Can Roman Reigns do a Rocky Maivia?
Remember the last time the WWE fans were contended with the booking of the WWE? Or the last occasion when a fan favorite was given the ball to run with without the fans’ intervention? Is it just the fans who’re hard to please, or is it the WWE that more often than not seems to miss the plot? In Vince McMahon’s own words, the fans don’t know what they want, and it is up to the WWE to show the fans what they want or need. And it is this mentality that has landed WWE in hot soup in the past few years.
Last year, the WWE Universe unequivocally chose Daniel Bryan as the next breakout star, similar to the Austins and Hogans. But the WWE brass went ahead with Batista, handing him the main event spot on a silver platter at WrestleMania. The next few months saw the WWE fans turn on the company, which forced the WWE to put Daniel Bryan in the main event of WrestleMania, and give him the WWE World Heavyweight title. With Bryan returning in time for Rumble this year, the fans wanted the former champion to win the Rumble, and once again headline WrestleMania. Unfortunately, the WWE brass once again had other ideas.
After Reigns won the Rumble match, he was met with a chorus of boos and not even The Rock could salvage a decent reaction for his cousin. Social media blew up with unhappy fans all over the globe complaining about Roman’s credentials to headline WrestleMania, or the lack of, and were angry about Bryan not winning the Rumble match. “Cancel WWE Network” was trending worldwide, as WWE went into damage control, coming out with the news that they had hit one million subscribers for the WWE Network post Royal Rumble.
There is no doubt about the fact that the one person who will bear the brunt of the fans more than anyone else is Roman Reigns. In the coming months, he will face the fans’ wrath and ridicule, much like Batista did last year, for a mistake the officials made. His story is eerily similar to The Rock’s when he made his debut in the WWE, and so now we ask: Can Roman Reigns do a Rocky Maivia?
“Die, Rocky, die”
When Rocky made his debut, he was the cheerful, happy – go – lucky generic babyface that the fans grew tired of. With Vince McMahon still wanting to feed the fans what he thought was good for business, the fans lashed out at Rocky, and vented their anger and frustration. For the first time, the fans started booing the babyface, as the company officials did not know what to do. The fans started bringing signs and chanting “Die, Rocky, die” in the arenas.
With the management and Rocky himself quickly realizing that something had to be done to curb the “Rocky Sucks” chant, or give the fans a legitimate reason to do so, while making Rocky “look strong” (no pun intended). Instead of a smiling, hand slapping babyface, they turned him heel as he joined the Nation of Domination. Rocky Maivia was no more, and it was the birth of The Rock as we know him.
The birth of The Rock
After The Rock aligned with N.O.D, he was onto greener pastures, once again capturing the prestigious WWE Intercontinental title and feuding with Triple H, most notably in a ladder match for the coveted title. Rock then became the then WWF champion, and was involved in one of the greatest feuds in the history of the company with Steve Austin. He headlined WrestleManias, and became one of the greatest superstars in the history of the company.
If The Rock had never turned heel, we wouldn’t have witnessed the rise of Dwayne Johnson. He then crossed over to Hollywood, becoming one of the biggest box office draws in the world! Had WWE not taken a chance with him when his stock fell in the company, none of this would have happened. The question now remains: Will WWE do the same with Roman Reigns?
What should the WWE do to restore Roman’s reputation?
The biggest complaint that the fans have is the fact that Roman is mediocre on the mic. With Dean Ambrose doing most of the talking during the days of The Shield, Roman’s weaknesses weren’t exposed. With Roman now being on his own, he is in dire need of a manager as a mouth piece. Also, we haven’t seen any drastic improvement in Roman’s in – ring skills, although that would be of the least concern for Vince McMahon and the WWE management.
One of the scenarios that the WWE can gamble with, if the crowd continues to jeer Roman is to turn him heel. Similar to The Rock, make him acknowledge the hate, and not be the second John Cena. Most of the fans are already drawing similarities between both the superstars, and it would do more harm than good to Roman’s career if it continues.
All we can do now is wait and see how Vince McMahon reacts to this backlash, and he can only hope that Roman doesn’t go through what Rocky Maivia did nearly two decades ago.