SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Guest Editorial – The Depressing Reign of Roman
By Dave Roughton
I was a massive fan from the Attitude Era until around 2004 where I retired with Steve Austin and The Rock as a full-time viewer.
My first show back was WrestleMania 31, and Seth Rollins cashing in and stealing the WWE Title had me sold. I was back. I’ve thrown myself back in and would considered myself more than a casual fan since then.
I loved Seth, but he was a heel and would get the boos from the crowd (sans Summerslam). Followed by him we had a Roman, who wasn’t over, Sheamus who wasn’t close to over, Roman (still not over), The Game as a heel followed by once again an uninspiring Roman reign (no pun intended).
In the 14 months I’ve been back watching, there hasn’t been one uplifting, universally over babyface championship reign. It’s been depressing and the floundering ratings are echoing that.
My mother and uncle, definition of casual fan, watch a Raw replay each Wednesday when they catch up for dinner. They were so fed-up and annoyed with the product that they stopped watching before WrestleMania. After Mania, they checked it back out again as Roman was champ and the thoughts of a fresher, finally babyface champion enticed them back. But nope. He’s booed out of every building and booked as a tweener. They feel dirty cheering him on and supporting him because he’s not the uplifting champion they were seeking. In 14 months the World Title picture has had nothing but clouds hanging over it for either the casual fan, the smart fan, or like right now, both.
I don’t know what the answer is. It might be A.J. Styles, but it’s not Roman. Roman has improved and his match against A.J. at Payback was terrific. But he’s not the face of the company they need right now to generate the excitement that the champion should. And, it’s been that way for a portion of the fanbase since I’ve been back, and possibly longer before that (I believe Brock Lesnar was heel when he beat John Cena).
For WWE, just give us something or someone to universally cheer for; remove the negativity from the World Title picture and from the (heel) authority figure aspect of the show. Lift those clouds and let it be fun again.