I have written post after post regarding the WWE’s new “poster boy” of this generation Roman Reigns. None of them have been particularly flattering. I’ve given my opinion on why I think he sucks. I’ve written a post detailing how they could’ve fixed his popularity issue. I gave up hope at one point and just begged the WWE to give him the top title even though I didn’t want him to get it. I have even detailed why it was okay for fans to hate Roman Reigns even after battling and recovering from leukemia! Yes, I gave a man who beat cancer no quarter and said it was okay to hate him!
In all those posts, I reiterated all my issues with the WWE’s Roman Reigns character. I’ve mentioned he a very bland good guy. He’s not that great in the mic. I mentioned many more issues I had with him. I did offer a solution, however, to what could make me like Roman Reigns. It was very simple but something the WWE was unwilling to pull the trigger on: make Roman Reigns a bad guy.
Oh, wait. They just did? Well, that’s fantastic! Now, I know there are some Roman Reigns fans who can’t accept the change just yet and believe it’s the worst thing to happen to him. Well, give it time and you’ll see it’s the best thing that’s happen to the character.
The WWE just didn’t make Roman Reigns a heel. They made him a dominant heel. A heel who was willing to beat his own cousin and proclaim his dominance over the entire Smackdown division by not only conquering Braun Strowman but The Fiend as well. The WWE even doubled down by making him be all buddy-buddy with one Paul Heyman. Maybe you couldn’t fathom the WWE would make Reigns a heel before but, when you saw him sitting right besides Paul Heyman, well, all the doubts you might have had just evaporated.
The change from good guy to bad guy wasn’t only just lip service as Roman Reigns had an attitude change to truly cement it. Sure, he was still a tough guy and profiled to be one of the strongest performers in WWE and Smackdown in general. However, he wasn’t just some tough guy who yelled a lot. The new heel Roman Reigns felt more in control. He spoke much more methodical. He came off as more confident as well. Okay, Roman Reigns always sounded confident but the tone is much more sinister and matter-of-fact than just the basic butt-kicker he was when he was a face.
This does work better for Roman Reigns as he doesn’t have to try to sound witty or charming to get the cheers of the crowd. All he has to do is sound menacing and scary and it works much better now. I guess it sounds better because it’s more in line with how Roman Reigns talks in real life. It sounds a whole lot like his departure speech when he said he was going to leave to battle leukemia for a second time. I mentioned before this was his best promo as it was the most authentic. The cadence from that promo falls in line with how he speaks as a heel and, well, not to say he’s a bad guy… but it does sound more realistic and more like how the man behind the Roman Reigns character sounds in real life behind the scenes. It works because he sounds more natural.
Roman Reigns current mic skills as a heel is leagues better than his “suffering succotash” phase but it’s still not on par with the greats. That’s why pairing him with Paul Heyman is one of the best things the WWE could’ve done with this new heel Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman can do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to speaking and addressing the WWE Universe while Roman Reigns can just finish the promos off with a few words which punctuate Heyman’s previous statements. This will allow Reigns some beneficial experience on how to deliver a promo and how to close it.
This is also seen in his more deliberate in-ring style he has now. He came off more as a high-octane wrestler, feeding off the energy of the crowd in order to get the better off his opponents when he was a babyface. There’s nothing wrong with this, for sure. The thing is, that kind of style gets really boring and stale really fast in today’s world of sports entertainment. Fans today do want a little more color with their fan favorites nowadays and being too good can be a detriment now. Making Roman Reigns wrestle in a more brutal and unforgiving style can work in his favor since it does suit his current mean streak attitude he’s been sporting. This version of Roman Reigns is also not under bending or breaking the rules if it suits his purpose. I mean, that match with Jey Uso during Clash of Champions recently showcased how dangerous he is now and how he’s okay with delivering a low blow when necessary.
However, the biggest reason why turning Roman Reigns from face to heel is a good thing for the WWE and the WWE Universe as a whole is simple: it’s what the fans have been clamoring for a long while now. The WWE pushed Roman Reigns as their top babyface too early and fans just couldn’t swallow the concept. He was just coming off the heels of the successful SHIELD stable gimmick and it was just too soon.
What’s worse is that Roman Reigns didn’t inherit many of the traits he had when he was part of the SHIELD. Sure, he was the powerhouse of the trio but he would start smirking instead of having this cold stare on his face. He would try to crack really corny jokes and say things like “suffering succotash” which just felt out of character. This wasn’t the Roman Reigns we like when he was part of the SHIELD! This was some manufactured toy which is supposed to appeal to the little kiddies who liked smiling heroes who said dad jokes!
You may think fans wanted Roman Reigns to turn heel because we hated him. Okay, that’s part of the reason but not the real reason. The reason why I wanted Roman Reigns to turn heel is because it will lead to reinventing the character and making people forget how much we hated the old Roman Reigns. It’s not like we all want to hate Roman Reigns but the WWE just made him such an awful character, we just wanted to hate him. Now, well, Roman Reigns is a bad guy but the WWE made him such an intriguing character you can’t help but feel a little more intrigue and want to see more of him rather than the opposite. In fact, he won the WWE Universal Championship recently, something we dreaded to see when he was a face, but, since he’s a bad guy but an interesting bad guy, we’re all okay with it!
So, yeah, Roman Reigns fans. It may seem like the world is caving in on you now that your favorite wrestler is now a heel but, I tell you, that’s going to be a good thing in the long run.
Now, can you do something about that “tribal leader” nickname, WWE? It kinda sucks.
What do you think of this new heel Roman Reigns? Let me know in the comments section below!