What’s the story?
In a recent interview, WWE superstar Sasha Banks named Roman Reigns amongst her current favourite male wrestlers. Iwnerd.com reports that she gave her answer after being questioned by a journalist in Australia, where Sasha has been making numerous media appearances for the company over the past couple of days.
Sasha then commented on the well-publicised heat Roman gets from the WWE universe, arguing that guys, in particular, who do not like Reigns are ‘jealous’ of him.
In case you didn’t know...
Since being earmarked as the next top star in WWE, Roman Reigns has suffered from some less than desirable fan reactions over the last couple of years. While the man himself is often portrayed as a pleasant family man, the Reigns character has always felt underdeveloped and generally ill-prepared to lead the company going forward.
Despite the majority of fans having doubts about him, the WWE machine continues to push the Big Dog as the next big thing to come out of Vince McMahon’s imagination since John Cena. It is therefore unclear whether Sasha’s comments were her own, or whether she felt the need to mention Reigns in her answer to keep her bosses happy.
The heart of the matter
Sasha was vocal in her support of the Big Dog and had this to say, “I love Roman Reigns. Whether you guys love him, boo him, hate him – I think all the guys are jealous of him. He is an incredible athlete. He’s one to watch. He does it and kills it every single week.”
Roman Reigns is not without his fans. In fact, he has slowly been building up a dedicated following for himself over the past few months, getting involved in big time rivalries with Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker. One thing Reigns clearly has going for him is his looks. He is an incredibly marketable and appeals to a large section of the female viewing audience in particular.
The defenders of Reigns have always suggested the idea that the male members of the WWE Universe dislike the Big Dog because of a deep seated jealousy towards him. This is perhaps why Sasha’s comments feel so incendiary to some.
It’s always a positive when a fellow wrestler talks about you in such high esteem. Reigns, along with Cesaro and AJ Styles, the other two superstars mentioned by Banks, will be able to utilise this going forward, claiming to be the very best the company as to offer.
There is unlikely to be any repercussions for Banks, except maybe a few angry tweets coming to her from her male followers. Vince, on the other hand, will be happy for her comments to be shared far and wide, as it fits in nicely with the narrative he is trying so desperately to push.
It’s perhaps pointless to be angry at somebody when they are simply voicing their opinions, but it does appear as though Sasha’s comments might have been deliberately provocative. Claiming that people are jealous of Reigns is something you'd expect a heel character to say, not somebody who is trying to endear herself to the entire WWE Universe.
Also, claiming that Reigns is one of the best 'wrestlers' as opposed to 'superstars' carries its own connotations. Reigns might have improved his skills somewhat over recent months, but he cannot be considered in the same league as Cesaro and AJ Styles, and I don't think people who agree with that can be accused of anything other than having a good eye for wrestling ability.