The current situation for Roman Reigns in World Wrestling Entertainment is a unique one. Reigns has been booked as WWE’s biggest face or “top guy” that has headlined the last four WrestleManias, which is something only he and Hulk Hogan have done. However, if you watch WWE TV regularly then you can hear the boos from the fans that are tired of seeing Reigns in that spot as the next Hogan, Austin, Rock or Cena. They don’t want to cheer him. They want to boo him because they are tired of him and booing him is the cool thing to do as well.
Does that mean that Reigns is a bad performer? I don’t think so. I just think it’s time to turn him heel. I’m not the only one that thinks it. I’m sure many of you reading this think it too. The WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin thinks it as well.
Here’s what Austin said on a recent episode of his podcast on Podcast One:
“So what do you do with Roman Reigns at this point? For him to have the biggest run…you’ve got to turn him heel and he’s got to perform and let loose. He needs to be aggressive and go out there ‘this is what you wanted, this is what you get…I don’t need your damn support.’ He needs to bring a mean streak and go on a total heel run.”
“I think Roman needs to be a heel. Go through that journey and then evolve into a babyface. To me, it’s almost going to mirror what the Rock did. [WWE] brought him in as a white meat baby. People hated him and they wanted to hate him. And then, all of a sudden, the Rock started taking over the Nation of Domination. He was the alpha male in that group. All of a sudden, the promo skills come alive. The character comes alive. The personality comes alive and he turned into the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Now, I don’t expect Roman Reigns to do that. I expect Roman Reigns to be Roman Reigns, but that’s the road that the Rock went down. I just think, organically, that’s the way it’s going to play out for Roman Reigns. Now, you can try to put him in that babyface spot, that number one spot, right now to see what happens and I’ll be very, very interested to see, if indeed, that’s what they do because I’m just waiting on the edge of my seat to see what happens.”
Reigns was interviewed by The Express this week and was asked about Austin’s suggestion that Reigns should turn heel:
“I think everybody has their opinions. Like ice cream, everybody has their flavor, everybody has their opinion. It’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. He definitely knows the area and the territory that I’m in. He knows what it’s like to pull the trigger and be a workhorse. So I think there’s definitely a lot of truth in what he has to say and I value his opinion. Is it going to happen? I can’t guarantee that. It’s one of those situations where you kind of got to take it week by week and just understand the role. I definitely think there is a lot of great truth to what he’s thinking and his knowledge in the game. But Stone Cold is not my boss.”
When Reigns was specifically asked if he would like to turn heel, here’s how he responded.
“Would I like to turn heel? I don’t know. It’s a weird question cause, aren’t I already a heel? If I garnered that reaction, what’s the point? If it’s already happening, if I’m already being booed, why try and get booed?
“I think right now I’m in a cool situation and kind of a little bit different than anybody because the only person that’s really been in my shoes before is (John) Cena. But Cena is Cena, you know. I’m nothing like him, I’ve never been like him. I think I’m in a good place to kind of do whatever I want to do with this character and not necessarily just be a heel or be a babyface. I feel like my character can be so much more than that.”
TJR Thoughts: I have been saying Reigns should turn heel for most of the last year. The face run isn’t working and putting him in a match with Jinder Mahal at Money in the Bank is going to lead to boos from fans that have no interest in seeing that match. Austin’s comments followed Backlash when the fans absolutely shit all over Roman’s match with Samoa Joe because they are tired of Reigns. This followed WrestleMania where those fans hated Reigns as well.
Another reason to do it is that WWE has some good faces for Reigns to feud with if he were to go heel. Raw has Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor as top faces. Bobby Lashley could be another guy if he gets over more. Guys like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens could become faces. On the Smackdown side, with the likes of AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy, they have some valuable faces as well. There’s no better time than now.
Will some younger fans be disappointed by it? Maybe so, but kids are smarter than we think and they will gravitate to another wrestler that they like. If Reigns were to turn heel for a year or two, he’ll be a much bigger face when he turns back. He’s still in his early 30s, so he has a long career ahead of him. That’s why this year is the right time to do it.