or another, but rather creative as a whole. So if we are meant to see Reigns as a face, and he has to work as that in promos and as a character, then he’s not a heel. Is AJ Styles currently a babyface due to the cheers he gets everywhere? No. So the theory doesn’t work, despite the fact that people boo Roman Reigns.
If Triple H is clearly admitting that fans are not liking Roman Reigns, it is proven to WWE that Reigns cannot be their top guy. With John Cena, it was a half and half thing. Kids and women liked him, but he also proved in PPV numbers that he could draw. The WWE Network killed that model, and now we have to go on network numbers, which have not really budged a lot. At the end of the day, Reigns may be a face, but he could be written as a heel and therefore the booing he gets might actually mean something for his character. This is far better than just having fans “pretend” that Reigns is a bad guy because they want to actually see him as that.
There have been rumors that Roman Reigns may actually turn heel officially before the year is up, with the possibility of it happening as soon as this Sunday during or after his match with The Undertaker. Reigns is expected to lose, due to being scheduled to renew his rivalry with Braun Strowman after WrestleMania concludes. However, WWE could still go with a win over The Undertaker and turn heel in the process. He’ll be heel whether or not WWE wants it, when 90 percent begin to boo instead of the 70 percent that Triple H admits is there now.
[Featured Image By WWE]