Roman Reigns is one of the best professional wrestlers in WWE.
Roman Reigns has headlined the last four WrestleMania’s.
Roman Reigns has had incredible matches with just about every wrestler with whom he has been in the ring.
Yet, no matter what Roman Reigns does, the fans reject it.
Week after week, PPV after PPV “WHY WONT THEY JUST TURN ROMAN HEEL?!?!”
Fans seem to think that “turning Roman Reigns into a bad guy” will be the “magic pill” to fix their frustration with WWE and Monday Night RAW.
Do I feel that Roman Reigns is a natural fan favorite? No
Do I feel like it matters whether Roman Reigns is a fan favorite or a “heel”? No
The days of megastars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Batista, The Undertaker and other icons that supersede the WWE name, have been gone for quite some time.
The way that wrestling characters are presented in WWE does not allow for any more mega stars. It is my belief that this is done intentionally in order to keep everyone satisfied enough to know the wrestlers need WWE to succeed.
Now fans go to a WWE show – Fans rarely go to see a certain performer anymore.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock didn’t need WWE to be successful. John Cena no longer needs WWE to have a successful mainstream career. These three are bigger than the brand.
No one in 2018 WWE is bigger than the brand.
The idea of a “villain” character is so fans will boo them at any moment, then cheer to see them lose matches. This is what fans are currently doing to Roman Reigns.
Therein lies the question, what does WWE gain by turning Roman Reigns character into a “villain”?
The answer is: nothing.
John Cena had a 10 year run in the company as the fan favorite and was met with frustration from the fans. “Cena can’t wrestle”. “He is too generic”. “He holds talent down”. John Cena would be cheered AND booed by fans in a WWE ring.
Cena’s real value was felt outside of the ring. He is an excellent ambassador for WWE. Whether it is hosting the ESPYS, granting countless Make a Wish opportunities, being a dependable employee who enhances the WWE name every time he gets in front of a microphone.
I struggle to find any value to turn Roman Reigns heel. He is, essentially, inheriting all of the good public relations work that John Cena did for WWE for years.
WWE craves mainstream acceptance from the ESPNs, Susan J Koman, and Make A Wish avenues of the world.
Roman Reigns just accepted the League Humanitarian Leadership Award on behalf of WWE.
John Cena never “needed to turn heel”. Roman Reigns doesn’t “need to turn heel” either.
Roman Reigns is suffering from the same fan disdain as John Cena. As a fan, I have yet to see the passion and the range in character that Cena embodied in Roman Reigns. It is necessary to get fans to care about Roman Reigns.
Does Roman Reigns need to work on his character? Yes
Roman Reigns has been horribly miscast by Vince McMahon. As a character, McMahon has done Roman Reigns no favors in the way that, from a character standpoint, Roman Reigns has been portrayed.
Would villain Roman Reigns bring in more viewers? I doubt it.
If you think that Roman Reigns isn’t believable now, how are you going to accept Roman Reigns as an “evil villain” on Monday and then watch him accept the League Humanitarian Leadership Award on behalf of WWE the next night?
Is the benefit to Roman Reigns turning into a “villain” going to add a dimension to WWE that is going to make the fans happy? I highly doubt it. Have you met a wrestling fan that says “I haven’t watched RAW and wont watch RAW as long as Roman Reigns is a fan favorite”? Chances are you haven’t. Most fans will still watch Monday Night RAW every week regardless of how Roman Reigns is portrayed.
The same fans that are online complaining in 280 characters about how Roman needs to “turn heel” will be the same fans the week after complaining about how “he looks like a weak heel”.
You give “hardcore wrestling fans” a 40oz Tomahawk Steak and they’ll complain that it isn’t a 22oz Porterhouse.
That’s what “hardcore wrestling fans” do. They complain.
WWE has the most talented roster of professional wrestlers ever, but at the same time, it has the least interesting group of wrestling characters ever.
That is by design.
Roman Reigns doesn’t need to be a heel for you to embrace him.
Do you really trust Vince McMahon to present him successfully as a heel?
I believe that is the most damning problem with WWE in 2018.