Don't be fooled, Roman Reigns winning at WrestleMania is best for business

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The comments boards all over the internet are consumed with debating the likely outcome of the WWE Heavyweight Championship match between Triple H and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania on Sunday. 

It's widely accepted that Reigns will leave Dallas with the belt, it is equally widely accepted that he will be booed out of the building when it happens.

I've waded into numerous of these debates in defence of both Reigns and WWE, and had to defend my opinions endlessly. But, with the debate set to continue let's address some of the recurring themes.


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1) The crowd hate Reigns

This is the biggest one, and it's largely a fallacy. Sections of the crowd hate Reigns for reasons we'll get to, but the overwhelming hatred portrayed by the TV boos, social media and wrestling blogs just doesn't exist.

A quick trip to the twitter feed from house shows will show his reactions are generally good away from TV. He's a favourite with the kids, and (I'm sorry but you can't ignore it) the women are pretty much sold too. His merchandise is still selling well which is another good indicator of overall popularity.

2) So it's the actual wrestling fans who don't like him then?

I'm not sure that's entirely true either. It's not Reigns' in-ring work which garners the most criticism.

Some wrestling fans are annoyed that his family and his look are what got him a foot in the door at WWE. That's true but it isn't enough to have kept him there. Reigns is good, he's very good, and the best thing is he's still evolving as a wrestler.

Comparative experience is one of the few areas where being part of the Shield did Reigns no favours at all. Interested fans can trawl through the internet and watch the pre-WWE careers of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose unfold before them (as Tyler Black and Jon Moxley respectively).

They can see where they came from and how they got where they are now. They've paid their dues.

Reigns, who came straight into FCW, has not. This is Roman Reigns' journey. That should be exciting to fans and they were starting to get behind him, even post-Shield, until WWE started his big push in earnest.

3) This is the WWE's fault?

Now we're getting closer. The amount of attention given to Roman Reigns by the decision makers at WWE turned him into the equivalent of broccoli on a child's plate, 'yes I know it's good for me but I didn't ask for it'.

WWE have given clear indicators that they see Reigns as the future face of the company, and with good reason.

Roman's ticking a lot of boxes for them. He has the right look, he comes from arguably the most impressive wrestling lineage, he has the family friendly appeal WWE are into right now and he can actually wrestle. In terms of marketability, Roman Reigns is best for business.

Even with all that going for him they still messed up the push. For this, you can largely blame the writers.

Roman's promo work is his main weakness and some of the things he's been given to say are just awful. Reigns has a natural sincerity in his delivery which is great when he's saying something he, and we, can believe.

Unfortunately, when he isn't it becomes stuttering and cringe-worthy, an instant credibility killer. But it's fixable.

4) So what needs to happen next?

A three-point plan:

• Firstly, give Reigns something to say he can believe. I like the righteous anger of the last couple of weeks, it suits him. The sarcasm is great, the aggression is good. But...

• Don't heel turn him - yet. There will be a time for Reigns to turn heel but it needs to be done properly. 

I know WWE could pick one of several angles to turn Reigns on Sunday night but I believe it's the wrong time. We've already established that Roman's credibility is stretched pretty thin with sections of the WWE universe and a sloppy heel turn would completely destroy what's left.

• Make Sunday night's title match a proper wrestling match. Hell in a cell is unlikely to contain much in the way of technical wrestling highlights, the No Holds Barred Streetfight is equally unlikely to be a display of technical brilliance. Triple H and Roman Reigns could deliver that. Let Reigns answer his critics in the ring and take down the Game convincingly and preferably clean.

There are other details which will help in the long term as well. The 'brotherhood' with Dean Ambrose needs to stay intact, it adds to Reigns character, does nothing to hurt Ambrose and could be used in much the same way as the Triple H, Shawn Michaels friendship. 

Likewise, his family ties to the Uso's and The Rock (although we'll see about that on Sunday - I personally have a bad feeling about it) all help to underpin the sincere, family friendly badass he should be aiming for (only in WWE could that sentence make sense).

Feuds will need to be chosen carefully, and there is still work to be done. The main thing to keep in mind is that, booing or cheering, the crowd are reacting and, given enough time, they will come round.

Of course, this could all be academic if WWE pull off a true shocker and Reigns doesn't lift the title at 'Mania. Not long to wait to find out.

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