by Kevin D’Hooge
“Ladies and gentlemen my name is Paul Heyman and I am the advocate for your 2015 Royal Rumble winner! The EMPEROR! The GLADIATOR! The future WWE WHC! ROMAN REIGNS!!!!”
Does that have a ring to it or what?
Vince McMahon was clearly the puppeteer of this week’s episode of Raw and he wanted Roman to be the focus.
So how did Roman do?
Before we get to that, let’s look at the task he was given: Roman had to deliver a promo in front of a smark-heavy Chicago crowd and wrestle Braun Strowman.
Roman’s promo really wasn’t a promo. He basically gave a history lesson of his feud with Bray Wyatt. Keep in mind, we’ve all been watching this feud play out the last 4 months on tv.
The Chicago audience quickly grew restless and responded to Roman with “What?” and “Boring” chants.
Roman went full-John Cena by responding to and feeding off of the antagonizing chants.
Roman’s next task was arguably tougher: carrying newcomer Braun Strowman to a competitive and aesthetically pleasing match. I don’t think there’s anyone on the WWE roster that could do that at this point.
This is particularly interesting because just a few months ago other superstars were carrying Reigns through matches (think back to the Daniel Bryan feud leading up to Fastlane).
This past Monday’s Raw was a prime example of WWE tossing Roman Reigns into the deep end of the pool and seeing if he would sink or swim. Here’s the verdict:
If you listened to the internet they would give you an overwhelming thumbs down. If you listened to the Allstate Arena they would give Roman two thumbs down. I’m not as quick to overreact.
I’m still on the Roman Reigns bandwagon. Clearly, multiple factors led to his underwhelming segments on Raw.
First of all, the whole show was unfocused and disastrously written. There was little for the fans to be excited about prior to the Reigns segments. He didn’t have any momentum to build off of.
Roman wasn’t given much to work with in his promo either; it was simply a historical account of his feud with Wyatt. Seth Rollins has been doing similar promos the last few months by detailing his storyline detail by detail.
And guess what: Rollins got “Boring” chants for it during Raw Baltimore. The Internet Wrestling Community still loves him though.
Secondly, this Roman Reigns-Bray Wyatt feud has carried on for way too long and many fans have lost interest in it. The story started off with Wyatt targeting Roman’s daughter, but has now shifted into an aimless feud pitting family vs. family (Wyatts vs The Shield). Mind you, Shield vs. Wyatts was already done last year.
I thought Roman brought energy into the material that he was given. He even had the instinct and confidence to troll the “What?” and “Boring” chants. They lit a fire in him.
He talked harder, louder, faster, and was completely dialed-in. He put the fans in his shoes and shared the combative mindset that has him ready to tee off on Wyatt.
A lot of speculation is being made about pairing Roman with a manager (Paul Heyman in particular). The duo has potential and looks good on paper. However, I think we remember recent Paul Heyman clients that went awry (Cesaro, Curtis Axel).
Giving Roman a manager would be a band aid. Yes Brock Lesnar benefits from an advocate, but that’s because he’s already the beast. He was already a world renowned wrestler before Heyman arrived, so at least he had one part down. Cutting promos are a whole other story….
If Roman is given a manager, fans will notice and they’ll never forget. Roman would be remembered as the guy who couldn’t cut a promo on his own.
Promos are worth giving a shot, even if Roman ends up looking like Scott Steiner.
Reigns doesn’t need to become CM Punk or Paul Heyman.
He needs to be himself. He needs to prove the doubters wrong.