WITH the Roman Empire still in its initial phase, now is as perfect of a time as any to analyze whether this reign would be better served on behalf of the people, or contrary to them?
At Wrestlemania 32, Roman Reigns captured his second WWE World Heavyweight title – after he literally dethroned the proverbial ‘King of Kings’, Triple H.
No doubt, a number of WWE superstars have, in the past won titles while on “face” runs (good-guy character) and then shortly after winning, switched things up by becoming a heel (villainous character).
Often, that move has paid off big –
In 1998, the WWE vacated its title after Kane and The Undertaker simultaneously pinned Stone Cold Steve Austin in a triple threat match on Monday Night Raw.
Then, in a subsequent match between Kane and The Undertaker to determine the champion at Judgement Day, the belt went unclaimed after the match ended in a no-contest.
To resolve the chaos – Vince McMahon hatched a the perfect title tournament scheme.
This is what followed:
The People’s Champ (no belt, just praise) became the Corporate Champ (nice belt, a lot of hate) – serving as one of the prime examples of the WWE writing a more compelling heel, than it ever could a great face.
The Rock’s flourished in the new role, truly characterizing his first title reign.
– Damn, for a moment there it was 50/50 on whether or not we would get the ‘The Rock’ we all know and love.
Stone Cold in a recent podcast discussed the possibility of and need for Roman Reigns to spurn the WWE Universe and turn heel. Austin said the WWE needed to treat Reigns similar to the way the company treated the Rock back in the day.
“To me, it’s almost going to mirror what the Rock did. [WWE] brought him in as a white meat baby. People hated him and they wanted to hate him,” he said.
Austin added: “And then, all of a sudden, the Rock started taking over the Nation of Domination. He was the alpha male in that group. All of a sudden, the promo skills come alive. The character comes alive. The personality comes alive and he turned into the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.”
The key for any big star in the WWE is and has always been crowd control.
Raw personality and bravado is needed, the ability to move the crowd and spur emotion within them.
That all comes, for some, easier when animosity exist.
Fans have to hate you to the point to where they want to see you lose. There has to be genuine hate when you win.
Undertaker did it, Stone Cold, Triple H, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels; every top star that ever put in work for the brand did it at some point.
Now – it’s time for Roman Reigns to do it.
Roman has the build, the size and power to be a top star in WWE. However, the WWE gave that spot Seth Rollins – why? He had the ability to move the crowd. He had the ability to make the crowd watch on a week to week basis and hoped he lost.
Austin said: “I expect Roman Reigns to be Roman Reigns, but that’s the road that the Rock went down. I just think, organically, that’s the way it’s going to play out for Roman Reigns. Now, you can try to put him in that babyface spot, that number one spot, right now to see what happens and I’ll be very, very interested to see, if indeed, that’s what they do because I’m just waiting on the edge of my seat to see what happens.”
Yes! I know, John Cena never went heel. That’s true. But, all in all the fans ended up hating him for it. He became known as the “to good to be true” wrestler.
This had nothing to do with the Rock being in the ring, but everything with the fact that Cena had become so liked and good that he became unwatchable.
– The only thing better than love, is hate. Absolute, authentic, genuine hate. If I can’t make you love me, it’s better that you love to hate me.
I know Vince has been high on Roman since the ‘Empire’ entered the company. At times, it has been reported that Vince himself is writing lines and scripts for Roman. WWE sees the potential in this star and knows that the need a genuine way to make him palatable to the crowd.
Currently, the idea being developed in the WWE is Reigns against AJ Styles.
Styles is crowd favorite when went straight to the top because of the WWE Universe’s love for him in the three months he has been in the company.
In a feud like this, someone has to play the villain.