Roman Reigns, arguably one of the most popular superstars on the WWE roster today, has had a rough time gaining fan support since beginning his singles career in WWE. Debuting as 1/3 of the faction known as “The Shield” alongside Dean Ambrose and current WWE champion Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns was destined for big things once his singles career began. Since day one, WWE has made it very clear that Roman was set to be there next big guy, the man to replace John Cena at the top of the throne. And it’s easy to understand why as he’s extremely marketable, he handles business outside the ring well, and he caters to the younger fans who happens to be the fan base WWE chooses to cater to the most. But despite WWE seeing money signs in Roman, the older, more hardcore fans just don’t see what’s so special about Roman Reigns. They can’t get behind the Roman Empire and it raises the question is Roman Reigns really as bad as they make him seem? Or is it just blind hate?
One of the arguments the Roman Reigns detractors like to bring up is his wrestling ability or his move set. With Roman coming into WWE with no prior wrestling experience(Editors note: outside his family lineage), he was extremely green in the ring. His early matches in NXT and his early months on the main roster saw his move set be very limited. It was clear that he was the weakest link in the trio, especially being put in a team with two ring generals like Rollins and Ambrose. So, the question was when The Shield broke up, how Roman would be able to stay afloat if his move set is “limited”. The answer is simple, WWE's style of wrestling is very much different from any other style of wrestling. It’s about story telling. It’s not about how many moves can you cram into a match before it’s over, but it’s about where can you place those moves in the match to make the moves seem meaningful. That’s why most wrestlers don’t have an expansive move set. Superstars like Rock and Austin didn’t go out every week and do a new set of moves, they both had a certain number of moves they did before setting up for their finisher. For Rocky it was the Samoan Drop, the DDT, the jumping clothesline, a belly to belly toss and the Spinebuster. The rest of the match he would just be throwing right hands. Hell, even Brock Lesnar gets praised for his performances and all he does is German Suplexes. Again, it’s not about how many moves you do, it’s about when you do those moves so you can solicit a reaction from the audience. And so far, Roman has put on great matches in 2015 with his “limited” move set. So the question is, is it really his move set that’s the problem? And if it is, how come stars of the past got away with the “5 moves of doom” and Roman can’t?
Another argument people like to bring up is the WWE is forcing him on the fans. March 18th 2002, Brock Lesnar debuted in the WWE. In his rookie year in WWE, he won the King of the Ring Tournament, the WWE Title twice, won the Royal Rumble and headlined Wrestlemania. He was even given the moniker “The Next Big Thing”. June 30th 2009, The Celtic Warrior Sheamus debuts on ECW and 6 months later he wins the WWE championship from John Cena. Both men receiving super pushes while still being relatively green in the ring and being horrible on the microphone(Editor's Note: Brock had Heyman to talk for him and was a beast in the ring back then). But neither man received the amount of hate that Roman did and why is that? By the time Roman won the Royal Rumble, he was a well-rounded performer in the ring and had begun to show improvements on the microphone. So what made Roman's rise to top less well received?
Another argument is his lack of charisma or mic skills. The detractors like to say “in order to be a top guy, you need to be able to a great wrestler and talker”. Again I bring up Brock Lesnar, who in his early years was abysmal on the microphone(Editor's Note: Heyman once again). As was Sheamus, who still is. Randy Orton was never the strongest talker ranging from boring to decent, and Batista was the same. Even Daniel Bryan isn’t an elite mic worker. Just count how many times he says “these people” in his promos. Alberto Del Rio, RVD and Rey Mysterio are all world champions, all top guys(Editor's Note: All of whom were periodic main eventers but never THE TOP GUY like WWE was pushing Reigns to be), but never great on the microphone. Aside from the suffering succotash son line he was fed, Roman has shown he has the ability to cut a decent promo. Just look back at the promo he cut alongside Paul Heyman on the Road to Wrestlemania on the March 16th episode of Monday Night Raw, or his segment on the snowed in episode of Raw the night after the Royal Rumble. He was intense, he got to the point and delivered. Mic skills never seemed to stop those listed above from achieving greatness, so why should it stop Roman's success?
It’s clear to see that Roman Reigns has improved drastically over the past year since winning the Rumble. So for those detractors I ask, is Roman Reigns really as bad as you make him seem? Are you just following the Roman Reigns hate bandwagon? Maybe you actually have other reasons why you think Reigns isn’t the star that WWE sees? Or are you a Roman Reigns fan? Any other theories or points I missed I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.