It was the 2014 Royal Rumble. A young talent dominated and ran through the participants. He was known for being the big man in The Shield, but never had his time to completely shine until now. Regardless of earlier fall outs within the group, Roman Reigns remained a loyal brother to The Shield while going after the prize every wrestler in the Rumble wanted. And then Batista entered and turned what was originally suppose to be a fair chance for everyone in to a show to progress straight to Wrestlemania. WWE’s creative team at their best. But as it came down to Reigns and Batista, the crowd was willing to back the surprise hit at the event than the planned winner. Because despite Reigns only showing a quieter and controlled side of himself with The Shield, the fans loved the idea of a regular guy getting a chance to go to biggest event of the year.
Fast forward to Raw 1/26/15. Reigns participated in his first interview after winning the 2015 Royal Rumble and receiving an even harsher response from the crowd than Batista. And for the first time since the WWE decided to push him to the moon, he felt like a regular guy again. Gone were the story time promos and ridiculous dialog written to make him in to something he’s not. And what was left was a regular guy with a family history with the WWE. Were politics probably played to push him to the top? I’m pretty sure. Did The Rock’s personal relationship with Vince McMahon have an impact on Reigns being shot to the top regardless of if he’s ready or not? Of course it did. But instead of fleshing out these facts and working it in to who Reigns is as a character, he was forced in to being the replacement for Cena, while expected to be on the level of The Rock. And we were supposed to just buy that this guy was the next big thing because WWE told us so while constantly shoving him down our throats.
So instead of giving him a close up every time Shield hit the ring, placing him in front of the other members of The Shield in promotional pictures, constantly giving us updates when injured via satellite to make sure we didn’t forget about him, and making him say the outright most goofiest shit to ever come out of a grown man’s mouth, why not just let him be himself? After The Shield separated, Reigns could have dumped the attire and possibly dressed more to his own style. Possibly something that compliments his Samoan heritage. He could have had a few singles matches before making it known that his goal was to hold the title in the future like his family before him. His family history could have been explored and discussed more in order to get him over as a next generation superstar. He could have avoided having to do a lot of promos unless it was necessary to cut one. And even then, he could have kept it simple and to the point without coming off like he was trying too hard. And with his family history explored, The Rock could have made a few appearances to cut promos on behalf of Reigns. Just imagine Paul Heyman and The Rock going at it verbally for Brock and Reigns. The possibilities of how Reigns could have turned out if actually developed right are endless.
My point is if a current wrestler WWE is trying to push has a family relation to The Headshrinkers, Yokozuna, Rikishi, The Usos, Peter Maivia, and The Rock, but the only gimmick they can think of for him is “a guy being pushed”, then Vince needs fire some people on his creative team. Because they’ve clearly dropped the ball on what could have been a great baby face without Reigns being forced in to Cena’s shoes.
WWE forced a performer down our throats while not bothering to give us a real reason to like him. Then ignored all of the performers fans actually like in order to push him straight to the top. So why was Vince so shocked that fans would turn against the product like we did? And how can WWE not take the blame for single handily ruining Reigns? From Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania, WWE will need to focus on rebuilding his image. Paul Heyman, specifically, can save this feud by tearing down Reigns so much that he actually becomes the underdog instead of the obvious pick by the company to be Beat Brock Lesnar. But Roman has to come in to his own before then. Because despite how hungry he is to be a top star, he can’t let the WWE continue to push him as the next Cena. He needs to become the first Roman Reigns.