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Accepting Roman Reigns

Life hasn’t been easy for a vocal section of the WWE audience. They don’t like Roman Reigns and resent him being at the top of the card.


Life hasn’t been easy for a vocal section of the WWE audience. They don’t like Roman Reigns and resent him being at the top of the card. They don’t like him being presented as the hero of the promotion or being champion. But after nearly 2 years of battling the “smart fans” and the loud disapproval of the crowd Roman Reigns is starting to turn the tide, with me anyway. How? Well a lot of it has to do with the change of character that has since come WrestleMania. Roman has moved away from cleancut, John Cena style babyface they had tried to push him as and into more of a tweener role. His catchphrase may be a bit mealy mouthed but it is exactly right. He is no longer a good guy, he’s definitely not a bad guy and he most definitely is THE guy. And honestly, that’s ok. Roman Reigns isn’t nearly as bad as he used to be, and that goes for all aspects of his performance. Sure, he’s not The Rock or Stone Cold on the mic and he can’t sell like Shawn Michaels but he’s become more believable in those aspects of his performance. He’s added a few things cool things to his moveset, like the Razor’s Edge Bomb he hit on AJ Styles at Extreme Rules – the “You still suck!” chant he got was implicit admittance from the crowd that they enjoyed that moment. His recent feud with AJ Styles has been great. Their long, drawn out battle at Payback was the match of the night, and at Extreme Rules they nearly equalled it. His detractors will say that match was all AJ Styles, but it takes two to tango and Reigns has put together a string of quality matches now from last year against Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt to even his WrestleMania main event with Triple H. After a while you just have to admit that the guy can have a good match. He’s not putting on 5* classics but very few people are in WWE, what he is doing is putting on main event quality performances. The reluctance to get behind Reigns from the smarter elements of the fan base has been understandable. Reigns was slingshotted to the top without really having much work behind him. The performances of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and yes even John Cena over the last 2 years would merit the “this is our guy” treatment from Vince McMahon, Reigns had the good looks and the family heritage though. But he has built on that and learnt his trade. He is far from the best wrestler in the company, and never will be with guys like Rollins, Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura on the books but he is now a quality talent. He is a believable badass whose best work comes when he is given a legitimate dislike of someone and allowed to go and beat them the hell up. Personally I’m still not a fan of his and won’t be buying a t-shirt any time soon. Roman doesn’t grab my interest in the way that Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose do. His personality and mannerisms make him tough to get behind, especially with natural babyfaces like Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch around, but while he hasn’t won my fandom he has certainly won my acceptance, and my respect.


Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

Accepting Roman Reigns

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