Roman Reigns is currently thriving on WWE SmackDown as a heel Superstar. Although Vince McMahon eventually pulled the trigger on a Reigns heel turn, former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz revealed that the chairman was initially reluctant because he believed Reigns was the next John Cena - the face of the company.
After going on a hiatus for several months, Roman Reigns finally made his return at WWE SummerSlam with a new character. He went on to recapture the Universal Championship shortly after by defeating Braun Strowman and The Fiend at Payback.
During his recent interaction on The Masked Man Show, ex-WWE writer Brian Gewirtz spoke about Vince McMahon's mindset regarding Roman Reigns playing a bad guy on TV.
"When it came to Roman [Reigns], the model was John [Cena], right? Because there were plenty of times when the writers would come in and be like, ‘Can we just turn John heel?’ With the, ‘Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks. Can we do it? Can we pull the trigger?’ And it was something Vince [McMahon] never wanted to do.
"I think the problem was I think he took that approach with Roman as well. I think it was the, ‘Don’t listen to people, trust your gut, Roman’s a babyface, he’s the new face of the company. At some point, obviously that mindset of, ‘We gotta keep Roman babyface, we gotta keep John Cena babyface’ shifted and in this particular case, it’s like similar to when [Hulk] Hogan turned heel in WCW." (H/T Post Wrestling)
Brian Gewirtz added that since Vince McMahon didn’t listen to the creative team when they wanted John Cena to turn heel and the 16-time world champion still became a huge star, the chairman of the board decided to keep the same mindset towards Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns has always wanted to be a heel
Despite playing a babyface for most of his career, Roman Reigns stated in an interview that he always wanted to turn heel. He was 100% correct, because his run as the Tribal Chief and his alliance with Paul Heyman has been magnificent.
With WrestleMania 37 only several weeks away, it's left to be seen who the Universal Champion will collide with for the title.