Roman Reigns took the beating of his life, eventually dished out equal measure, and earned the respect of some of his detractors in his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31.
It should have been Roman Reigns' time, culminating in a Rocky Balboa-style victory. Unfortunately, WWE and its capricious fans robbed him.
Reigns can recover from his current predicament if the creative team wakes up. Contrary to claims by some of his critics, Reigns was not pushed too soon or in the wrong way. It took three years to get him to the main event at WrestleMania.
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The Shield helped him develop further after leaving FCW and NXT. He is a former WWE Tag Team Champion. The only thing missing is a reign as either the Intercontinental Champion or the United States Champion, which is not crucial since he would not be the first superstar to reach the top without first winning one of these mid-card belts first.
Before WrestleMania, Reigns already owned victories against some of the top names such as Randy Orton and the Big Show, and he was quite impressive as the sole survivor at the Survivor
Series two years ago. There, he tied the record of four eliminations. He was also the standout performer in last year's Royal Rumble, even breaking Kane's elimination record with 12.
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It is ridiculous how some of the same fans who complained about Batista winning the Royal Rumble (and Reigns not winning despite a heroic effort) eventually turned on Reigns because Daniel Bryan was eliminated early in this year's Royal Rumble and because Reigns has the
Obviously, every champion and potential champion in any wrestling company's history has had the backing of the company. That is no reason to turn on someone who has worked as hard as Reigns has. Reigns is an awesome talent who already has a large following. It is an injustice that so many other WWE fans have been so unrealistic and cruel.
Furthermore, critics exaggerate about his allegedly limited repertoire. WWE has placed him in spots that showcased his explosiveness, such as taking on the Authority single-handedly and cleaning house as well as the angle in which he earned the respect of the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry. WWE has also highlighted Reigns' ability to put on an exciting match with even the more technically skilled wrestlers such as Daniel Bryan.
Reigns is one of the most athletic performers in the business. For example, how many other superstars have jumped over the top rope onto opponents, having launched from near the middle of the ring? The move is reminiscent of the Undertaker in his prime, if not even more spectacular.
Critics have also exaggerated about Reigns' lack of mic skills. Not every all-time great star has been as charismatic as The Rock, Stone Cold, or Chris Jericho. Heavy hitters such as Brock Lesnar have had colorful managers who have done most of the talking for them, and it has been effective. Others have been all about action and have had limited time on the mic. Even if Reigns benefited from acting lessons, he would be much better off if WWE allowed him to amplify his own personality instead of being force-fed lines.
It is not Roman Reigns' fault that the WWE failed to redirect his character when the mixed reaction and hostility began. If the Authority gimmick, which is worn out, no longer
existed, Reigns could bring back a fancy suit-wearing, more egotistical version of his Leakee character. Reigns should not try to be The Rock, but he should be allowed to follow a similar path and magnify some element of his own personality instead of being reduced to portraying a
character that is too much like it was in The Shield, in both persona and appearance.
Making him a lone wolf was not enough. Maintain his ties with Dean Ambrose and align him with the Usos, on occasion, to prevent him from facing every challenge alone. Put the top gold
around his waist and place him in a longstanding rivalry with a meaningful storyline. That could work for him, with or without a heel turn. At any rate, WWE should allow Roman Reigns to evolve into something truly special.
Recently, WWE has made a terrible mistake in giving fickle fans so much power. Any successful company should understand that "The customer is always right" is an expression that means resorting to occasional compromises to keep customers happy, but it should not mean allowing them to reroute the company's direction whimsically.
Roman Reigns has remained gracious toward the WWE universe and has waited patiently
for his opportunity to reach the top. More and more fans are cheering for Roman Reigns and chanting his name. Hopefully, the WWE will find a way to produce a fresh, less predictable product and a way to serve Roman justice.
Can Roman Reigns bounce back and become one of the most beloved and respected stars in the business? He can, and he will.