Make Reigns the John Cena Champion

Hey Scott,

After watching Payback, I started thinking about Reigns. I know it's just a matter of time before he's champ because WWE are waiting for the crowds to accept him. But, if John Cena has taught us anything, it's that the Smark contingent will change it's mind about a wrestler. Once you're a heel/face, in their eyes, it doesn't matter how well you're work or how well you're booked, you'll always be their first impression of you. So by that logic, Reigns will never be "ready."

But, if all that is true, why the heck does Reigns even need the title? Why not just make whatever match he's in the main event, regardless of what's at stake. In other words, make him the John Cena Champion. You could even christen this new era by having him beat Cena in a main event, while Rollins fight whomever. As you said, the title is not the title. As an added benefit, if Smarks start seeing Reigns fighting, and winning, in the main event enough, they might even became resigned the fact that, ehhh, who cares. Might as well make him champion. At this point, that's the best you can hope for, I think, with Reigns.

​I suppose they could always build up to him finally being the guy to win the John Cena Open Challenge, too.  But yes, in general if you start treating a guy like a main eventer, eventually fans will accept him as a main eventer.  Sometimes you just have to do it like HHH in 2000 and completely sacrifice a guy to get there, but it’s generally do-able.  It’s still a problem that Reigns is getting title shots and not winning, but at least fan support for him is becoming a tad more organic now without Bryan around. ​

Roman Reigns unexplained hate….

Hey Scott, quick question….

Can you explain my extreme hatred for Roman Reigns? I mean I really liked him in the shield and I even liked when he started his singles run but since the Royal Rumble, I HATE the guy. I mean I do not even want to see him on my tv HATE the guy. Is it because I am pissed that Daniel Bryan got pushed to the undercard so swiftly…I am also a Dean Ambrose fan so I am so confused how they cannot hear the support for him even after all the horrible months of booking….

I loved Roman's Wrestlemania match because it featured two things: he got destroyed for most of the match and he lost at the end!
I did throw out an audible groan when he survived 3 freaking F5s but the Undertaker could not the year before. 

What do you think? How can I get over this? Because I am thinking about leaving the product and the Network for good since the new shows are gonna suck…

Thanks!

​Yeah, but kicking out of 3 F5s after the Undertaker couldn't is intended to build him up as a badass main event guy.  So that was deliberate and I didn't mind it.  In fact, as I've said all along, I have NO PROBLEM with Reigns and I had no problem with Reigns as the top guy.  As long as there was a good story to get him there and he was ready. Which there wasn't, and he wasn't.  They had a story in place since March 2014 and they just didn't bother to tell it until March 2015.  Sorry, guys, but you can't make a new main guy with that kind of lazy buildup.  
As to how you can get over it, I would suggest gazing on Roman's beautiful hair and meaty thighs, then watching the Brock match a bunch of times.  Seeing Reigns getting his ass handed to him in spectacular fashion and knowing in advance that he fails really is quite cathartic.    ​

Reigns Dies for Vince’s Sins

Scott,

Wrote this from the perspective of understanding where Roman Reigns is as a performer, even commending him, but underlining where he is and where McMahon is in the creative process. Thought you might enjoy.

​Well unfortunately it looks like we're right back to SuperCena Reigns feuding with Big Show after RAW last night, so Vince definitely hasn't learned anything.  ​

Rock and Reigns


Scott,
        Wouldn't the obvious feud to build to for WrestleMania 32, be Roman Reigns vs. The Rock.  Reigns could go uber heel, blame the fans AND Rock for not supporting him, and dominantly plow through faces (including a Brock-style destroying of Cena at Summerslam), win the title mid year and lose it when Rock shows up to defend his and his family's honor.  BOOM: WrestleMania match.  That, plus Sting/Taker retirement is a pretty good double headliner.  Throw in Brock/Bryan as an apology to the fans and Dallas has a Hell of a Show!
 
Dude, they need to sell ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND tickets for that show.  Roman Reigns ain't gonna be anywhere near that main event.  Put the names of Brock Lesnar, The Rock, HHH, John Cena, Undertaker and maybe even Shawn Michaels if you're desperate into a hat, pull out any combination of three matches with them, and that's your main card.  Even then, I dunno.  

Taker vs Reigns


Hindsight being 20/20 would it have been better for the Streak to stay intact and do Reigns vs Taker and Bryan vs Brock for the title this year? This way you satisfy both fanbases and it's not like beating the Streak did all that much for Brock anyway. Plus, giving the rub to Reigns with the Streak would be way better than beating a lame duck champ that is leaving.

​The problem is not Brock or the streak or any of those other things.  The original plan of "Brock breaks the streak, destroys champion at Summerslam, lays waste to WWE until conquering hero gets mega-rub at WM" is totally viable and fine.  The problem has always been that Reigns is the wrong guy and has never worked in the role.  So no, giving Reigns the streak win instead of the Brock win doesn't help anything.  ​

Raw tonight on lesnar and reigns


Scott, is wwe giving up on lesnar vs reigns as the main event to end the show at mania? They haven't even interacted since that studio raw. Reigns after the Tag match just disappeared into the night while orton dominated the last ten minutes of the show. I have never ever seen a main event for any ppv , much less wrestlefrinkingmania get so little coverage…and what was the point of even having lesnar at raw? To just stand there? Why would they even waste an appearance? This is insane even at wwe levels have been. My head hurts.

I have no earthly idea what the point of tonight's show was supposed to be.  Even scarier is that if they actually booked any of the big three matches to have interaction between the guys, they'd likely fuck it up even worse, so we should probably be thankful that no one touches each other or even talks to each other.  

Brock vs. Reigns: Bomb or Fizzle?

Hey Scott,

How badly do you feel WM fans will turn on the the Brock/Reigns match? Do you think if will be Brock/Goldberg writ large on the main stage or HHH/Orton, with fans filing out after the beginning staredown? I kinda have high hopes that somehow Pat comes in and turns this match into a surprise masterpeice somehow, but all things considered, I feel it'd be equally historic if the thing firebombs out of control.

 thoughts?

​I think it'll fizzle.  They're gonna give HHH/Sting and Undertaker all the smoke and mirrors needed, and the IC title trainwreck is probably gonna open the show at ****1/2 or more, so it's likely that after four hours the crowd is going to be burned out and in no mood for Reigns, but not actively hostile.  ​HHH/Orton is a good comparison point, I think. 

Even more reigns!


At this point are you actually looking forward to the main event due to the likely cena-Orton rumble 2014 or brock-Goldberg reaction?

While the "its so bad it's good" of the last few months isn't a good thing in the long run, it is kind of making me excited for mania after all.

​I don't think that reaction is likely, just because people don't care about Reigns enough to have that kind of passion about it.  If it gets out before that Brock is leaving, then maybe it'll be interesting and finally turn Reigns babyface with the smart fans, but otherwise I feel like they'll do a safe and boring match that will be intensely rehearsed and probably more dull than anything.  ​

More Reigns!


To me, the turning point for Roman's demise was immediately after the Rollins betrayal.  Look at the contrast between the reactions of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns:

Dean Ambrose: Goes off the deep end seeking revenge and talking Rollins, turning it into the hottest feud in the WWE for a couple of months.

Roman Reigns: "Meh."

Yeah, but in Vince's mind that's a feature, not a bug.  The John Cena Babyface Prototype is always stoic in the face of setbacks, laughs off big losses because he can always get another title shot, and presents himself as being above the midcarders because he's a star.  That was their way of pushing Reigns.  

Roman Reigns / Baron Corbin


Hey Scott,


Do you think the fans that dislike Roman Reigns would have been more accepting of him if post-Shield he received more of a Baron Corbin characterization and/or push? You know, he comes out, doesn't say anything, does that thing where he cocks his fist for the Superman punch, knocks the guy out, wins, and walks away.

I feel like they need to bring Vince back for commentary so he can fully explain to the viewers about Roman's meaty thighs and beautiful hair, much like Big Show didn't get over until Michael Cole fully explained how big his hands are.  Or how Tamina didn't get over until they explained how she was Jimmy Snuka's daughter.  MONEY LEFT ON THE TABLE.

And for a general answer to the question, almost literally ANYTHING would be more effective than how they've booked Reigns thus far.  

The Reigns In Spain

And now a collection of the Reigns mail I got this morning! Hey Scott With everyone chiming in on the whole Roman Reigns thing and the big complaint being that “he’s not over”, everyone seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room and that’s *why* he’s not over. If they’d tried this push a year ago when the Shield was the hot new thing then maybe the workrate crowd get pissed but I think the majority of Joe Average fans would’ve bought it. Since then though, for a guy who the office sees as the “next big thing” Roman’s hardly been handled as such. It’s odd because he’s the one who kept the Shield music and outfit and yet he’s the one of the three who’s character has changed the most – Rollins was the Thinking One and so it makes sense he’d be the guy to join HHH; Ambrose was the Crazy One with a penchant for overestimating his own abilities sometimes and then Reigns was the Cool One, says fuck-all but smashes everyone he comes up against. Suddenly now though not only is he saying way too much, he’s also having to sell for guys like Kane and Big Show (where in the Shield days Ambrose and Rollins did most of the selling) and trade wins and stuff and so of course he’s not going to be as over as he should be. I’d argue in fact this whole push has been dead in the water since he spiked Vickie’s coffee and became like every other post-Cena babyface. The whole selling point of Roman Reigns was that he was a badass and a killer, not a cocky smart-mouth. Why should anyone care about him when all he is now is another Dolph, essentially a sub-Cena type? It’s another case of failing to see the forest for the trees – when Roman came back the strict instruction should’ve been to not have him sell, to not have him job, and to crush everyone he came up against while barely saying a word, Goldberg-style. That’s how you get a guy like Reigns ready for Lesnar and avoid the mess they’re in now. If they’d done that then for sure people would be clamouring to see him face Brock. Yup. Next e-mail! Hey Scott, During Austin’s podcast with Triple H, there was something that HHH said that really caught my attention. He noted that “making someone a good guy is almost the worst thing you can do for them today”. It’s obvious that WWE deserves a significant amount of the blame when it comes to pushing new guys to the top, but it definitely seems like the heels that they push — no matter how much they ram those guys down people’s throats — do became main event-level guys. I’m sure a certain part about that is that is the basic storytelling mechanics of professional wrestling, but I look at a guy like Seth Rollins and think it could have been just as easy for him to get “X-Pac heat” instead of being pretty much universally accepted by all segments of the audience in the position that he’s in. With the anti-hero thing still strong with such a big part of the audience, would it have been better for WWE to run with Roman Reigns as a heel (maybe even keeping the Shield together as The Authority’s heavies) until the Rumble? Even if he was still just as unprepared as he is right now, it seems like all of that could be disguised — and, basically, the audience could feel in control of his ascent — if they had done something along the lines of how they got Batista over with Evolution at the beginning of 2005? I recognize that it’s all still fantasy booking at this point, but is it just the storytelling advantage that heels have that makes it easier to get new guys over when they are in that role? And, at what point does the fault for the backlash and its effect on the storylines heading into WrestleMania actually reside with the jaded audience? I think it’s because it’s easier to book effective heels and because Vince apparently has no idea how a babyface should act.  You can book a heel to crush the good guys and shit on the local sports team and it nearly always works, but finding a top babyface requires a real organic connection with the audience that is tricky to figure out and navigate at the best of times.  Which is the long way of saying, yes, Reigns absolutely should have been a heel until fans WANTED him to turn.  The key is to do what you want while making fans think THEY wanted it first, ala Rocky in 1998.  Or Batista in 2005.  With all the talk about how Bryan was apparently still rehabbing his neck until just before he came back, do you think that maybe his falling off the cliff in the last few weeks could lead to him disappearing to rehab it further, and possibly to his retirement? I can’t believe how completely the WWE has dropped the ball on him, but then again, they have dropped the ball so completely in the past year, that I don’t even watch the new product anymore (except NXT). I keep wondering, maybe Bryan came back to kill the Yes Movement so that he could go away for a while (forever?) without everybody constantly chanting for his surprise return. Also, on the Dr. Amman lawsuit. I know everybody is saying that the WWE is going after Punk for “getting one over” on them, but what about Colt in all this? There’s no WAY Cabana has the money Punk has to fight this lawsuit. Is Punk going to have to pony up for his buddy as well, or is Colt in a world of trouble here? Punk doesn’t have to, but hopefully he will.  It’s a major dick move on WWE’s part that’s kind of getting lost in the attention over Punk.  They’re basically trying to blackmail him into settling by holding his friend (who doesn’t have the money to fight) hostage.  Then they can be like “You settled, so QED you lied about the injury” and probably sue him for something else.  Because that’s how they roll.  As for Bryan, I just wish he’d quit doing the fucking headbutt. Wouldn’t it make the most sense for Rusev to beat Cena, and build up Rusev as the unstoppable monster to face Reigns at SummerSlam? Or, since they would screw it up over that timeframe, just bring up the whole “Rusev was screwed in the Rumble” storyline that they quietly ignored, and use that as the impetus for his title shot against Reigns. I know they don’t want to job Cena but Reigns is, what, 10 years younger? If they’re really going to make Reigns the next big thing, shouldn’t that be top priority? Clearly it was when it came to squashing Bryan. Rusev could still beat Cena.  I mean, it would be a terrible story and go against my theory that they’re booking Cena after watching the Rocky movies in succession, but Rusev still has juice as a heel monster.  But then they’d have to do Rocky V with Reigns as Tommy Gunn, I guess.  Scott, With Brock supposedly walking out Monday over “Business Matters”, it got me thinking. His initial run lasted 2 years and he sues the company and wins. He comes back 8 years later for more money and barely has to work. After a couple of missteps he is the strongest booked guy in company and will carry the main title into the biggest show of the year. What is it about Brock that would make Vince essentially give him the keys to the castle? Especially when it seems he’s only loyal to the business of Brock Lesnar.  Have you SEEN his meaty thighs?  Vince has.  Really though, Vince thought there was money in him, but the end of the PPV era has essentially killed his value as a draw now.  I mean, he already justified his original contract value handily, but basically if you can make money for Vince, he’ll take you back. 

Why is Reigns still in the Shield?

Hey Scott,


Was just thinking, is the fact that Reigns basically the same guy he was in the Shield hurting him?

In the past, if a tag team broke up and Wrestler A was getting a push, that guy would get a total make over (Re: Rick Martel, HBK, JBL, Scott Steiner) Meanwhile, the other guy, if nothing was really in the works for him, would basically do the same old pre-break up stuff (Marty, Tito, Rick Steiner),

With the Shield, it's entirely reversed. Rollins and Ambrose got new and distinct personalities, outfits and music while Reigns (Intense love of Looney Tunes aside) is basically the same guy was before.

Shouldn't they be doing everything possible to help him stand out?

That is the LEAST of his problems, but yes, absolutely.  If anything Ambrose should have kept the Shield music and look because it fits his character and personality.  

Lukewarm 3:16 Reigns and Bryan


Sure, their brawl was nice, but Reigns (who couldn't pin Kane) and Bryan (who needed 14 minutes to pretty much take out Show before the DQ), respectively, spent the rest of their show smirking and selfie-ing like Tyler Breeze and acting like his (delusionally) smug heel character when paired with AJ.  Why should I cheer for either of these guys based on this build?

I was interested in Reigns-Lesnar after snow day and could have gotten behind Bryan getting his title back, but this shades of gray/stupid babyfaces fighting/stop-start booking has made me care less about Fast Lane.

"So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:16

​I do feel like they're deliberately trolling everyone at this point with the "Everyone is sick of Reigns and Bryan against Kane and Big Show, so let's book them against more Kane and Big Show!" stuff.  I barely even understand what the story is supposed to be. Except that Big Show is really large and you have to see his frying pan hands in person to appreciate him.  I think we all understand that.  ​

Roman Reigns = RATINGS

…for stuff on the other channels.

Hey, don't worry, things will pick up again when it's Wrestlemania season!  
Seriously, I don't think I could possibly come up with worse ways to book the top players right now.  How hard is it for Rusev to keep coming out as "Russia #1, USA, HOCK-PTOOEY!" and Cena's all like "Hey, America is the home of free speech so shut the fuck up, commie!" and then they fight?  It's worked for SIXTY FUCKING YEARS NOW.  You bring out Cena with an American flag and a Marine honor guard for Wrestlemania and this shit writes itself.  But instead the heat is supposed to be because John Cena, who is 5 years or so younger than the average age of the RAW viewership, is the grizzled old veteran who is too old and beat up to face the young lion.   Oh, and apparently top babyfaces Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns are too stupid to figure out that HHH is manipulating them, even though he goes on TV and SAYS SO.  
On the bright side, NXT will glorious tomorrow night.

Reigns


Is there a chance that all these horrific promos are actually intended to turn him heel? I know you can't give the writing team (and Vince) too much credit but even they have to realize he is a disaster out there.

They could have him win the rumble, which would piss off the Phili crowd and then the next night turn on Bryan or something with help from the authority.

Bryan v heel reigns at mania could actually do something assuming we aren't getting Bryan lesnar

​Zero chance of that, I'd say.  Hoping he catches fire as a babyface is one thing, but turning him two months before Wrestlemania and somehow expecting him to be the #1 heel and overshadow Brock Lesnar?  Not even this writing team is that incompetent.  I think people might be really overplaying the Philly aspect of the Rumble, but even if the crowd DOESN'T turn on Reigns ala Batista, he's clearly not the #1 guy by any measure.  He doesn't move ratings, doesn't get a bigger reaction than Cena, and can't cut a promo in that role.  There's no real brilliant instant fix here, it's just way too soon to make Reigns a tippy top guy, period.  He needs another year at least.​

Reigns as Champ

Scott,

I remember last year after Bryan won the belt, you advocated for him to be a fighting champion and take on all comers.

Ignoring that the creative team will inevitably screw it up, if Reigns is indeed the anointed one, how would you book him after WrestleMania? Similar deal? Fighting champ? Might be a nice change of pace since Brock has been invisible for the last several months. Plus, it might be fun to see Reigns VS Barrett or Sheamus or Miz or whoever main event Raw once in a while. Thoughts?


My presumption is that Rollins is going to screw him out of it fairly soon and then Reigns will chase until Summerslam.  It's a weird deal because they want him to be a long-term champion and they still need to pay off the MITB briefcase, and this would be a situation where having more than one title built up to mean something would be incredibly useful.  I think long-term it's best to give Rollins all the main event rub they can now, since Reigns is on the gravy train anyway and will be a made guy no matter what.  

Roman Reigns

Is it possible we're all misunderstanding what WWE is doing with Roman Reigns?
Remember how they got Randy Orton over as a heel? he was pushed as a babyface,
then got injured. All the while he was injured they built him up in such a way
that when he returned he was super over…as a heel. Having Reigns be awarded
the 'Superstar of the Year' by a supposed fan vote, the constant updates on
him, all the crap about how everyone considers him The Next Best
Thing….could Roman Reigns be the next Corporate WWE World Heavyweight
Champion? Because if this is actually supposed to get him over as a main event
face, they're going about it all wrong.

Apparently the fan voting was legit.  That being said, he's not Batista and there is no Daniel Bryan in the Rumble this year for fans to organically rise up for.  I'm sure he'll be fine with that certain segment of the audience that cheers for Cena and doesn't mind getting pandered to with crap like "WWE Universe" and their Twitter updates during matches, but the backlash against him online is just kind of a bad sign.  

Title chain: lesnar-> cena-> Rollins-> reigns

Hi Scott –
Longtime reader, bla bla. There seems to be a groundswell lately – and rightly so – to just get the belt off lesnar at the rumble and have cena put RR over at mania.  That's fine, but doesn't this make even more sense: cena beats Brock in a war, Rollins finally cashes and either with Brock's help, or because cena is so worn down, takes it from cena. Now you have a ready-made feud from the shield breakup (why would cena have an issue with RR in storyline terms?), and we get the face going over the cowardly heel and taking revenge for the "sellout" at mania. Too logical?

​I just feel like Reigns winning the belt from Rollins doesn't do anything for him.  Lesnar is at least a top level star, as is Cena, and either one of those can kickstart the push.  Changing the title three times in a two month span is counterproductive as well.  
Really, the best thing would have been not putting the belt on Lesnar in the first place and letting Rollins cash in on Cena at Summerslam so that he could have been champion during this whole terrible dead zone from Sep-Jan.  ​Lesnar could have destroyed Cena but decked the ref to get DQ'd, Rollins pins the corpse of Cena to win the title, faces chase him from now until Rumble when Cena gets his title back.  

Reigns WM main event

Hey, Scott! I brought this up during the TLC thread, but given that Brock Lesnar is a foregone conclusion to leave the company after Wrestlemania, is it even worth it to have him in the main event anymore? Shouldn't they just throw their hands up and put the belt on Cena at the Royal Rumble at this point? At least the idea of Reigns and Cena in the WM main has some drama to it, but Reigns/Lesnar's outcome is such a foregone conclusion that it's hard to generate any excitement for it.

Yeah, the more we don't have Lesnar on TV, the more I'm on Team Cena as far as being the guy to put over Reigns.  Brock loses his specialness every week he's gone from TV without anyone mentioning him or caring about the World title and clearly PPV is so dead as a medium that there's little point in trying to use him to pop buyrates any longer.  Plus Cena is pretty much a guaranteed great match for Reigns, whereas Brock who the fuck knows what you're gonna get.  

Ryback & Reigns

Hi Scott,
I understand that the chances of this happening are slim to none, but I have a simple solution regarding the future of WWE. Make Ryback and Reigns the last two men standing at Royal Rumble, and let the fans decide who wins based on crowd reactions for both. The winner dethrones Lesnar at Mania. If it's Ryback, then turn Reigns heel for a post-Mania program. If it's Reigns, then put him against Rollins after Mania and/or a heel Ambrose and too bad for Ryback. Thoughts? Thanks,
Brian
Ryback?  REALLY?  

Look, I know there's all this imagined backlash against Reigns and such, but really pussyfooting around like that is what killed the Luger push.  If they want Reigns to be the Guy, then great.  Have him win the Rumble and beat Lesnar and see what happens.  I can assure you that any perceived aura of main event status that Ryback has is only going to last as long as he's not doing a bunch of jobs, whereas Reigns is a guy that they're seemingly committed to for the long term.