On July 4, 1993, Lex Luger arrived by helicopter to the deck of the USS Intrepid and body slammed the hell out of a 600 pound Yokozuna. This lead to the Lex Express tour in which Luger adopted a persona that was believed to be the replacement for Hulk Hogan. Despite his previous work for the NWA and his WCW heavyweight championship run, and despite the fact that he was once a member of the then greatest stables in wrestling, The Four Horsemen, Lex was brought in to the WWE under a gimmick that failed to get over with fans. But after Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon went their separate ways, Vince believed that he could repackage the young star to take Hulk’s place. After the gimmick failed to recapture the magic of Hulkamania, Luger would spend the rest of his WWE career in different feuds while never capturing the Championship until his departure from the company in 1995.
When looking back at Luger’s career, most fans remember him for his excellent work in WCW. Long forgotten are the red, white, and blue trunks he sported in his earlier days. All that is remembered of his career is his time submitting his opponents with the power of the Torture Rack as he remained a force to be reckoned with. And in that sense, you could use Lex Luger as an cautionary tale for Roman Reigns. Like Luger, he had a lot of promise before the WWE got their hands on him and forced him to be the replacement for someone who is irreplaceable. But if Roman Reigns is going to become the next big thing, it will have to be on his own. And he will have to make his own path to the top and become the first Roman Reigns.
With the damage that has already been done to his character, it seems like he is finally on the right path to being not what the WWE wants him to be, but the performer he should have been in the first place. And if that journey takes him down the path to becoming a heel, then I think Reigns will kill it as a villain. Some of the biggest names in the business started off as a heel and eventually turned baby face because of how great they were in their roles. If WWE actually played up his strengths instead of forcing him in to another character, he could easily remain a force to be reckoned with while not having to give any long winded promos. And with Daniel Bryan being the biggest face in the company right now, his match with Reigns can only help elevate him in to heel status. Because let’s face it. If Roman wins against Bryan in any way, he is going to get booed out of the building.
The days of suffering succotash are fading away like the red in Luger’s old moth infested trunks. People will eventually forget the goofy things Reigns had to endure memorizing and reciting. His giant push to the moon and his sloppy Royal Rumble win will soon be forgotten and left in the past with Rocky Maivia’s haircut. And we can have the most dominant heel since Brock Lesnar. All Reigns needs is to find his own voice before Wrestlemania to make that happen. I believe Roman can become the next big thing. He just have to be given a chance to reach that level on his own.