Pro Wrestling

10 Reasons Why Roman Reigns Will Never Be The Face Of WWE Source:

It’s no secret that WWE is currently struggling with ‘The Roman Reigns Problem’. Tabbed as a future star in the company from the day he debuted on the main roster, Reigns has not lived up to expectations, despite nearly two years of concentrated efforts by WWE to make him one of, if not the top star in the company. At this point, it’s looking like Reigns may never be able to match the lofty expectations that were placed upon him early in his WWE career. But why have things gone so horribly for Roman Reigns? Has WWE forgotten how to make stars? Is he really that bad of a wrestler? Or is it simply just a case of “wrong place at the wrong time”? The reasons behind the failure of Roman Reigns to become WWE’s biggest star are many and varied, and not entirely his fault, and together they have ensured that while Reigns may still find success in pro wrestling, it’s incredibly unlikely that he will ever be the #1 top star of the promotion.

10. Good Looks Just Aren’t Enough Anymore

The old joke that isn’t really a joke in pro wrestling is that you need three things to survive: height, good looks, and a full head of hair. WWE especially made a fortune by promoting the biggest and strongest wrestlers as larger-than-life superheroes, and it worked very well for a very long time. In fact, at one point it was a matter of policy that WWE would not sign any talent that didn’t meet strict height and weight restrictions (ones which, ironically, would have disqualified several top stars working on the roster at the time). Overweight wrestlers were freak show attractions, and short wrestlers were only allowed to wrestle competitive matches against similarly sized opponents, while being destroyed by the larger, “real” stars of the promotion. But in recent times, fans have become more and more informed about alternatives to the old “bigger is better” mentality, and look towards other qualities for what they enjoy in a wrestler. Bigger wrestlers like Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, and smaller ones like Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles are held in just as high esteem as the old giants of the ring. Roman Reigns, meanwhile, is the very model of Vince McMahon’s old-school ideal pro wrestler, and while that’s a good start, it’s no longer enough for fans to accept him as a big deal. These days, a wrestler needs to bring more to the table than just height, good looks, and a full head of hair, and that’s where Roman Reigns starts to look far less appealing. Source:

9. He Actually Can Wrestle, But…

Don’t get us wrong, Roman Reigns can wrestle. He can even be pretty good at it, on occasion. He’s got loads of potential to one day have some pretty great matches with the right opponents. But he has not, as yet, had any memorable matches at a singles wrestler that show off why he deserves to be the top guy in WWE. Make no mistake, WWE is all about style over substance, but it is still a wrestling show at the core, and fans have been trained, especially in recent years, that the people on top can occasionally put on those classic 5-star matches that become the highlights of their careers. Even someone like Hulk Hogan (who, again, was not actually a bad wrestler), who had a formula for his matches that he usually followed to the letter, could still break out and have classic matches like WrestleMania VI against Ultimate Warrior when called upon. And as the average pro wrestler has become more skilled over the years, more is being asked of the top stars to carry the show from an in-ring perspective. No longer can you have the technical wrestling relegated to lesser title matches further down the card, the fans expect good wrestling matches up and down the roster. Heck, even the women have stepped up their game in recent years. The point is, you can’t be a mediocre wrestler and just be accepted as the top star in WWE by modern fans. And while Roman may become better in the future, for the present, he’s not even close to what is expected. Source:

8. He Can’t Cut A Scripted Promo

Listen, we’re sure Roman Reigns would probably be more relaxed if he weren’t forced to read heavily scripted promos handed down from WWE Creative, and was allowed to speak more like he does in real life. It’s a fair assumption, because almost anyone would be. But here’s the thing: that’s not how WWE works. The only wrestlers who get the freedom to extemporize, even a little, are those who have either enough pull backstage to get away with it, or have proven over a long history that they’re capable of some level of improvisation and won’t embarrass WWE on live TV. For everyone else, until they earn that right, they get a script and are expected to read exactly what is written. It’s as true for Roman Reigns as it is for almost everyone else on the roster, with few exceptions, but Roman Reigns is the one visibly having issues on a regular basis. Someone like John Cena goes out and cuts almost entirely scripted promos (he may add a few lines in the moment, but we guarantee the script at the production desk has Cena’s promos written out almost word-for-word before Raw even goes on the air), and still sounds natural, because Cena is good at cutting promos. Roman is not, and while that isn’t a reason why he can’t be a successful pro wrestler in WWE, it is a massive roadblock in the path of him becoming WWE’s biggest star. Source:

7. His Booking Isn’t Doing Him Any Favors

It’s impossible to blame Reigns’ situation entirely on him. He’s really not a bad wrestler, he has lots of potential, and it’s very likely that he would have become a main event star without going to the extents that WWE already has, given enough time for him to develop fully. But WWE strapped a rocket to him one day and decided that he was a main event star, and then proceeded to book him about as terribly as you could somebody who you supposedly believe is the future top draw for the promotion. He was sent out to die cutting long-form promos that he never should have been asked to do. He was booked as if he was other, more successful wrestlers like John Cena, Steve Austin, and Daniel Bryan, without just letting him be Roman Reigns. And when things didn’t work out as expected and the fans rejected him, WWE didn’t change a thing about him to try and address that fact. There are plenty of examples of wrestlers from the past, where they have failed in a projected role, only to see WWE make the necessary adjustments that eventually result in getting them over as a star. The Rock is the prime example, but John Cena, Randy Orton, and even Triple H are examples of WWE tweaking (and sometimes, completely rebuilding) a wrestler as the situation demanded. But Reigns remains the same, and as a result, other characters that have evolved around him, while he stays the same and visibly struggles, look like far more attractive options. Source:

6. A Lack of Strong Opponents

Let’s face it, Roman Reigns’ journey to the top of WWE hasn’t exactly been filled with top contenders. Aside from WrestleMania 31 against Lesnar (which he lost), Reigns has been fed a steady diet of the most mediocre heels the WWE midcard can provide. There was the extended feud with The Big Show, a summer full of Bray Wyatt and his Family (admittedly, that was back when we thought Bray Wyatt might actually be worth something in WWE, but it did involve far too much of Braun Strowman killing Roman with hugs), and then a long period of facing Sheamus and the League of Nations, which as we’ve repeatedly covered, are some of the most cartoonishly inept buffoons this side of a Disney cartoon. What this means is that since he set off on this singles push, there haven’t been any opponents that have really made us feel like they were a real threat to Roman. Even John Cena, who always wins in the end, has had feuds where it looks like he’s in real jeopardy, whether due to overwhelming odds, catching Cena by surprise, or a wrestler showing that he just might be Cena’s superior in the ring. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns has never truly felt like his victory was anything less than inevitable, and none of his opponents have ever left anything resembling permanent marks. When Cena finishes a war with someone, he makes sure you know that it took everything he had. But when Reigns emerges victorious, it’s like he never even broke a sweat. When winning comes as easy as it has for Roman Reigns, what has he really accomplished? Source:

5. There’s No Sympathy For Him

This plays off the previous point about Reigns pretty easily defeating everyone sent against him. There are characters for whom this would work, with Goldberg and Brock Lesnar being prime examples (although even they would eventually find wrestlers who could match them in the ring, leading to some classic feuds). But Reigns is portrayed as an underdog working against people like The Authority and Vince McMahon, who allegedly are putting massive obstacles in his path. You’re supposed to sympathize with Reigns, who’s clearly getting screwed over by people in power who don’t want him to be the champion. The only problem is, it doesn’t feel genuine. Roman Reigns is a giant with an incredible physique, a full head of hair, and comes from one of the most powerful dynasties in professional wrestling. His cousin is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and he has other cousins working for WWE that he can team up with on a regular basis. The idea that someone like that is being held back by anyone in WWE is laughable at best, and makes it very hard to find reasons to sympathize with him, especially when he also wins all his matches handily. In addition, the knowledge that WWE actually does want Roman on top, in this age where information about WWE’s booking plans flows more freely than ever before, makes the entire on-screen presentation of him ring hollow, because reality has intruded too far into the on-screen product at this point to be ignored. Reigns winning a match is expected, and that’s not the position of a sympathetic underdog. Source:

4. There Are Too Many Better Options

It’s fair to say that between WWE and their NXT developmental league, they have the deepest and most talented roster of wrestlers on the planet, and if they want, they can pretty much go and add anyone they want to, if that person is willing. The side effect of that, and of WWE bringing in so many stars with established fan bases from their days in other organizations, is that fans have more choices than ever for who they throw their support behind. And while Roman Reigns has good looks and decent skills, and really isn’t as bad as some people say he is, he still doesn’t really excel at anything. AS a result, fans can easily point to other Superstars in WWE who are better wrestlers, better characters, wrestlers who are better at promos, wrestlers with more unique looks, and so on. That isn’t to say there aren’t people who support Roman Reigns, because there are, but it’s only a percentage of total fans, and thanks to the backlash against Reigns, all those other fanbases, which are themselves only a percentage of the whole, have basically united against Reigns, creating an overwhelming majority of fans who would rather have anyone else on top. Source:

3. The Safety Net Still Exists

It’s hard not to argue that Reigns is only truly getting this extended chance to succeed because the injury bug has claimed so many other performers, specifically John Cena. For all the talk that Cena has suddenly become worn down and injury-prone, he is still the man in WWE, and Vince McMahon recently said (only half-jokingly) that he expects Cena to be part of WWE until he’s 70. Presumably he won’t wrestle that entire time, but Cena is an unkillable robot sent from the future, so who can really say. And as long as Cena is around to boost merchandise sales and have featured main events (remember, the main event of WrestleMania 32 was almost certainly going to be John Cena vs The Undertaker before injuries hit), Reigns is never truly going to get a chance to succeed or fail on his own. And while that may seem to be a good thing for WWE from a financial perspective (since if Roman tanks with no safety net, they’d be in trouble), it also means that they probably won’t ever reach a “do or die” moment with Reigns where he actually gets to be The Man. As it stands currently, WWE can always back off on Reigns and try again later, because someone like Cena is there to hold things together. Source:

2. WWE Has Already Backed Down Too Many Times

The fact of the matter is that despite WWE all but flat out telling us “We want Roman Reigns to be the top guy going forward”, they’ve still backed off on Reigns, repeatedly, due to negative crowd reactions, and the fans know it. When WrestleMania 31 was looking like a disaster of epic proportions, they changed the finish, backed off on his push and paired him up with Dean Ambrose. When it looked like fans might not be thrilled with his victory in the WWE Title tournament at Survivor Series, they had Sheamus cash in his briefcase and took away Reigns big moment. Then they changed direction the second they thought the fans’ opinions were shifting and put the title back on him, only to take it away again at the Royal Rumble when the moment passed and fans went back to booing. Along the way they’ve teased us with other options, other possibilities, and then taken them away when it became clear that fans were more interested in the alternatives. They spent nearly two years pushing Roman, then pulling back at the last second, to the point that literally three weeks before WrestleMania, there was still the possibility that they might completely shake up the main event to cover for the fact that he’s still not getting enough crowd support. This constant admission that they’re willing to delay Reigns push has become obvious to the fans, who are practically daring WWE to do it again, and the thing is, they probably will. Source:

1. Who Is Roman Reigns, Anyway?

Ask yourself this: what are the unique characteristics of Roman Reigns? What is it about his character that sets him apart? Does he even have an identity? Seriously, in the time since The Shield went their separate ways, Reigns former team members have developed characters with easily identifiable traits that make it easy to latch onto them. Seth Rollins in an arrogant narcissist who takes shortcuts and claims to be smarter than everyone, and Dean Ambrose is a man of questionable sanity with a dark past who will fight anyone and anything and never, ever gives up. So, what about Roman Reigns? Well, he wants to be WWE World Heavweight Champion, and we know he’s got a daughter and a big Samoan family. But, every wrestler in the company can be described as “wants to be champion”, and many of them have families with ties to wrestling, especially in this age of second and third generation Superstars. That’s not enough of a character to survive as a main event player, where everyone else has complex characters and motivations that their fans can rally behind. Sure, he wants to be the best, but why? The fact that that nobody can really answer that question (outside of snarky responses like”because Vince McMahon wants him to be”) is probably the biggest stumbling block in Roman Reigns becoming a real main event star, let alone the biggest name in WWE. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.