To call Roman Reigns polarising would be to sugarcoat things. While he is popular among the younger demographic and a good part of the female demographic, the vocal majority boo him and continue to reject him. There is the common notion among the fans that The Big Dog should turn heel, a role many believe he will thrive.
However, WWE seems to insist on keeping him a babyface. This year, after his suspension in June, he was pushed down to the mid card, where he won the United States Champion from Rusev. Despite getting somewhat favourable reactions from time to time, fans still boo him, more due to the fact that they simply like to boo him.
However, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has another theory as to what is not working with Roman Reigns – his selling.
Meltzer said on the Wrestling Observer Radio that Reigns has “ineffective selling”. He said that mechanically, Reigns is doing everything to sell like a babyface, but the crowd doesn’t buy it. He says that this is partially because the fans simply don’t sympathise with him.
He said that it’s also because of how protected Reigns is; fans simply don’t buy into him getting fully hurt the whole match.
According to Meltzer, Reigns isn’t the only one who has faced this problem. He said that NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Goldberg also have the same problem, where fans simply don’t buy into them getting hurt, and that it even makes the match seem bogus.
Nevertheless, Goldberg and Asuka are both extremely over with the fans, who enjoy cheering for them yet find believability in their characters. Part of that is also the fact that they don’t really speak too much.
Reigns, on the other hand, was positioned as the successor to Cena’s throne, and this meant being a clear-cut babyface who would crack jokes, doing Make-a-Wish, doing media for the company, and more.
However, fans have rejected Roman Reigns since the beginning of January 2015, and continue to reject him even though he currently does not hold a top spot.
On Raw Talk yesterday, Reigns called out Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho and believed that he was in a position to challenge Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship. It will be interesting to see when WWE decide to pull the trigger on Reigns again and shoot him to the main event scene.
Meltzer himself said that Reigns is expected to be back in the Universal Championship picture by Royal Rumble.