I have often been outspoken in my disdain for the....disdain of Roman Reigns.
All things considered, he's not that bad. He's pretty good in the ring. He needs new gear, new music, a new attitude. You'll always have naysayers, but Monday's Raw was a tipping point for yours truly.
WWE's new program "Bring it to the Table" really hammered the point home. Whether in character or not, Paul Heyman and JBL brought up "bitching and moaning" from the audience in a business that is very much consumer based nearly a dozen times as Peter Rosenberg did his job. At one point, Rosenberg said that he understood the financial incentive of Monday Night Raw lasting three hours, but mentioned he'd enjoy Raw more as a two hour show. He was then given an ultimatum, choose between one of the two. It was very standoffish and insulting.
That's the WWE we know today. Maybe they're upset they can't get a giant pop from a Sam Houston/Danny Davis interaction (waddup, Royal Rumble 1988). I'm sure after three decades of being able to do that, it's frustrating, but it's hardly new. The Rock was born from rejection. Stone Cold Steve Austin was a product of a terrible gimmick.
Speaking of the Rock, he publicly endorsed his cousin Reigns at Royal Rumble 2015. The crowd didn't want it. Reigns had a coronation at WrestleMania 32. The crowd didn't want it. There have been intermittent situations in which it appears as if WWE have turned the corner on the guy, but end up not staying the path. Despite the fact that I enjoy his work, it's very much a "spoon feed the bitching and moaning crowd until they like it" situation.
That's never been more evident than Monday night. In the main event segment featuring several (naturally) over talents in Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Braun Strowman, the United States Champion Reigns was forced into the situation.
Getting Braun Strowman over naturally has worked. He's squashed jobbers, improved in the ring -- been a total wrecking ball. The last few weeks in particular have seen Strowman dominate everyone in his way. It seems they have a star on their hands.
At the end of the program, following that build, Reigns and Goldberg speared Strowman out of his boots. It could have been worse, it took two dominant stars to do it, but the situation was so transparent. They want Roman Reigns over in they way they want him over. Don't get me wrong, the guy is "over," but not in the way the company seems to want him over. They'll do it at the expense of anyone, and one of their championships, apparently.
Reigns is an awesome hand. He's something special. He has some really good matches, and most of the crowd cares about him in some capacity. He's just not what the WWE is trying to force right now. That notion is nothing new, but their attempts are transparent and what cause many to go against the grain.
There has been some promise. Finn Balor, who I'm not much of a fan of in the ring, was put over Reigns early. Kevin Owens became Universal Champion at the expense of Reigns. The irony is that he SHOULD be a dominant character. He shouldn't be putting a lot of people over, but in his current presentation, it's reckless to use him in the manner they have.
Remember that 1997 promo Vince McMahon cut saying that he thought we were tired of having our intelligence insulted? I wish he'd take a look at that again.