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.  

Roman Reigns Nickname Generator

I was just thinking to myself that the thing holding Roman Reigns back from greatness is that he doesn't have enough nicknames yet.  Like with Steve Austin, who didn't really break through as a top level guy until he became "The Rattlesnake" in addition to "Stone Cold".  So clearly, the solution for Reigns is to have even more nicknames.  Now, we of course all know and love him as The Juggernaut and the Big Dog and use those in everyday conversation ("Yo, dog, did you peep the Juggernaut on RAW last night?  The Big Dog was wiggity-wack!") but I feel like he needs at least another four WWE-mandated nicknames for Maggle Cole to tell us about before he'll have the support to beat Brock Lesnar.
So fire away.

Counting Flair’s World Title Reigns.


Hey dude, quick question. I remember many moons ago you posted on the
blog a list of all possible Ric Flair title reigns, where you got up
to the mid to late 20's depending on how lenient you were. I wanted to
check it out again but couldn't find it. Any chance you have it
somewhere in your databanks? Thanks!

Hoo boy, let's see if I can pull this out from memory again:

Documented/televised:  
1.  Dusty Rhodes in 81
2.  Harley Race in 83
3.  Kerry Von Erich in 84
4.  Dusty Rhodes in 86
5.  Ron Garvin in 87
6.  Ricky Steamboat in 89
7.  Sting in 91
8.  Fujinami in 91
9.  Royal Rumble 92
10.  Randy Savage in 92
11.  Barry Windham in 93
12.  Vader in 93
13.  Savage in 95
14.  Savage in 96
15.  Hogan in 99
16.  Jeff Jarrett in 2000
As well, there was a pair of switches with Race in New Zealand, a switch with the youngster Carlos Colon in Puerto Rico that created the WWC Universal title, a switch with Jack Venano  in the Dominican Republic, a switch with the Midnight Rider that was overturned, a switch with Victor Jovica in Trinidad, and as well you could possibly count the 91 victory over Sting as a double title victory (winning both WCW and NWA titles).  The final total can go as high as 24 I believe.  

Roman Reigns Reverse Psychology


If it's fair to say John Cena, Batista and Randy Orton become established main event stars circa 2005, then is it fair to say WWE has only gotten two guys over in the past 9 years as new main event acts? (CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.)


If WWE wants to truly get Roman Reigns over, shouldn't they have him lose a lot and tell us he isn't an A+ player?

Reverse psychology Is the only recipe for creating a main event star that has worked the past decade. 

Snark aside, there is actually something to that.  You kind of have to make the fans want to make a guy to get the maximum effect out of it.  Rocky didn't become the top star until the backlash from his initial push faded and then the FANS felt like they decided he would be a top guy.  The same thing is kind of happening with Ambrose, where the fanbase is getting more behind him as a top guy than WWE intends and it's probably forcing their hand somewhat.  Honestly, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the Authority to start screwing with Reigns and making him work for his push.  If you book him in ridiculous odds week after week and he overcomes them in the end, that's how you make a star.  Throwing all these softball feuds at him is just gonna make him look like another guy.  

Test the 2ndary Title to Make Reigns


Hey Scott,


I was flipping through the 1st Warrior DVD and I had an idea: Is there anything completely stupid about just giving Reigns either the US or IC belt and having him run with the thing, beating people left and right until WM, THEN having him straight up challenge Lesnar and having them do a Title vs. Title Match?

​Yeah, because the US title is considered such a midcard geek title now that it would actually bring him down several notches to even want it.  If they start him down that road, there's no point in even putting him in the main event.  Those titles destroy everything they touch.  ​

Roman Reigns column


Hey Scott, James again. Roman Reigns and his push have been a hot topic, so I wrote a column about it. I'd appreciate the plug!

http://badmanbureau.com/2014/07/19/believe-in-roman-reigns/

​The Diesel comparison is a really interesting one, because you can make a similar comparison between Ambrose and Shawn Michaels, where they annointed Big Kev as the chosen one and people ended up turning Shawn into the bigger star by far.  ​

Let’s talk about…..the fall of Roman Reigns

Let’s talk about….the fall of Roman Reigns
As he stood under the lights on Monday night, Roman Reigns
passed his first test with flying (well, decent) colors. The newly anointed savior
of our sport stood alone and cut his first main event promo, looking and
sounding like he belonged in front of us. The fans ate it up like a whale at a
buffet featuring all-you-can-eat Jonahs.

So where did this sinking feeling come from?
Let’s establish up front that the push of Roman Reigns has
proceeded rather flawlessly; indeed, the Shield has been handled as well as any
talents we’ve seen in the last ten years at this point. Slowly building Reigns
up, with few jobs and strong victories, his ascension to the top of the card is
nearly complete. We’re several months away from his final coronation, but
barring any injury or unforeseen circumstances, he will be holding the title
aloft at the end of Wrestlemania 31.
Speaking of unforeseen circumstances….
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to
repeat it” – George Santayana
Time for a stroll down the memory lane, don’t you think?
In the past 5 years, we’ve seen the ascension of 2 unlikely
stars to the top of the ranks in WWE; CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. And we’ve seen
the rejection of all of the following stars that WWE has tried to get over into
that spot – Alberto Del Rio, Ryback, the returning Batista, and old card
mainstays such as Cena, Orton, and the Big Show. In each instance, the fan base
has rejected these options in favor of the fan-grown wrestler that the audience
connected with. The booking of Roman Reigns does not fill me with confidence
that this trend will be avoided in the near future.
The fact is, I think that we’re seeing a new breed of fan
that has grown and matured over the last 5 years or so, and that fan is the
informed fan. Not the smark, like us, who analyze wrestling to a ridiculous
degree, but the fan who knows more about what is going on due to the internet
or whatever medium they use than ever before. I believe that the fanbase has
conditioned itself to reject many of the creations that WWE gives ‘superhero’
pushes to; initially, those wrestlers are welcomed as someone new to the main
event scene.
As time goes on, however, there is a real role that the fans
have taken on in determining who they want to receive a push, and not allowing
that push to happen organically is playing with fire. If Reigns is indeed the
long game for ‘Mania this year, the concern that I foresee is the fans getting
tired or restless with his domination to the point that they will reject him
the same way they eventually rejected a wrestler such as Ryback.
“Ryback? Reigns is twice the wrestler Ryback is!” Hmmmm….is
that really true? Reigns has been extremely protected up to this point with
regard to his weaknesses in the ring, which are very real. He fits in well as
the heavy finisher in tag matches, but can he carry a match on his back when he
needs to? I don’t put him in Scott Steiner territory by any stretch of the
imagination, but any wrestling fan can see that he has a severely limited
moveset to put it mildly. Spear, Superman Punch, dropkick to the ring apron. The
rest of what Reigns does in the ring is very basic kicky-punchy clothesline
type wrestling, and that type of wrestling has been a big part of what the fans
have rejected in guys such as Cena and Ryback.
Remember the Ryback push? He was given a pretty big shove
out there, pinning multiple wrestlers at once with big power moves to get him
over as a monster. Much like Reigns has been protected in tag matches, Ryback
was protected with short squashes. He was given title matches with Punk, main
events with Cena, both of whom are excellent workers, and the matches came up
relatively short. He was given a simple catchphrase to get over, which he did.  I think that the similarities are more evident
than people think. The only difference is that, when the time comes, I think he’ll
go over for the belt, whereas Ryback did not.
And that could be a problem. Because the fan’s role in
deciding whether or not he finishes his push at the top when the proverbial
rocket gets him all the way there is going to be determined by the epic nature
of his matches. And I’m not at all convinced he’s ready for that; while we make
fun sometimes of fans who may not know what’s really going on, ringwork has
always gotten people over. Just look at the Steiner/HHH debacle vs the
Angle/Benoit classic on the same show; wrestling fans will buy into good
wrestling . Will he be ready by Wrestlemania? Of course, he could be.
But what happens if they can’t sustain his act that long?
People tired of Cena’s superman act years ago, and have been vocal about that
to the point where it needed acknowledgement on television, something that
never would have happened to a top babyface from another era. Of course, Cena
is a special case, as his merchandise sales and public image for the company
require that he be kept a BINO (babyface in name only), but the boos far
outweigh the cheers. I don’t know that Roman has that type of skill set yet –
the ability to do the intangible things that are needed to sustain that type of
run at the top.
Contrast that with the man getting the second biggest pops
on the show right now – Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose is currently most smarks’ pick for the breakout star
of the Shield waiting to happen, and it’s all in how he carries himself in the
storytelling of his matches and his angles. He comes out and the crowd has NO
idea what is going to happen next. He wrestles like no one else on the card at
this time, sells like a motherfucker, and in general is a complete professional
wrestler.
But the reason that I see Ambrose as the bigger star down
the road is that he doesn’t feel like a WWE creation – he feels like a real
(crazy) person, who has no real equal in the Fed when it comes to both his
character and his unique ringwork. The fact is that if the fans are going to
choose the next main event star, I suspect that they will tire of Reigns faster
than they tire of Ambrose.
And that’s a real problem, because the WWE is going to
forget the history of even the last few years again. 
The rise of CM Punk came
because his character was unique and people were dying to see something that
didn’t look like John Cena up top. The fans rejected Batista because they didn’t
want to see the same thing, they wanted Daniel Bryan, who wrestled a unique and
different style than anyone else at the time, and who had a character that
appealed to the masses as a true underdog babyface, something that hadn’t been
done in a long time. The fact is, Roman Reigns is exactly what the WWE sees
when they look for a main event talent.
And the fact is, the fans have rejected that notion multiple
times over the last several years.
Please understand, I’m not rooting against Roman Reigns in
the slightest. I hope he pulls it together and proves me completely wrong. He
not only has the look, he has the same type of attitude that put Batista over
the top back in the day, the ‘cooler than you vibe’. It might carry him all the
way.
Or that rocket could explode before it clears the
stratosphere.
And that fall can kill you.
Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on twitter

Why Reigns should NOT win at MITB (historically)


OK, as much as I'm a Dean Ambrose fan out of the trio, I can see Roman Reigns being THE guy for the next few years, as he's really improved in the ring and has connected with the fan base.  However…


WWE history shows that people that win the championship for the first time in A. fluky ways like MITB cash-ins (Miz, Ziggler, Swagger) or B. multi-person matches (Mysterio, Big Show) really have flat reigns and doesn't give that initial title reign any muster.  When the person is built up on a mission to win the title (Eddie, Bryan, Austin, etc.), the fans EAT IT UP.  

So don't you think that Reigns would be better off winning his first title in a traditional 1 on 1 match at a major PPV?  We can guess that whoever wins MITB is getting fed to Bork Laser at Summer Slam, so why make his first title reign a short one, when defeating Borklestein would give him 10 times more cred?

– Rob


Of course he'd be better off.  But sometimes you've just gotta take a shot.  That being said, Cena winning and then dropping it to our Viking Space Lord is the biggest money match for Summerfest, especially with Reigns over HHH as the semi.  Cena can carry the belt, it doesn't hurt him to lose right away, and he owes Brock a job anyway.  

Roman Reigns

Hey Scott
 It's well known  that Roman Reigns is being groomed to be the next breakout star. While I agree he has great potential, I don't consider him to be the sure thing every1 else does.  He's had 2 high profile singles matches that had ZERO heat and were quite the letdowns. (Punk,Wyatt) His  3 big moves get great reactions but main eventers are expected to perform in the ring for what–20 to 25 minutes.  I just don't see him being able to pull that off on his own anytime soon, if at all. Do u see any possibility where he turns out to be the next Ryback?
They can't protect him forever.



Randy Orton and Batista beg to differ.   

When did title reigns become storyline material?

hi scott,

everyone's favourite_loser here, and i've got a question i personally can't remember ever being addressed anywhere

wwe.com has an article about when bruno lost the wwwf title to ivan koloff, and it made me think back to something i'd actually been thinking about recently. back in the day, did promoters just give titles to people and then run with it for as long as they figured it would work?  more to the point, when exactly did it become common practice to book title reigns as finite things, in the sense of "your reign will start on this date and end on/around this date"? obviously vince sr didn't say "bruno, you're gonna start in '63 and end in '72" contrast that with the closest modern day equivalent: punk's reign.  it was a long reign, but from the moment punk got the title, he knew when he was going to lose it (and to who)

i know you had reigns that were never meant to last long and were instead done to pop a territory (tommy rich, kerry von erich) or to proverbially transition to someone else in the long term (koloff to make way for pedro, stasiak to make way for bruno part 2), but is it safe to say that it didn't really become a practice until all eyes were on the product on a national level (so, sometime during the 80's, mid to late)?

Vince Sr. was in fact very well known for plotting out title reigns well in advance and sticking to them.  In fact, Billy Graham's run was set in stone from the beginning, even though he was selling out as champion all over the place.  Not to mention the NWA, where the title changes had to be voted well in advance and agreed by multiple promoters.   Really, it was only into the Russo era where hotshotted title reigns and flying by the seat of their pants began.

Roman reigns

>

> If there's nothing we can do to stop the Roman Reigns super push than why don't they go the full nine and have him challenge Taker at WM 30. It actually makes sense as the Shield put him through a table last time we saw Taker. Taker comes back in the Rumble and ends the Shield's "diesel run". Taker can run through Rollins and Ambrose en route to Mania but always get speared by Reigns. Reigns make the challenge and then puts on a great effort before getting tombstoned and pinned. They can do the Rock/Hogan ending where the Shield turns on him for failing only for Taker to make the respect save and boom! Reigns is mega star and face.

>

> Sent from my iPhone

Sure, that would be fine. Long as they don't do something stupid like the Legacy three way from 2010 (2009?).

Bryan vs. Reigns

Scott,

I can see your point about Daniel Bryan not getting a real run as the top guy recently due to numbers being down from Cena's runs (though it can be argued that "pushing" him while they are also acknowledging that he really isn't a main even guy is a self-fulfilling prophecy).  However, using that logic, what is behind this plan to push Roman Reigns to the moon?  He has a decent look and family ties, but he is nowhere near as seasoned as the other Shield guys, let alone some other guys on the roster who are waiting for a spot (like Antonio Cesaro, who has a ton of experience, can work the WWE style, and has abilities on the mic.)

Because that's how it works.  They've decided that Reigns is The Guy, so everything will be reverse-engineered to make sure he gets over and looks good and none of the other excuses will be applied to him.  Welcome to wrestling.

Favorite Reigns

Hey Scott,
I have just one question. What are your favorite title reigns of all-time? It can be any championship, and doesn't have to fit any criteria other than you just enjoying it. Thanks!

The Midnight Express as tag champs in 1986, just for the awesome spectacle of them squashing the fuck out of guys on the weekly TV show, plus some great matches with the RNR.  
Randy Savage's first WWF title run.
Bret Hart's "fighting champion" title run in 94.
 
Honky Tonk Man!
Demolition's first run as tag champs.
Mikey Whipwreck's TV title reign.