Roman Reigns is a strange wrestler. Not beloved enough to be a face, not hated enough to turn into a monster heel. He’s just sort of… there. All this despite the best efforts of the WWE to promote him as “The Guy” or “The Big Dog” and put him in situations that call for an ultimate good guy.
Fans just aren’t buying it, though.
They routinely boo Reigns in big spots, like at WrestleMania 32 and when he appears in the Royal Rumble match. We’ve even written about the problems with the way Reigns has been booked, joining the masses of fans who are sick of being told that this guy is supposed to be cheered.
No less an expert than Kurt Angle, who will join the WWE Hall of Fame in the Class of 2017, thinks he knows exactly what the problem is. During a recent appearance on “The Statement Show”, the former Olympian and WWE champion was asked about the Reigns situation, and he didn’t hold back. Angle claims the reasons fans refuse to buy into the Reigns hype is because they haven’t seen him suffer on his way to the top.
“Roman Reigns is talented. I don’t care what anyone says. You can’t deny that the kid knows how to work. I believe what happened to him was that they didn’t have him go through the ringer. They didn’t have him win the European title, or I should say, the Intercontinental title, U.S. title, King Of The Ring. They just threw him up there right away and the fans don’t like that. They want you to earn your keep. If any wrestler has ever done that, I don’t know of one. It seemed like they were really trying to push Roman faster than he should have been pushed. I think he will earn the respect of fans, but it’s going to take a little bit more time.
“For Vince McMahon, it’s not a difficult choice. You keep Roman Reigns in the picture and you just continue to push him. And eventually, someday, it won’t be the half and half, 50 and 50 [where] 50 [percent of the crowd] like him and 50 don’t. Eventually, it’ll go up, 60, 70 percent.”
We suppose there is some element of “paying your dues,” something Roman Reigns never really seemed to have to do in the WWE. But something really needs to change, whether it’s reworking him gimmick or turning him heel, because fans just aren’t getting on board with Reigns as a legit main eventer.