5 Reasons why Roman Reigns' run has failed in WWE

Roman Reigns 
Tom Clark

Roman Reigns was supposed to be the guy. It’s not only his catchphrase; it’s also a commonly held belief among every WWE fan that’s followed the product over the past year. Love him or hate him, there is no denying the superhuman effort that’s been made to get him over as the new face of the company.

But somewhere along the way, it all seems to have fallen apart. Now, Dean Ambrose is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and Roman is on the outside looking in. The question is, how did this happen? Where did it all go wrong?

Roman’s critics are quick to criticize the man himself, and that’s to be expected. It seems that many fans just want to see some guys fall, and that has perhaps never been truer than in Reigns’ case.

He just wasn’t what they wanted, and they never had a problem letting everyone know it.

Social media may have been mixed at times, but it was the live crowds that made their voices heard. The boos that rained down every time Roman was on camera were undeniable, and all of that hate was not due to Roman’s bad booking. They blamed him, obviously.

But there are many factors that contributed to Roman’s situation right now, and he is not the only one at fault here. While it’s clear that WWE is still committed to booking him as a main event talent, it’s also clear that the many bumps in the road have brought him to a full stop.

It’s not over for him, but before he continues, WWE must examine why it all went south. With any luck, the same mistakes will not be repeated moving forward. Understanding the factors that led to this point is half the battle and it must begin now.

#5 Perceived lack of talent

Roman has improved in the ring, but many fans don't care

“You can’t wrestle.” That chant was reserved for John Cena, Batista, and a few select others at one time. But when it was directed at Roman in arenas around the country, it immediately became obvious to everyone that something was wrong.

However, it did not seem to be all that obvious to WWE itself. Rather than address the issue by pairing Reigns with true ring technicians that could elevate and improve his game, the former Shield strongman was instead booked against Big Show and Kane.

While the matches themselves usually resulted in some smash mouth brawls, that’s really all they were. Reigns made no real improvements in the ring, and suddenly his immaturity began to show. Rather than understand his situation and give him a chance, fans chose to blame him instead.

But the fact is he has gotten much better. The man that lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank is not the same man that faced Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. Roman is confident, he’s comfortable in the ring, and more importantly, he’s now battle tested.

Despite how good he is now, to fans, it has made little to no difference. Even working with AJ Styles didn’t elevate Roman in the eyes of fans that believe he was carried through the entire feud. With this much criticism leveled at his ring work, how can Roman ever hope to sway popular opinion?

#4 Inconsistent mic work

Roman may never be in Triple H’s league when it comes to mic work

Professional wrestling is one part ring work and one part mic work. Fans believe Roman can’t work, and they also believe that he can’t talk. While he’s improved with the former, he’s still very far behind with the latter.

This should have been the biggest concern for WWE. Roman could always be booked against better talent that could help him in the ring, but no one is capable of bailing him out on the mic. That part is up to him; of course, it’s also up to the writers putting the words into his mouth.

Assuming Roman is being handed lines, it must have been obvious to someone very early on that it just wasn’t working. A guy needs to be himself when he speaks, he needs to feel what he’s saying, or otherwise, he’s just wasting his time. No one is going to feel the emotion he’s trying to convey if he doesn’t feel it himself.

If he ever has been given some room to breathe when it comes to promos, then fans likely cannot tell the difference. He’s just too calm, too detached from the moment, and at this point, it’s really impossible to know if he can actually connect in any meaningful way.

Roman should be a killer. He should be seething with intensity, and he should be ready to destroy anyone that gets in his way. Instead, fans get a smiling big man that’s soft around the edges. He talks too much, and when he talks, he just cannot connect. This is not getting any better.

#3 He’s not Dean Ambrose

They may be brothers, but Dean is far ahead of Roman to fans

WWE wants Roman to be over as much as Dean is. It’s a goal that was evidently set back when The Shield turned babyface, and it was one that WWE kept in it sights as the group disbanded. But that goal became cloudier as the months went on, and now it’s barely visible.

Dean is a problem for Roman; because he’s just so popular. It’s not a problem for WWE, of course; the belt is around the waist of a guy that can draw fans, and hopefully, draw big money. The company made the right move with Ambrose.

But for Roman, this was perhaps not the plan. It’s unknown if putting the belt on Dean was due to Roman’s increasingly poor reception, but now it just feels like a much better situation for everyone involved. That’s because Dean is so widely accepted, fans love Seth as well, and they don’t want to see Roman with the belt.

Roman could pin every heel in the company, and it wouldn’t make a difference. He could tag with a returning Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels and The Rock, but the end result will be the same.

All Dean has to do is smile at the crowd, and he’s won them over. This is surely what WWE wanted for Roman, but that just isn’t reality. It’s easy for Dean, and it will probably always be hard for Roman.

WWE did the right thing by keeping Ambrose babyface, but how long until his popularity is sacrificed in order to give Roman yet another shot of adrenaline? How long until WWE attempts to transform Roman into Ambrose version two?

#2 Fans don’t want him

Roman seems to have it, but fans don’t want it

For all of his weak promos, and for all of his matches in which he looked less than stellar, Roman has actually done a lot of things right. He’s loyal to his friends, he’s always fought hard despite how much everyone’s hated on him, and he’s never lost sight of what’s important to him.

He’s the babyface that should be over, but he’s not. The fact is that fans just don’t want him. No matter what he does, nothing changes and it looks as though it never will. Even if he came out, cut a promo like Dusty Rhodes and worked a match like Daniel Bryan, he still would not be able to get over.

Fans feel like he’s been shoved down their throats, and that’s always been the case. The truth is a budding main event Superstar needs time on camera, and time to fully connect with the live crowd.

Of course, the top guy will always get the most attention, and everyone knows that. Everyone knows how the game is played.

But Roman has never been cut any slack. His presence has never been a welcome one, and fans turn on him every time he’s on TV. They believe he gets far too much consideration, and they feel that he doesn’t deserve an ounce of it.

They look at Roman and see a hard sell, someone that hasn’t earned anything he’s ever been given in the business.

They see someone they don’t want. This perception may never change, and if that is indeed the case, then Roman will never be able to truly get over. Fans made their decision about him a long time ago, and they are just not willing to change their minds now.

#1 He’s not real

Fans don’t see a good guy when they look at Roman; they see a logo

This is the trickiest part of Roman’s situation and the one that is the hardest to fix. Not wanting him is bad enough, but when fans can see through him to this extreme, then all bets are off. Reigns is in big trouble here.

Roman is just not real. Even if he’s not allowed to be himself in promos, and even if he’s forced to read someone else’s words, none of that matters because the fans don’t feel him as a person. They see a phony persona begging for their acceptance, and they’re not buying it.

This is not to suggest that Roman is a shallow figure that doesn’t want to be the best as he claims, but there’s just something about him. Reigns just doesn’t seem like the hard working, regular guy with good intentions.

He seems like the entitled second generation star that believes he deserves the spot he has. He says he has heart, and WWE constantly reminds everyone of that, but no one seems to really believe it.

Maybe it’s the combination of so many bad promos, and so many bad booking moves, but at his core, Roman is just not believable.

His mic work can improve. His booking can get better. What if fans don’t trust him, and see through him like right now? Then he does not stand a chance. Reigns is not The Guy; he’s a guy trying to convince everyone of it.

The problem is no one believes him; they probably never will.

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here

Edited by Staff Editor
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