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Roman Reigns is one of the most divisive and talked about WWE performers in history. The company makes desperate play after desperate play to make him their number one star – thus far to no avail. How do they do it? What do they do?
I’m Tom Colohue and this is the Monday Night Reigns-o-Meter.
Monday Night Reigns-o-Meter
In WWE, and all across wrestling, there are people who always get the last word. These people are usually those that speak for the fans, taking the final word with style to signify the change of the segment or the switch to the more basic and violent styles that usually conclude a segment.
Hulk Hogan was that guy. Shawn Michaels was that guy. Steve Austin and The Rock were that guy at the same time, which made for some very intense promos. C.M. Punk was briefly that guy. Right now, John Cena is that guy.
Roman Reigns is never going to be that guy.
The problem with having a designated closer, one person who always manages to get in the last word, is that those people then have far too much freedom. Absolute power corrupts absolutely after all, and if you look at the names I listed above you’ll note that Steve Austin is perhaps the only one who wasn’t infamous for burying people with their promos.
Did The Rock go too far sometimes with his promos? To the level that he genuinely damaged the career of another wrestler? Ask Billy Gunn. Ask Bray Wyatt. C.M. Punk? Ask Kevin Nash. Hulk Hogan? Well, he was more infamous with backstage burials. I’m sure you can find someone, let’s be fair. And John Cena? He tried to utterly demolish The Miz, but The Miz took it and gave it back.
Roman Reigns is never going to be The Miz. He’s far too buff to fit in one of those gorgeous suits.
John Cena cuts deep just as The Rock used to cut deep. Cena has an immense talent for talking that really cannot be understated. When the announcers spent a whole Seth Rollins intro hyping this as a WrestleMania type match they weren’t kidding. Cena and Reigns can definitely go with the best of them. What they can’t both do, though, is cut a promo.
Reigns has been protected recently in this department, as if wrapped in the same snuggly comforter that Vince McMahon dreams of wrapping him in. Until the Summerslam build began, Roman Reigns barely said more than a couple of sentences. Typically he would remind everyone he retired the Undertaker, then let the crowd boo for a bit, threaten someone, and that was it, the job was done. The script was tight, the script was short, and the script was easy.
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— Tom Colohue (@Colohue) August 29, 2017
Lately that has been less the case. Reigns has had to pull his weight a little more, starting with suffering on the receiving end of abuse from Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar, and Samoa Joe. This was then followed when even Braun Strowman was able to out-talk him. In the week before Summerslam, Roman wasn’t even allowed to talk, instead walking into the ring and immediately getting into a fight. Not a bad thing, obviously; Roman Reigns’s shoulder is possibly his most over body part.
And then came this week. Roman Reigns walked into the ring with the final word in the company. Did he come up wanting? Well, you tell me.
Who won that promo, for you? Well see, the thing is, only one guy ever wins a John Cena promo. Even the now legendary pipe bomb from C.M. Punk came when Cena didn’t have a microphone. Imagine how different the perception might have been had Cena picked up a microphone after Punk’s was cut off and called C.M. Punk a “whiney drama queen bitch” with no hope for Punk to counter.
Is the problem that Reigns was bad, or just that Cena was that good? Is there even a problem, given that the match will undoubtedly still happen and, should Reigns go over, it doesn’t really matter that he wasn’t able to out-talk his beaten opponent? Reigns isn’t exactly known for talking. He’s known for beating people up, retiring The Undertaker, and being a slightly larger and less road-based dog than the Road Dogg.
It was at last year’s No Mercy that Cena said goodbye to wrestling for a few months so we could very well see that again. Cena could be on his back as he sees himself out, though he could just as easily take the win and walk away. After all, we’ve never seen a part timer go over a younger, full time talent, right?
It’s a big match, for sure. Did this promo make me want to see it more? Definitely. In fact, it kind of makes Cena the heel in this situation. Or maybe if you’re a Cena fan it makes Roman the heel.
Man there are a lot of elements at play here.
– His own promo skills
Did Roman Reigns beat the odds?
You tell me
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: MONDAY NIGHT REIGNS-O-METER #32: Tracking Roman Reigns’s ability to beat the odds and come out on top