Ever since WWE debuted the trio known as The Shield back at Survivor Series 2012; WWE fans have realised that Reigns is being groomed for greatness. Nothing too wrong or different with this, WWE have done this on many occasions; however Reign’s push since becoming a singles star has isolated him with the more hardcore audience. With him getting a range of cheers and boos from the WWE Universe. WWE’s top heel… turn babyface Stone Cold Steve Austin has been vocal in late on the Reigns character and has urged WWE for a Roman Reigns Heel Turn.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is no stranger to being at the top, in the late 90’s he rockets to the top of the Federation first as a heel; then organically winning the love of the fans. Rocketing him to a short but incredibly successful run during WWE’s Attitude Era. Given the momentum after Raw, the WWE Hall of Famer discussed Roman Reigns on the latest episode of the Steve Austin Show.
The wrestling industry has many blurred lines, the old school face vs heel divide is lost. Getting over as a heel is harder, however is SO many examples. When you are great at being a heel the fans respect it and the natural conclusion is to turn face. Steve Austin (1997), Randy Orton (circa 2010), John Cena (2003) being three great examples. Roman Reigns is getting booed out of the building; despite a large portion of cheers. This isn’t exactly his fault, it is more the predictable nature of how he is being booked. Austin gives his theory on the matter.
“I predicted this all along. The kid has got to have a heel run before he’s going to be universally loved because that’s just the way that I see it. I’ve always said that I think the guy needs to be a heel first, but, nonetheless, that’s not my call. That’s the booking committee’s call or Vince [McMahon]’s call….That’s what’s going to make it fun again because everybody is going to be so onboard with booing him! I’m telling you, once he goes through that process, whether that takes one year, two years, [or] whatever, then, they’re going to end up loving the guy.”
It is easy to pick examples of WWE dropping the ball, however this is an extreme case. The booking committee or Vince have decided, we want Reigns as the face and making no change or adjustment to his character. This was obvious a year ago with Reigns winning the Rumble and facing Brock Lesnar. Post Survivor Series was booked incredibly carefully; when Reigns attacked Triple H at TLC the crowd errupted, and respected Reigns for doing this. With the odds “stacked” against Reign’s the booking has bee obvious, even with the Triple H capturing the title at the Royal Rumble. Austin gave his thoughts on WWE sticking and pushing Reigns.
“To me, it’s like Vince chose this guy and he’s sticking with him. Whatever the fans think, whether it’s the smart marks, or the casual fans, or the fervent fans, I don’t know. He’s sticking with this guy and I don’t know. He’s not going to pick another guy because he has so much invested in this guy, so he [has] got to keep riding him, but he could ride him in a different direction, but you can’t back off the gas pedal. Babyface or heel, you’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal with this guy because if you don’t, he will become an also-ran immediately.”
And Austin is right, Reigns has been heavily invested in since 2013; he was the selected breakout star of the Shield. Ambrose and Rollins took it to another level and made themselves relevant; but Reigns is the chosen one. A heel run would certainly earn the respect of the WWE audience, I feel him attacking Dean Ambrose is a sensible route for this to happen. With him booked to face Triple H at Wrestlemania, I can’t see this happening any time soon. Over exposing is causing the fans to dislike Reigns once again, WWE have to be clever with the management of Reigns and more importantly focus on other stars as well.
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