EDITORIAL: The Roman Reigns honeymoon with fans might not last long if his presentation is mismanaged by Vince McMahon

By Zack Barber, PWTorch reader

Roman Reigns (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

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Roman Reigns may be back in full force, but he’s returning to a very different place than the world he left in October. The WWE Universe no longer revolves around Roman Reigns. This past Monday he received the biggest pop of his career, a well-deserved one at that, when he announced that his leukemia was in remission, but I fear that honeymoon could be short-lived if not managed properly. 

Having beat cancer for a second time, Roman has a lot of goodwill with the fans right now, but Vince McMahon can make that all go away with the flick of a pen. I concur with PW Torch VIP analyst Todd Martin, as stated on the most recent episode of “The Fix” VIP podcast, that the top babyface in the company right now is Becky Lynch.

If Roman starts eating into her time and her monster push begins to decrease while he starts getting four or five segments on Raw, there’s going to be a backlash and the boos will return in force. He needs to be carefully weaved into a story where he won’t appear to be big-footing anything. As improbable as this would have been a year ago, a feud with Baron Corbin may be the best thing for him.

Reigns’s biggest problem last time around that he was pushed as the top babyface to a resistant audience and his push commanded so much creative energy that everyone else on the Raw roster suffered as a result.

This created a massive dilemma that Vince ran into when Roman left. Everyone else on the roster had been so neglected that there was nobody immediately ready to step into his spot. Eventually Seth Rollins was elevated to number one male babyface (#2 overall behind Lynch), but he had to get through a disappointing feud with Dean Ambrose first.

Vince has to resist the temptation of becoming obsessed with Roman again. He cannot afford to once again starve the rest of his roster of creative attention in order to get Roman over. Nobody wins if that happens. Not Vince, not Roman, not a single person on the Raw roster, and most of all not the fans. 

Vince also has to consider Roman’s health. I’m sure Roman was chomping at the bit to get back in the ring. I would be too if I had been kept from doing what I love for four months, but the reality is cancer is a tricky thing. I don’t presume to know the details of Roman’s medical situation. However, from a business perspective, Vince would be negligent if he weren’t at least a little hesitant to build everything around a man who could, in theory, become sick again at any time, and perhaps exacerbated by putting too much pressure on him mentally and physically.

Roman must be handled very delicately right now if Vince wants to keep the fans from falling back into their Pavlovian pattern of booing vociferously the moment The Big Dog’s music hits.


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8 Comments on EDITORIAL: The Roman Reigns honeymoon with fans might not last long if his presentation is mismanaged by Vince McMahon

  1. Wrong.

    The women’s division is taking up too much time on Raw. I am secure enough as a wrestling fan of 36 years to say that. Lynch is doing well in her spot, but she and the entire women’s division need to be reeled in a bit. It shouldn’t be Women’s Championship Wrestling. It seems like 3/4 of Raw now involves Lynch, Banks, Rousey, Jax and the like. The men have taken a back seat. This will be a mistake. Wrestling has been made PC enough. As an old school fan, I’m sounding an alarm that this is a mistake. I do agree they don’t need to make it all Roman, all the time either.

    • Nope.

      The women’s division doesn’t get enough time, or creative love. You’ve got a lot of talented women like Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Dana Brooke who rarely get ring time. Meanwhile, on the men’s side, we get to sit through thrilling (yes, sarcasm) Jinder Mahal matches, an awful Roode/Gable pairing, and the catastrophe that is the tag team division. Or better yet, once in a great while, we get to watch the Universal Champ stand in the ring and smirk. Good times there.

      Why would you “reel in” the hottest act in the company right now, anyway? That makes zero sense. Playing the “PC card” to back up that terrible argument though?… Really?

      I don’t care an ounce about what’s “PC” on a tv show, the women are more entertaining right now. When I watch tv, I want to be entertained.

      Sure, they could do with less Rousey, and no Jax- but that time should be given to other deserving women. Heck, Asuka can’t even get on tv over on Smackdown.

      Maybe you should try 205 Live? They don’t have any women’s wrestling there.

      • Or maybe I don’t want women involved in EVERY SINGLE SEGMENT OF MY SHOW. That doesn’t make me sexist. I enjoy professional wrestling. I don’t want to see women’s wrestling dominate.

        But what do I know? I mean, wrestling existed just fine for a hundred years before Becky Freaking Lynch came along. I promise you, for every 20-something of you, there are 50 of me.

        Just out of curiosity, truth now: I believe this is an age thing. I’m 48. How about telling me how old you are?

  2. By the way, I read right over this the first time.

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth that I like Jinder Mahal matches. I came from an era that had Randy Savage, Jerry Lawler, Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden, Bruiser Brody, Rick and Scott Steiner, Arn Anderson, Jerry Stubbs, Ric Flair, the Midnight Express, and a lot of other talented guys.

    I’m like a lot of people: I don’t like a lot of the current product. Sometimes, I do like what they do. I guess I am a dinosaur. I enjoy WRESTLING, not sports entertainment. I suppose it’s never going back. But I’m going kicking and screaming.

    I don’t know what you have to complain about. You ought to be happy, if women’s wrestling is your thing. It’s practically 2 hours of the three of Raw every week. If not, it sure as crap feels like it.

    • I recognize a few of the names you mentioned, but not all. I’m going to assume they were all pretty good, though. Here’s the thing about that however, can you name me eight guys on RAW that can match that star power? I don’t see it. If you can’t, then you’re essentially asking for more Jinder Mahal.

      To answer your earlier question, I’m 32.

      I’d also guess the women are on no more than 20 minutes of a 3 hr show, if that? So if you’re that tortured that it feels like 2/3rds of the show, Wow… I don’t know what to tell you there.

      • I understand your point, and don’t take this the wrong way. But I re-read several of your posts and almost all of them are about the women– that you don’t care for Rousey or Banks, etc. I get it. It’s a generational thing with you and I, I understand. But there are a large group of fans like me — just like there are a large group like you — that don’t prefer wrestlers to have memorized lines, that don’t prefer a majority of the time donated to the women’s roster.

        You mentioned Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Dana Brooke. Bliss is talented on the mic, very much so. But she’s been relegated to sitting down and being interrupted after sexual innuendo each week. I prefer the booking system to Stephanie’s writers. Here’s the thing: they’re not going back. This is the direction they’re headed. And it’s not for the better.

        And no, there is no one on Raw — not even Seth Rollins — that can compare to 80 percent of the guys I mentioned. I know that. That’s what I’m saying. This may be what we have to take, if we’re going to watch wrestling in 2019. But it doesn’t make it better. This is the worst time to be a wrestling fan, in my opinion. As I said a few Raw reviews ago on one of Keller’s reviews, it’s as bad as I remember it, and I sat through P.N. News, the Red Rooster, Bastion Booger, the Nitro Girls, the Godwinns, etc.

        We can agree to disagree on the women’s TV time. You’re going to win out on that, because that’s Stephanie’s baby. I am in a no-win situation. Not disputing Lynch is a break-out star, but surely you can recognize they’re copying the Stone Cold persona, to a large degree.

        I don’t know… it’s hard for older fans like me. It’s a habit to watch each week because I guess we keep hoping it’ll get better. But there’s no surprises anymore, really, and I’m just hoping Bruce Prichard can breathe some life into creative. They may be making money hand over fist — I’m a network subscriber since day one — but that is some kind of irony, given the sorry state their product is in.

        • You’re correct, I do mostly comment on the women’s segments in WWE, because I’m generally more entertained by (most of) them. There are a few, such as Rousey and Jax, that I’m not a fan of. Right now they’re getting tv time by the bunches, so I also get what it’s like to have to sit through things your not a fan of.

          I just remember not that long ago when the top women’s program would be sent out, and they’d have about 60 seconds to try and work a match, and tell a story. And the argument would be “women don’t draw,” when they never had a chance to. I’m happy they’ve came a long way since then. So that’s somewhat why I voice an opinion on this stuff, because if you like something, got to support it, right?

          You very well may be right, too, our tastes may differ based on a generational thing. I can’t argue that some wrestlers would likely be better off not having to recite scripted promos, though. I’ll also give you that they have taken elements of the Stone Cold character, and weaved them into Becky. The arrest angle was 101 there.

          Like you were saying though, we can agree to disagree on some other things. Undoubtedly others share opinions, on both sides of the fence. I appreciate the debate though because, even though I disagree with you some, you brought it around to a point where I can see where you’re coming from. And I enjoy talking wrestling.

  3. The women’s programs have journeyed a LONG way from the days of Candace Michelle, Torrie Wilson and all of that crap. That wasn’t wrestling. I know I’m about to tick off about 75 percent of the people on this board, but the “Attitude Era” wasn’t about wrestling, either. It was about shocking people to get ratings.

    Wrestling at its best, at its heart, is still a morality play. I agree with Bob Armstrong completely on that. If you take out that element, it’s not as entertaining. And when you have people who don’t know that heading up your creative team, you get blase storylines that no one cares for.

    I think Vince McMahon has lost touch and needs to cede some control of creative. I think the “creative team” needs to be re-named, because there’s nothing about them that’s creative. On any given episode of Raw, in six matches, we’ll get five distraction-roll-up finishes.

    The women’s thing has been done well in spots (Lynch) and pathetic in others (the constant bickering-making up between Banks and Bayley that was nausea-inducing last year). I don’t think it needs to go; I’m saying I don’t think Lynch can be your absolute top star of a wrestling company. I just don’t. I think she’s talented and can be right up there. But I still believe in a male-dominated fan base, you need an alpha — a Hogan, a Savage, a Flair, an Austin, a Rock.

    That doesn’t mean we need 10-minute Brock Lesnar German suplex-fest matches, either. Their problem is that no wrestler seems unique. None of them. They are all vanilla and (trumpet sounds) the McMahon family are the stars of the show.

    Yuck.

    Enjoy talking wrestling with you. Maybe one day, they’ll wise up, throw out the writers, and we can get down to business. 🙂

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