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.