EDITORIAL: Latest media interview with Reigns reveals another reason he’s just not good fit to be a top babyface

By Dustin Mayle, PWTorch guest writer


Roman Reigns (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

Can we face the facts, WWE? Your top babyface in the company gets a stronger heel reaction than your top heel in the company. At this point, I don’t know that there are any heels in WWE who have true heat, other than, maybe, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Even so, those guys are still rather beloved bad guys. Maybe Tommaso Ciampa is on his way to becoming a true heel down in NXT, but fans still have those proverbial smiles on their faces as he snatches their signs and rips them up in their faces. No, in the modern era, I have yet to see any truly angry fans threatening to jump the barricade at any heels like they did with Shawn Michaels in the late-’90s. However, I do see that kind of angry fan spark with WWE’s top babyface. His name is, you guessed it, Roman Reigns.

This Frankenstein experiment has just gone on long enough. There isn’t a thing WWE can do, okay?
Lately, I’ve noticed some fans of WWE hoping that, just because Roman cuts one good promo on Brock Lesnar, Roman is on his way to becoming universally liked and, even, cheered. I was one of those fans. For a while, I was rooting for Roman to get over. I went against the grain of hatred for Roman. Why not? The guy has the look and athleticism necessary to be a megastar. But, I recently had a revelation. I’m here to tell you it’s not going to happen for Roman Reigns as a babyface.

I hate to be ruthless here, but I’m facing the facts. Listening to Roman talking on an episode of the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, I felt no attraction to him as a guy that I want to root for. When talking about his shortcomings in pro football, Roman stated, “I wanted to be, like, a man of influence, somebody you could say, ‘Oh yeah, he’s a role model! Or, a superstar!’… somebody that is a bit of a household name. I felt like I had that in me.” To me, this didn’t sound like something a modest good guy would say. I would think Daniel Bryan would just want to wrestle. I would think The Undertaker would just want to wrestle. I would think “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would just want to wrestle. But, Roman Reigns wants to be glorified in households. Even if that’s something a wrestler wants for himself, that’s not something you publically say if you’re trying to get over as a babyface. Am I wrong? Do people respect someone who just wants fame?

There is a reason Daniel Bryan and the “Yes Movement” are over to a tremendous ovation from fans. The guy is modest, determined, talented, modest, and, most of all, modest. He’s even modest too! Can we say the same for Roman Reigns? Well, history tells us we can’t, unfortunately. During that same interview on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Roman not only paints himself as a man worthy of praise and glory, but he also even mentions that he was better than his teammates during his CFL career. There’s a reason people don’t like Tom Brady, folks, just like there’s a reason people don’t like Roman Reigns. It all boils down to modesty. It’s even evident in the way he carries himself. It seems like he truly thinks he’s the best in this line of work, just like he did in pro football. This is a great trait to have as a heel, but WWE is intent on making him their glorified babyface.

I know the WWE isn’t trying to paint Roman Reigns as squeaky clean and all. They want him to be more edgy like Stone Cold. It’s even more obvious lately with the whole thing about Brock Lesner supposedly being Vince McMahon’s “boy” as well as the law enforcement’s arresting of Roman. It’s all way too familiar.

The problem with this is that the character of Stone Cold was being played by Steve Austin. A character like that doesn’t do as well if he’s played by anyone else. Chris Jericho even stated on Austin’s WWE career documentary, “The things he did, the choices he made, the little nuances he added put that character over, nobody could’ve played that character like he did.” A Stone Cold character needs someone who fits that mold, like Steve Austin. An Undertaker character needs someone to fit that mold, like Mark Calaway. Those guys are able to be edgy babyfaces and get away with it because they can somehow execute it in a way that relates to the fans.

WWE needs to face the facts with the Roman Reigns character. He’s played by a man who carries himself as an alpha in a heelish manner, whether he realizes it or not. In my high school, no one actually liked our star quarterback because he carried himself like he was above everyone else and cocky. There’s a difference between being cocky and being confident. Even if you are good at what you do, if you’re cocky about it, people aren’t going to get behind you.

Roman talks himself up more than he puts his peers over, and by peers I also mean the WWE fans. Every successful babyface who ever lived has included the fans and acknowledged them as a good source of strength for his or her being one of the best. Roman never does this. Granted, he would probably get booed out of the building if he did, but even if he just acknowledged the niche market of fans, like children, that would help him quite a bit, I think.

The guy doesn’t even have a nice catchphrase. Bryan has the “YES!” chant, Austin has “Gimme a hell yeah!”, and The Undertaker has “Rest in Peace.” Roman’s catchphrase is one that he actually stole from The Undertaker, one of the greatest of all time, and it doesn’t work for him at this early point in his career. The reason the phrase worked so well with The Undertaker when he debuted it was because Taker had been an established megastar for around ten years. Roman has only been in the spotlight for about three years, maybe four. Nevertheless, no true wrestling fan is going to respond positively to Roman claiming the wrestling ring is his yard when we live in a world inhabited by the likes of Kenny Omega, A.J. Styles, Kazuchika Okada, Daniel Bryan, etc. The list goes on.

So, could Roman Reigns ever be accepted as a great babyface in WWE? If you ask me, the facts are all there. He just doesn’t have that genuine good-guy nature about him that could make it work. Based on his real-life interviews, he still comes off as a bit arrogant and full of his own you know what. Do you know what all those ingredients make a recipe for? A solid heel. If he goes heel, I don’t think he should ever go babyface again. He has a true quality for not being liked. I really don’t like to sound brash or sound like I hate the guy. I don’t hate Roman Reigns. I just don’t see a likeable character in him. I relate him too much to the jerky high school jocks that I grew up resenting.

It’s time for WWE to face the facts. The Frankenstein’s monster that is a babyface Roman Reigns needs to pull that lever and blow it all to atoms. How long can this really go on? Here’s to hoping Lesner vs. Roman doesn’t kill the WrestleMania main event.


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14 Comments on EDITORIAL: Latest media interview with Reigns reveals another reason he’s just not good fit to be a top babyface

  1. What kind of bs is that ? hav eu even heard the full Interview ? And U twist it so it fits your narrative ? Porr excuse to justify unnecessary hate and complete nonsense.

  2. Well said, Dustin. I think it’d be hard for a rational person to argue with a single point you made- but Vince is just so dug in on making Roman into his top babyface, it feels as if he lost the ability to step back from the situation and be objective here.

    I hope someone in WWE convinces Vince of just how bad the Wrestlemania crowd is going to hammer the Lesnar vs. Reigns match, and the outcome. They’re too far down the road to abort the angle now, I know- but I also hope they could see the potential in doing a huge double in the match. If Vince looked like he was coming to ringside to help his “boy” Brock Lesnar, and ended up helping Reigns win the title, it would be epic! Everything could fall in place a little more natural in the WWE universe, and next Wrestlemania is a cinch to book… Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns.

    • I absolutely concur with both the author ans this comment, especially the proposed coda of DB vs. Reigns @ WM35. Good lord, the reaction to those two participants would literally be the loudest in human history. And the thing is, they are both perfectly natural in those roles: in fact, this should have been the match the year Daniel won at WM. Here’s hoping Triple H can convince Vincent Kennedy McMahon of the wisdom of this scenario. The story writes itself.

  3. Well said my ass! You get all wet talking about Daniel Bryan so i’m guessing your one of those get on ur knees & praise him kind of fan You as a writer are bias which is a bad thing to be It’s no wonder WWE doesn’t pay attention to you idiots They don’t take all your bullshit serious.There is nothing wrong with a person having confidence in himself yet you call that arrogance Get over yourself what? tell me you don’t have that kind of confidence yourself you write these bullshit articles cause you feel peoole will listen to you i’m sure your not writing them w/no confidence about yourself in what you are saying Truthfully this article says more about you as a person than it does about Roman Think about that?

  4. I completely agree with you. Roman is very talented in the ring and he is getting very confident on the microphone as well but he just has that HEEL swagger with him which makes it very difficult to look at him as Babyface. They just have to accept he will not work as THE top babyface. He suits being a HEEL.

  5. This is the dumbest article! Haters going to hate til they die. Get over yourself! Who cares what you think! Roman is one of the hardest working men in wrestling. Everyone that wrestles with him says great things about him. You are just blind with hate for Roman. It’s call confidence! This is the worst article! Delete this please!

    • I suggest you re-read the article as it never called into question his ability to wrestle. It was about how he carried himself doesn’t work as a babyface. If you read the article you’d know all the points the author pointed out to back up his point of view. If you feel the way you do, perhaps you should submit and editorial to the website instead of asking for this well written piece to be deleted, because you don’t agree with it.

  6. It’s obvious who the fans see as the top babyface in the WWE and it’s the same guy they’ve wanted for 5 years.

    Now that he’s back they’re never going to accept anyone else.

    Reigns is very VERY good in the ring and will have a Hall of Fame worthy career. But he’s more valuable as a heel, especially now that Bryan is back.

  7. IM 38 YRS OLD. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP,A HEEL RIC FLAIR HELD THE TITLE FOR MOST OF MY CHILDHOOD. ROMAN WOULD BE GREAT IN THAT ROLE OF A HEEL CHAMPION WHO HOLDS THE BELT FOR A LONG TIME AND GIVES PEOPLE A REASON TO TUNE IN AND SEE HIM GET HIS COMUPENS. (COME UP INS?)

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