There’s A Stink On Roman Reigns And The WWE Knows It
Last night on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns made his first televised appearance in nearly a month. It was clear from the pandering of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon early in the show as well as the scripted storyline push Michael Cole was feeding us that WWE and their "creative writers" were expecting (or least hoping) that Reigns would return to a hero's welcome. Fans cheering and chanting at the sound of his entrance music or the sight of his sopping hair.
THEY DID NOT.
In fact, the live crowd in Pittsburgh last night almost completely booed Roman Reigns. WWE's best efforts to force the crowd into hating Triple H and supporting Roman Reigns fell flat. Like face on the cold, cement floor flat. And now it's fair to ask the question...what did WWE really expect?
For nearly 16 months now, the WWE has given Roman Reigns one distinctive trait. He's a good guy. And for 16 months now, the WWE audience has responded with a general malaise and distaste for that character trait. Reigns on-screen character is seemingly a new version of John Cena. That is, a "good" guy battling authority, standing up for what's right and always possessing super human abilities to pull out signature moves at the right time. There's just one GIGANTIC problem with that, John Cena still exists.
The WWE crowd already began turning on John Cena years ago for a played out act that has never really morphed. WWE clearly mistook Cena's overall loud reaction for interest in a 2nd character of the same ilk. Perhaps WWE is just blinded by the idea of pushing merchandise and gathering kids support. You know what Roman Reigns definitely hasn't done? Improve ratings for one. WWE's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, continues to suffer a precipitous slide from the most dominant show on cable television to now just a mainstay.
So here we sit just weeks away from Wrestlemania with a nearly unified crowd online and it appears in arenas telling WWE that, under no circumstances, do we care to see Roman Reigns as the WWE World Champion. Or the face of the company. Or anything else big and exciting WWE has planned. This isn't even Roman Reigns fault. An almost identical situation like this happened to his cousin, The Rock, and the WWE had the foresight and guttural understanding to turn The Rock heel. It won fans over and cemented The Rock's place as a bonafide star. One could argue the WWE had "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to rely upon while building The Rock, that's fair. But if the crowd is demanding one of your top stars act a certain way to be accepted, sometimes you just have to give in. The WWE has a limited opportunity to salvage Roman Reigns...and they better do it quick.
Forcing Roman Reigns down the throats of your entire audience isn't salvaging him. What's worse, it appears the creative minds at WWE don't have any alternate plans for the main event of Wrestlemania. It will undoubtedly be a colossal failure. Roman Reigns is going to get booed out of the building. Triple H, despite his best attempts to be the King of all Heels, will get cheered. The WWE will be stuck in a bizarro world of fan contempt and hate. That is the last thing you want as the screen fades to black on your biggest show of the year. And whoever tunes in to the Monday Night Raw following Wrestlemania will watch as the WWE parades a newly crowned Reigns out as though the crowd desperately asked for this. But they never did. It's not anything we ever asked for.
Who's fault is this? Take a guess.