WWE Keeps Failing Roman

Corbin Macklin

Credit: WWE.com

I have been biting my tongue on the story of WWE erasing Roman on their television for a while now. As a resident of The Roman Empire, I had so many complex reactions to Roman pulling out of his match at Mania. To this day, I am mad Miz showed up to the tapings sick which set the sequence of events into motion. I felt a twinge of selfish, entitled anger towards Roman because the fanatic in me prioritizes watching him over his wellbeing and wishes of his loved ones. I got over that quickly. Then, between the news hitting the internet that Roman pulled out and the go home SmackDown before Mania, I hated how WWE was still promoting Roman v Goldberg until that show and they did not tell the truth. I chalk all of this up as yet another failure of how WWE handles Roman.

I was recently listening to a clip of Jim Cornette's podcast where someone asked if Bret Hart is bitter. I think a lot of fans would say that their perception of Bret is that, due to the Montreal Screwjob, the shitty creative in WCW that did not take advantage of how that made him the hottest babyface in the industry, and how he constantly talks about Goldberg ending his career. I, for one, do not think Bret is bitter, he just talks a lot about the bad things that happened during his career a lot because interviewers always lay on those buttons. Dude. Imagine Roman Reigns' post career shoot interview. Or if he should leave WWE to work in another promotion and go on Talk is Jericho like pretty much everyone has.

The thing I always think is funny about fans turning on Roman, whenever I think on it, is how obvious WWE made their plans for him. Roman was the one who delivered the triple powerbomb. He was spearing people through barricades. His was the last face you saw and last voice you heard in Shield promos. When they would work top guys like CM Punk as singles, the other two lost and Roman won. At Mania 29, Ambrose and Rollins stood together while Roman stood on his own. Everything about The Shield presentation screamed he was the chosen one. And then there was the first fuck up.

When WWE broke up The Shield by having Rollins work out his former brethren with a chair, the one who would be the first to seek revenge would be the hottest babyface in the company. And they gave that to Ambrose. Roman had a meh program with Randy Orton before getting hurt. An argument can be made Roman should have been the one to turn, and this is fortuitous for me to bring up now from a narrative standpoint. The more wrestling echoes reality, the better it gets over because the fans are more willing to believe the work is a shoot. Roman once said Brock is Vince's boy and fans hated that because everyone knows WWE built Brock to feed him to Roman. While the argument can be made that Rollins needed to do the turn to help legitimize him and armor him as a believable main eventer, I know that it would have been 1000000×'s as effective to have Roman be the one. Either way you went with that story, Roman needed to be centered if you wanted people to perceive him as a top star. Because what LITERALLY happened was they had him win the Rumble and main event Mania with NO momentum, no top storylines or angles. Nothing. They gave the people all the ammo they need to say the babyface push was forced.

Speaking of forced, one of the most annoying things WWE has brainwashed marks into believing is that to be a top superstar, you need to be able to cut the 20 minute monologue promo. Reality is, all of that talking is most of why YOU think the product is trash because no one watches wrestling to see mostly talking. But that is what they give us. When The Shield was together, they didn't have Roman deliver more than one or two lines and the obligatory "Believe in The Shield" at the end. This would create a discontinuity in his presentation when they forced him to make all those cartoon and comic book references. Wrestling was forced to change in the 90s with the culture. We no longer accept the smiling babyface. We don't want some pervert trying to kiss our babies. So, forcing comedy and dramatic narratives in his promos went over poorly. We don't care who does Make A Wish or comes out to cut the corporate Susan G. Komen or Connor's Cure promos. Really? All we want or need in a promo is some intensity and passion espousing a strong desire to thrash the opps.

Imagine your job threw a big party to celebrate you and your greatness. You invited your family to come see it. Your family travels from far and wide, all expecting to see you be rewarded for your talent and all you have done for the company. And then, the party that was meant for you is in honor of someone else. That... Is literally what WWE did to Roman at Mania 31. "I can. I will. Believe that." And... Nope. Imagine you had to wait nearly a year later for your big coronation and then they had you give it to someone else 5 minutes later and made t-shirts to mark the occasion. That was the next Survivor Series. Then they honor you again and come up with a tagline for what you have come to stand for and represent in the company. Something about the excellence of your individual talent in a team based environment. Then they have people team up against you, but that wasn't what caused your downfall. They cause you to fail due to the superiority of another individual. That would be the "One Against All" edition of the Royal Rumble. So then another big event is thrown where yeah, they crowned your ass... But because you are who they thought you were, you have now been to the mountaintop three times for roughly three months combined before they pushed you right back down. The next year, they tell you they're giving you the spot of the most respected veteran in the company because they're retiring. Aaaaaaaaand then they bring him back the next year because you never happened. And you don't matter. But, it's your yard now. And for good measure, that next year, minuswhale lose AGAIN to the same guy that you were supposed to supplant four years ago. They be doing The Big Dog DIRTY.

WWE kept Roman out of the main event picture entirely for the last year. Which was just enough time for Bray Wyatt to become the biggest draw in wrastling despite the poor quality of his matches. I love Bray Wyatt, I take nothing away from his ability to cut a promo and get a character over. His matches are trash. So, there is a new popular character that people would rather see have the championship over Roman. Then Goldberg went into business for himself and got the finish changed so he would beat Bray (allegedly but I doubt it was that and MORE WWE made the match and saw Roman v Goldberg > Roman v Bray) and here we are, back to the present day mishandling of Roman. Rumor has it that WWE didn't announce they were changing the match because they were hoping they could coax Roman into taping the match. Fan favorite exec Paul Levesque lied and said that there was gonna be this great story we have to watch play out. There was no story. They have literally avoided saying "Roman Reigns" on their TV and edited him out of video packages. They just announced Braun Strowman was in the match with Goldberg and no explanation as to how or why.

A popular theory on the internet is that WWE doesn't want us to think about how if the rona is dangerous for Roman, maybe it's also reckless endangerment for them to have people socially wrasslin for our entertainment. One of the unfortunate realities of life is money over people. They fired and furloughed many employees to save a few million while letting us know they have access to hundreds of millions. I don't care to dive deeper into that. What I am here to point out is, once again, reality is much more potent than any fiction. IF WWE really cared about making Roman any kind of top babyface they'd make the most heroic video packages about his career thus far and how he didn't make it in the NFL because they didn't want to take a chance with his cancer but WWE took the risk. Once this situation is cleared up, Roman is going to get the next PPV main event to contend for the title.

What they are doing is wasting that opportunity.