The Final Straw
With Wrestlemania just around the corner, the spotlight is thrust on the WWE Championship match which features Roman Reigns challenging Triple H for the biggest prize in the wrestling industry. The buzz surrounding this match is that no one really cares about it and Roman Reigns is looked at as the next coming of John Cena; another wrestler pushed to the top of the company against the fans wishes. The fact of the matter is that WWE’s fans nowadays are so fickle, not knowing what they want or who they want to reach the top of the WWE mountain. This has led to the WWE making questionable choices and the fans turning on every decision that was made.
The ascent of Roman Reigns to the top of the card was a fairly smooth process in the beginning. Debuting with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as a member of the Shield, Roman Reigns seemed to be the “cleaner” of the group, the powerhouse who takes a match over when needed. Dean Ambrose looked like the breakout singles star of the group as he was given a United States title run while Rollins and Reigns became WWE World Tag Team Champions. Then a funny thing started to happen. Roman Reigns began to get over. Contrary to the belief of a lot of the IWC members, or “Marks” as I will continue to refer to them as, Roman began to get over organically, as he introduced new moves into his repertoire like the Superman Punch and the Drive By. Slowly, Reigns began to gain momentum and the WWE noticed this. Reigns became the focal point of the Shield at that point. He eliminated 4 men from a traditional Survivor Series match, tying a WWE record and eliminated 12 men from the Royal Rumble match, setting a new record. Reigns was one of the final 2 participants in the Royal Rumble match that year, only to be defeated by Batista. From there on, Reigns was a house of fire. The Shield imploded and Seth Rollins enjoyed early success as he nabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase. Ambrose went on the have outstanding feuds with guys like Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Reigns enjoyed success against Randy Orton before an injury prevented him from taking on Seth Rollins. Reigns returned with his eye on the prize and became a top contender for the WWE Championship.
Now here lies the problem. The problem can be brought back to the problem the WWE had with John Cena’s inaugural WWE title run. Cena was one of the most “over” performers in the company at the start of his first title run. However, when the WWE had Cena defeat fan favorites like Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Triple H and Shawn Michaels to solidify his spot as the new top guy in the WWE, Cena began to lose support. Fans wanted to see Cena defeat JBL because he was such a great heel. People didn’t want to see Cena defeat Angle and Jericho because fans felt that they still deserved another title run. Triple H and Shawn Michaels are two of the top wrestlers of all time and have expansive fan bases. All of a sudden, Cena was being booed all the time. As much damage control as the WWE tried to do with Cena’s character, nothing helped. Cena’s charm was being a badass who rapped, not a soldier who hugged children and defeated all of the fans heroes. So the fans booed. And here we are, over 10 years later and all of the labels about Cena have been peeled off, well except one. He expanded his move-set, put over talent like Daniel Bryan, Edge, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins, and took a step back from the main event picture. Cena has virtually done everything that the “Marks” have wanted him to do except turn Heel, yet he still is being booed.
Roman Reigns is in a similar situation. Reigns was insanely popular and gained a lot of momentum. Unfortunately for Reigns, at the same time as he was ascending up the ladder in WWE, Daniel Bryan was the most popular wrestler in the world. The YES! Movement was in full affect and anyone who got in its way was trampled by the fans. The top casualty was Roman Reigns. Just as the Cena haters came up with different reasons to hate him (He never loses, he doesn’t put guys over, 5 moves of Doom), Reigns haters did the same (He has no mic skills, he can’t wrestle, he’s just a failed football player that the WWE saw and liked his look and his Samoan heritage). The fact is that the reason why fans now hate Reigns is because he isn’t Daniel Bryan. Reigns has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years. His mic skills, while still being hovering around average, have greatly improved. His matches are entertaining. So why do the fans keep booing him?
Here’s the real reason this blog was written. WWE fans, especially the “Marks” on the internet and who go to shows. Reigns recently did an interview and said he doesn’t care about the 20-40 year old fans who boo him because the WWE is a family show and he is concentrating on getting the support of the families who tune into the programming. He went on to say that maybe these fans who scream, curse and flip him off at shows should be more mindful and respectful to the kids who are at the shows. I agree with Roman in that the WWE is concentrating on families because those kids will turn into life-long WWE supporters. The 20-40 year old demographic are already in the palm of the WWE’s hand. They have the network, they’ve been watching since they were kids and they won’t stop. And even if they do, something big will happen and they’ll most likely be back. But their opinion is different than Roman’s. The feeling is that if you buy a ticket to a WWE show, you can boo or cheer anyone you want. This is something I agree to, to an extent. While you can boo or cheer anyone you want, you should be mindful of your surroundings. I, for one, was a “Mark” for a large portion of my life. However, when I went to shows, I minded my mouth when I was around kids. It’s called respect. It didn’t stop me from booing John Cena and Rey Mysterio.
Nowadays, wrestling fans go about everything the exact opposite way that they should. Instead of judging a character and making a decision by themselves, when a popular wrestler is being booed, they join in. This is mostly done to hijack the show and take the focus off of the wrestler and make the crowd the star. This is dumb. No one is paying money to hear you cheer or make up dumb chants. Does it add to the show? Yes. 100%. Absolutely. Would I pay money to watch a show or sit in a crowd and listen to them chant stuff for 3 hours? No. The other part that bothers me is why are you wasting time booing Reigns when you could spend that time cheering for the guys you like? Oh, that’s what you do, right? So how come after all the posts I’ve seen online recently about “Cody is being wasted as Stardust”, “Ziggler should be champion”, “I would pay the price of a Wrestlemania ticket to see Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in the same ring on the main roster”, the Brooklyn crowd chose once again to hijack the show and ignore these men.? Instead of chanting for JBL and Byron Saxon and CM Punk to put yourself over, chant for Zayn, or Ziggler, or Owens, Stardust, Miz or Sin Cara. Or instead of chanting “Goldberg” at Ryback, add to the moment he and Kalisto were trying to create by just cheering. We get it. Ryback looks like Goldberg. That was funny 2 years ago. Enough with it. And while I’m on the subject of enough, enough with the “What” chants. It was awesome when Stone Cold did it. Because he made his promo’s interactive by doing so. The “What” chant is by far the most annoying thing on WWE programming. Worse than the booking, matches and decisions that are made for the show combined. Please, stop it, it’s not funny, it’s annoying.
And another thing, I saw a great comment on a post about Roman Reigns. I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of it was that Triple H could hit all of our mothers with steel chairs and Reigns could come out to stop him and still get booed. That sums up the way I feel. After he dove over the ropes and took out half the roster to end RAW, the fans didn’t cheer. They chanted “You still suck”. That’s the most telling aspect of this whole scenario. That no matter what he does, Reigns will still be booed. And for that, WWE fans, I think that you still suck.