Hello WNW people! Mitch “Big M” Adams here welcoming you to my fortnightly editorial on Wrestling News World called…THE HOUSE OF “M” This being my house, I get to talk about what I want to talk about and share my opinions on the art form known as Pro Wrestling. Although, I should point out that I’m only renting this house from WNW, so obviously the views I express here are solely mine alone!
If you don’t agree with me, I’m more than willing to hear you out as you are as entitled to your opinion as much as I am entitled to mine. But, just remember you're a guest in my house, so try to keep things civil!
Well, WNW people, Vince McMahon and his army of yes men have decided to buckle down and push Roman Reigns to the stratosphere. Roman Reigns defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania and retiring him is as clear as sign that despite all the problems it has caused WWE and all the problems it will cause WWE in the future…Vince still wants Roman. And he doesn’t care if he is the only one who does!
I have been a critical of the booking of Roman Reigns all the way back to 2012. These criticisms have been met with both praise for telling it like it is, and condemnation from others who have swallowed the narrative WWE has tried to build around Roman hook line and sinker. But here is the thing…I actually like Roman. No, really, I do! He is a nice guy and ok worker who has enough presence to be a star in the industry. But he never will be THE star in the industry that Vince wants him to be. And guess what? NONE of that is his fault. The man has been horribly booked by WWE’s higher-ups and the creative team determined to cut off their nose to spite their face. And it will result in his career being ruined!
I and many others in and out of the industry have been saying this for the last four years! Only for our criticisms and concerns to be dismissed as being a “Vocal Minority” who “Don’t get it.” And after four years of trying to give a voice to fan and industry expert frustration about the situation towards WWE only to be ignored and insulted just like the thousands of people who boo Roman out of every building every night…I am tired! I am tired of being insulted and trolled by WWE every week. So, therefore, this will be the last time I ever write anything on Roman Reigns!
And in doing so, I intend to not hold a single thing back. I am going to spell out every single horrible decision they have ever made regarding Roman Reigns career, and they will not like it. I fully expect to get angry Tweets from people like Road Dogg who can’t help but make a fool of himself on social media for toeing the company line trying to dismiss and discredit any and all news and opinion that doesn’t portray WWE's creative direction in a glowingly positive light. I will get heat for writing this article, for the accusations, I will level will completely disprove WWE’s narrative. And I will get very stupid comments from people on social media calling me a “Roman hater” who will never even read this article and will jump to conclusions after seeing the headline. And I am fine with all of that.
I am simply tired of all of it, and I have no doubt that I will be proven right in time because everything I have to say here is based in fact! Not Alternative Facts like the kind Vince McMahon has used for years and which is now used by the most corrupt of politicians. No, this is real information on true events that some people just don’t want to believe is true. But one day they are going to have to swallow that bitter pill!
So without further ado, here is every reason why Roman Reigns Career was doomed from the start!
He Was Coddled In Developmental!
Roman Reigns started his career in WWE after a less than successful attempt to become a pro footballer (or at least what Americans consider pro football) in July 2010, when he was signed to a developmental contract and was sent to the now defunct Florida Championship Wrestling for training. As far as we know, he had little to no experience in the industry apart from being a member of the famous Samoan Wrestling Dynasty (Nepotism is still rife within pro wrestling.) By September of that year, he was already working matches under the ring name Leakee. Needless to say, the man was greener than Eva Marie. But due to his lineage, he was put over more experienced signees while he was still developing his then limited move-set. Even working tags and triple threat matches with his future Shield brethren, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Roman would plod along for the next two years not really doing anything remarkable. The first time I saw him was when NXT become WWE’s main developmental system. NXT’s weekly TV series aired in Australia for over a year before it came to the WWE Network. The only match I ever saw him work on NXT was a forgettable bout with CJ Parker. I remember not being overly impressed by his ring work, but I did sense some potential in him. But he needed a TON of seasoning. Want to know where I saw him next? Survivor Series 2012 when he debuted as the muscle of The Shield. Now, I understand why he was picked as the third member of the group over Kasious Ohno (Yes, the former Chris Hero was indeed meant to be the third member originally) the group needed a “heavy.” Rollins was the technical wizard, Ambrose was the brawler, but they needed a power guy.
But why did they pick Roman Reigns, someone of such inexperience, to fill that role over someone with far more experience? Simple really he was a member of a famous wrestling family, and he had the desired “look” aesthetically. And we all know Vince values aesthetics above EVERYTHING else!
The simple fact is Roman Reigns was coddled during his entire time in WWE Developmental and did not get the chance develop the required skills to work the WWE main roster. But, to be fair, he did not have to do much during The Shield's early days, and anyone will look good when working alongside people like Ambrose and Rollins. Reigns did the smartest thing anyone could do in that situation…he watched, and he learned. Roman Reigns was not trained by FCW Staff; he was really trained by Rollins and Ambrose. And they trained him very, very well! But out of the three men, most if not all fans would have thought that one of the two far more experienced members of The Shield would be first in line for a big solo push. But we were wrong…
They Booked Him At The Expense Of Rollins And Ambrose!
Fast Forward to Survivor Series 2013 and a traditional five on five elimination tag match between The Shield, Cesaro and Jack Swagger vs The Usos, The Rhodes Brothers, and Rey Mysterio. Shockingly every member of Roman’s team was eliminated except for him and Rollins. It looked like the match was booked to be a clean sweep. But then Roman went spear crazy, and the result was him being the sole Survivor! This was done for a purpose most didn’t see yet, but I saw from a mile away. Roman Reigns, despite being in the industry for only three years wasn’t just going to be The Shield member first in line for a singles push! He was Vince McMahon’s pick for the company’s top babyface star after John Cena. And it was at that very moment where I began to worry.
I had hoped that while WWE’s higher-ups had made their intentions clear, they would at least be smart about how they presented Reigns going forward. That they wouldn’t rush splitting up The Shield and they would not book Reigns to “save” Rollins and Ambrose in every tag match. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed fairly quickly. For months leading up to The Shield's eventual breakup, Rollins and Ambrose would get their arses kicked every time before they made the hot tag to Reigns who then cleaned house and won the match in minutes. It was then that the rumblings of fan dissatisfaction began. Because if there is one thing pro wrestling fans today hate, it’s when people are pushed ahead of others who are more experienced and may well be more deserving of the opportunity. Which leads me to my next point…
They Pushed Him Above Others For All The Wrong Reasons!
Let me ask you guys a question. Why was Roman Reigns picked to be the next top babyface star in WWE over guys like Daniel Bryan or Seth Rollins? I mean, he’s a good worker obviously despite the fact he has less experience than a lot of his peers. But I think we can all agree that there are a dozen better in-ring workers currently employed by WWE. And his mic work still not quite at the level it could be. Plus, let’s be honest, he has a very bland personality. You would think someone related to The Rock would have more charisma, wouldn’t you?
So why was Roman the man Vince McMahon picked? Simple, He’s tall, muscular and good looking. In Vince McMahon’s world aesthetics should be the only thing considered when booking talent. Everything else doesn’t just come second…it comes dead last! I'm not hating on the man for being genetically blessed, but I do think it shouldn’t be the reason why he’s able to get ahead either. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Half of Daniel Bryan’s success in WWE was due to him not having WWE’s desired “Look”. And because he did not have the desired “Look” WWE’s higher-ups did not see what we saw in him. Mainly a man who was meant to main event WrestleMania. I don’t think people really understand the magnitude of Vince McMahon and his yes men's decision to change WrestleMania 30’s main event. For the first time in history, WWE was completely out of touch with its audience is such a huge way that they had to change long-term booking plans on the fly in order to placate a fan rebellion. You would think that such a precedent would make them realise that the industry has changed while they were not looking and they now need to change with it. However, Vince and his army of yes men are a stubborn lot…
They Refuse to Acknowledge The Problem!
After the events of last week's Raw, many people were praising how Roman Reigns handled such a hostile crowd. And I have to admit; the praise is well deserved. But what people were not talking about was how a worker booked as a babyface has never faced anything such as that in the ENTIRE history of the industry. Not even the greatest heels of all time have gotten heat like that. John Cena has been public enemy number one as far as the IWC is concerned for a decade, and he never got a reaction that bad! And yet, Vince and co’s response is the same it’s been ever since people started to boo Reigns two years ago “He’s getting a big reaction. That’s all that matters.”
ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?
Getting a big reaction from the crowd is not the same as being over with that crowd! Any idiot can walk into an arena and get a big reaction if they really tried. I could ride into Madison Square Garden naked in a chariot pulled by a half dozen Kangaroos singing Shake It Off by Tayler Swift while doing pelvic thrusts and get a big reaction from the crowd! But that doesn’t mean they would want me to stay, does it? Roman Reigns is the most hated man on WWE TV every week when he’s being booked to be the most loved. Like it or not, boneheads…THAT IS A PROBLEM. And it’s only getting worse when you continue to try and sell the fantasy that people actually do like him. Which leads me to my next point...
They Keep Lying About His Popularity!
WWE has done everything in their power to manipulate Roman Reigns image into something more positive. But in the end, they’ve only made things worse for him. For example, if I hear one more WWE employee state publicly that Roman Reigns is second only behind John Cena in merch sales I’m going to scream. This is nothing more than an Alternative Fact the WWE has tried to get people to believe. And it’s one that is hard to prove and disprove as the records of WWE’s merch sales are not public. Dozens of sources over the last few years have claimed his merch sales are anywhere from third to seventh overall, but I am fairly confident that Roman is not the #2 merch seller in WWE.
You still don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll believe WNW Vice President Thomas Fenton who went to a WWE show on March 13, 2017, and took these photos of merchandise stands filled to the brim with unsold Roman Reigns merch!
My fellow WNW writer and friend Elizabeth Sherwood states she saw dozens of merchandise stands filled with unsold Roman Reigns merchandise when she attended the January 16, 2017 edition of a house show. WWE has been accused of fibbing about merch sales before, during CM Punk’s record-setting WWE Title reign that saw him usurp Cena as the #1 merch seller in the company, so is it really so hard to believe they are fibbing about Reigns merch sales?
But if you need more obvious examples of WWE trying to manipulate things in order for Reigns to look popular just look at WWE TV every week. The obvious muting of arena microphones every time he appears on camera, so people at home don’t hear all the boos. The confiscation of fan signs that contain a negative Roman Reigns slogan (this has been confirmed to happen on and off for the last two years). And the most obvious example I can give is editing video from Raw for replays and Youtube:
I don’t know why Vince and the other powers that be feel the need to piss away money like this just to make Reigns look more popular! Maybe he’s in denial and still thinks these tactics will fool the audience into liking Reigns. All I know is it’s only making the backlash over Reigns push even worse. You cannot manipulate or force people into liking someone. It just doesn’t work!
They Did Not Turn Him Heel Before, During Or After WrestleMania 33!
I have no issue with Roman Reigns Retiring the Undertaker at Mania. Undertaker wanted to go out putting someone new over (as he should) which only makes me respect the Deadman even more. But I do have an issue with Reigns not turning heel to do it! Retiring Undertaker is not something most people would want to do given the sheer magnitude of it! So I have a lot of sympathy for Reigns there. But him doing so while still flopping as a babyface is only going to hurt him in the long run.
The facts are simple, Undertaker is one of the most beloved pro wrestlers of all time while Roman Reigns is one of the most hated. The people who hated Reigns before are only going to hate him forever because he retired Undertaker. So the question has to be asked…WHY ON EARH WOULDN’T YOU TURN HIM HEEL? What chance does he have of getting people to cheer for him, admire him and suspend their disbelief and believe in him after that? But, with that being said people would never really be inclined to cheer for him in the first place if you think about it…
They Just Can’t See The Plainly Obvious Fact That He Is A Natural Heel!
I have been saying this for the last three years! Literally, everything about Roman Reigns from his look, move set and personality, all of it screams heel. That’s not to say he couldn’t ever be a babyface, but it’s just that some people are far better suited to playing the bad guy. There is a reason why so many actors in Hollywood always play villains! It’s because they are just so naturally good at it. Not that people like Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen or Gary Oldman can’t play good guys (they can and have). But they have a better chance of making their mark in a movie if they play the villain. The same thing applies to pro wrestling! People like Chris Jericho can be a good babyface, but he shines brightest when he’s a heel.
If you don’t believe me, just look at how Roman Reigns acts outside of WWE! Whether he’s smacking down someone on social media like he’s Kevin Owens or proclaiming in shoot interviews “Boo me all you want, I’m just a guy getting rich” he oozes this arrogant and entitled attitude. Maybe it’s really just a lot of self-confidence on his part, but it comes off as being very very heelish. And not a lot of people in the industry have the ability just to give off a vibe that makes fans dislike them that much. It’s an ability a lot of workers would kill to have. But, unfortunately, WWE’s higher-ups don’t see it and are wasting it.
Roman Reigns has everything it takes to be the biggest heel the industry has ever seen. Some believe he already is in a way! But Vince and his yes men are determined to ice skate uphill by continuing to portray him as the biggest babyface in WWE. And it’s simply never going to work.
Conclusion: Roman Is Screwed!
If Vince and the powers that be continue to try and force a babyface push of Roman Reigns to the very top of WWE, it will only end badly for everyone concerned. Watch this space over the next two years. Watch as TV ratings begin to fall. Watch as ticket sales start to drop off. Watch as Network Subscriptions slow. Because Roman Reigns is not and never will be over as a main event babyface. And when it all ends badly (and it will) it won't be Vince McMahon and his army of yes men who will take the blame! It will be Roman Reigns who will be made the scapegoat. And that is something he simply does not deserve!
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