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Over the last month, WWE has handed Roman Reigns the ball and told him to carry the company to the next level.
Instead of elevating his performances in the ring and on the mic, Reigns had several mediocre main event matches and his promos have been forgettable. While some wrestling fans blame WWE Creative for his deficiencies, the majority of the roster deals with the same poor storytelling and character development.
The difference is the best wrestlers overcome issues with creative and make the most out of the opportunities presented to them. The Superstars who don’t overcome the scripted promos and cookie-cutter matches are typically cast aside.
That is unless you’re Reigns.
“I’m going to control MY YARD! I’m going to win tonight… then I’m going to win the #MITB contract and take back what’s rightfully mine, the #UniversalTitle!” @WWERomanReigns is laser-focused before his #MITB Qualifying Match! #RAW https://t.co/DpRYp94Y7t
From an in-ring perspective, there is no doubt that Reigns is a better performer than he was when he was in The Shield. The problem is that while he has improved, he delivered lackluster performances against Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania and at the Greatest Royal Rumble, as well as in his match against Samoa Joe in the main event of Backlash.
Not only are his matches formulaic and predictable, Reigns is constantly playing the role of the face in peril who comes back to pull out the heroic victory. Just as Hulk Hogan’s in-ring work would never get over with the crowds of 2018, wrestling skills aren’t the reason Reigns is on top.
What made Hogan so loved despite his wrestling ineptitude was his charisma and promo ability. While it’s true Reigns isn’t handed the best lines and his promos are heavily scripted, he is the hand-chosen top star and has earned leniency when it comes to his character and how he would convey a message.
Reigns has been given more time than most other WWE Superstars to talk in front of the crowds or backstage, but his cadence remains rigid and he isn’t believable as a sympathetic or dominant good guy. It’s the same creative team, but other Superstars make it work despite being handed less-than-ideal scripts.
Another problem is that Reigns is being put up against the very best in the world on the mic and in the ring and not holding up his end of the deal. He works with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and many other top performers, and he consistently is the least entertaining portion of each storyline.
Instead of booing him out of the building, which has been the method of operation for the WWE Universe in the past, the decision by many fans tired of the constant let downs to walk out of the show early is a strong indication that the tide is turning on Reigns. Regardless, it’s unlikely the company will take the reaction into consideration.
That’s not to say WWE Creative isn’t exacerbating the situation by putting him against Jinder Mahal or letting him kick out of Lesnar’s finisher over and over again, but Reigns is doing nothing to overcome these blatant issues. If he wants to truly get over with the fans, he needs to grab the proverbial brass ring Vince McMahon talked about for so many years.
Whether WWE is giving him great material or not, Reigns is the one standing in front of thousands in attendance and millions at home during the main event of Raw and pay-per-views. The company needs to admit the current plan isn’t working or Reigns needs to stand up for his character before the rest of the WWE Universe fans give up on him.
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