There is no question that Roman Reigns is the current ‘top guy’ in WWE, in Vince McMahon’s eyes anyway.
Much like John Cena and all the ‘top guys’ before him; The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant – they pretty much all followed the same formula to maintain such longevity.
There is, however, the exception of Cena.
Aside from his early years in WWE, Cena has maintained a ‘Baby-face’ persona for well over 15 years; he never turned heel.
Former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz took to the ‘Masked Man Show’ podcast to explain the logic behind why Reigns turned heel, yet Cena didn’t.
This is what Gewirtz had to say, per nodq.com: “When it came to Roman [Reigns], the model was John [Cena], right? Because there were plenty of times when the writers would come in and be like, ‘Can we just turn John heel?’ With the ‘Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks.
"'Can we do it? Can we pull the trigger?’ And it was something Vince [McMahon] never wanted to do.
"He considered it, he always considered all ideas but ultimately he didn’t wanna do it and I think in the end he was like, to put it bluntly he was like, ‘Thank God I didn’t listen to you,’ as far as turning John heel because John was the standard-bearer and made a ton of money for the company and Make-A-Wish and the merchandise and everything, you know?”
Gewirtz continued: “It wasn’t, ‘Lets go Cena, Cena sucks’ with Roman. It was pretty heavily boos even if you’d always get the reports from the live events and it would be like, ‘Oh, the crowd popped for the finish and they popped on his entrance and yeah, there was a section of people booing but blah, blah, blah.’
"At some point, obviously that mindset of, ‘We gotta keep Roman babyface, we gotta keep John Cena Babyface’ shifted and in this particular case, it’s like similar to when [Hulk] Hogan turned heel in WCW.
"It’s like that was the right move to make and teaming with Paul [Heyman], that essentially established it.”
He added: “Do you remember that time where he was a tweener where he’s like, ‘I’m not a good guy, I’m not a bad guy, I’m just THE guy’ and it was neither here nor there in terms of what he was supposed to be.
"It’s like you come down with Paul Heyman and you just – again, it’s all about commitment and you commit to being a heel, that’s gonna have such a more highly effective way to convey that character than just kind of, ‘Let the audience decide.’
"Sometimes, we need to decide and kind of plant the flag in the ground and let the audience react to it.
"So, I’m so happy for Roman to be able to be a heel now and thrive like that because you’re seeing it, he’s loving every second of it, you could tell. At least that is what it seems like.”
The question now perhaps might be, ‘will we ever see a Cena heel turn?’ – with John now firmly in Hollywood, it is getting harder and harder to say.
He was the face that ran the place for a decade, but like his peers before him, he has now joined the Hollywood gang, who can blame him?
There does still remain, however, a large portion of fans who would love to see the trigger pulled in one more significant run before he hangs up his head band and sneakers for good.
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