That is the involuntary noise I make every time I remember Roman Reigns is headlining Wrestlemania again this year. (Yup, sorry, wrestling post. See yourself out please.)
I’ve been trying to narrow down exactly what it is about Roman that sends me and most of the Internet Wrestling Community into fits of what can only be described as “meh”. The guy couldn’t get over if he was fighting Hitler in a synagogue. His ring work is solid in that he consistently puts on fun, physical matches but the problem is that is all he seems to have.
See, to me wrestling at it’s best is a combination of a live stunt show and melodramatic theatre. It is a work of fiction set in a hyper-real world where these larger-than-life, Greek deity-like supermen and women compete to be the best fighter in the world. And like any work of fiction you need a relatable protagonist to carry your storylines through, make me CARE about them. And this is the problem with Reigns. He has the live stunt show aspect down pat but his character is dull and his mic-work so sub-par that a lot of fans find it difficult to get behind the guy.
His Mania main event against Brock Lesnar last year was solid as I’m sure his match this year with Triple H will be, but I’m not seeing any reason to care. Compare to something like Harry Potter; what made his ultimate victory over Voldemort in the Deathly Hallows so compelling was the 7 books worth of shit he had to deal with to get to that point. He came from humble beginnings and grew into a flawed yet determined hero, completing his journey in emotional fashion.
Roman Reigns has no hero’s journey.
Roman Reigns is dull.
Roman Reigns is the boiled rice of professional wrestling. Don’t get me wrong, I like boiled rice, but that’s not why I came to the restaurant. I came for a nice bit of chilli or perhaps some chicken madras…
Now I’m hungry and kind of forgot where I was going with this but yeah, Reigns is dull.
When he first debuted with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield it was obvious from the get go that these guys were the future main eventers of WWE but since their break up events have taken a strange turn. Ambrose became one of the most captivating faces (good guys) around today in organic fashion, Rollins became a great arrogant heel (boo hiss etc.) and they both went on to have a red-hot, year long feud. Reigns has just kind of done… stuff, which is nice I guess but he keeps being handed main events when he quite clearly isn’t getting over as the hero the company want him to be.
I, like many others, think the best thing would be to turn him heel and let the boos work for him instead of against. In fact, I’m going to throw a list of names out here, see if you can tell me what they all have in common:
- The Rock
- Steve Austin
- Hulk Hogan
- Randy Savage
- John Cena
Have you guessed it? All are guys who have achieved legendary status as face main eventers who had a mid-card heel run first. Let people boo Reigns, let him continue working hard in the ring and eventually people will want to cheer in appreciation of that. Then turn him face and let it explode!
As it stands, Wrestlemania 32 is looking like it will be a good card overall. Undertaker/Shane-O-Mac, Lesnar/Ambrose and the Divas triple threat will all be great matches but there is this feeling of inevitability over the main event that makes me feel like we’ll end Wrestlemania feeling sad.
And nobody wants that.
Wrestlemania is one of my favourite nights of the year, I genuinely spend 12 months looking forward to it and maybe I’m being childish but this isn’t the ending I want. I want WM 4, Randy Savage winning four matches and overcoming outside interference to win the World Title. I want WM 20, Eddie Guerrero and Stevie Richards (I always thought it was Chris Benoit…) standing side by side as champions after years of missing out on the big time. I want WM 30, Daniel Bryan and Yestlemania.
I don’t want WM 32, Roman Reigns wins now cheer because we said so.