Sunday, July 13, 2014

Can Roman Reigns Survive The Transition To Face Of WWE

No one is going to deny the fact  Roman Reigns really from the beginning of his career on the WWE main roster has been positioned to be the eventually successor to John Cena. He has been highly protected and made to come off as a huge superstar. He is portrayed as the coolest guy in the room currently. It is hard to remember and even harder to admit, but John Cena once was that guy.

People will have long debates on the success of Cena since that time as the “Face of the WWE” and how successful he really has been. I think it is fair to say that John Cena somewhere between then and now, he stopped being cool and became corporate. John Cena’s early rap persona really legitimately got over with the audience and still to this day when he brings back that persona it can get over with the audience.

The Shield when they were together and since they have separated still has that cool factor going for them in a major way. Roman Reigns at this point is the guy that keeps his words fairly short but they are more often than not having an impact. The most recent example was his response to “Cena Sucks” chants and he responded to the audience with “when Roman Reigns in the ring your damn right.” The audience reacted as you would expect with tremendous cheers.

WWE is already teasing the idea of Reigns taking over from Cena in the lead-up into the four-way for WWE Heavyweight World Championship at Battleground. It seems that it will be enviable that we see a John Cena vs. Roman Reigns Wrestlemania main event.

The danger is and perhaps the first mistake the WWE could make with Roman Reigns as they did with John Cena is to push him to the top to fast. Cena has been jammed down people throats for so long that company’s obsession in pushing him has become in effect an anti-push for him making him this weird Heel/Face that we know today. I have maintained this has been bad for business in the sense that he turns guys that are suppose to heels into faces far too soon. It is a major reason why the WWE is lacking true heels today.

While WWE fans want change and are hungry to see Reigns on top, is this not just the first step to heading towards what Cena has become? That is something that the WWE needs to avoid despite themselves. It is hard to think the WWE will learn from their mistakes. They don’t have a good track record at that. Maybe were not giving them enough credit, but we have a history of material to doubt them.

Maybe Roman Reigns will have the stroke to keep himself on the right path. He is after all related to The Rock who has always been able to stay cool for the most part with wrestling fans. The one thing Roman Reigns does lack is the ability to cut long involved promos. I think personally, I am ok with keeping Reigns as this man that says little and speaks more with his actions than his words. It would be a refreshing change from the WWE norm.

Another point to the positive is Reigns having come into the company as part of The Shield. He will always have these relationships to fall back on. It can always be something they can draw back on going forward. Similar to how the WWE has used groups like DX, Evolution and others. Let’s call this Roman Reigns safe place as we move forward it will always work if they do not over use it.

Cena for the most part has been a solo act and has never had anyone that really has been his legitimate friend in terms of storyline. Even Hogan had that year or so with Savage in which he had someone sharing the spotlight with him. Cena has the occasion casual person tied to him that he has failed to get over. Zack Ryder was the most obvious example of this where he had already gotten over and Cena came along and ruined that in a very quick fashion.

Reigns maybe the “chosen one” it has not impacted on the fact that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins also have gotten "over" along side him for the last couple years.

What Cena and Reigns share in common is female fan base in large part love them. It is primarily based on their looks and not much else. Where John Cena really lost his cool was when males stopped thinking he was cool and his primary fans were kids and women. Cena was cool when he was rapping and saying things that were to say the least not PG based. Reigns is just more respected as a legit “badass” by guys right now. This is something that can still work under the WWE’s PG world as they have been able to prove currently.

If the WWE is patient and does not change much about Reigns and evolve just the characteristics he already has things will be fine. If they attempt to turn him in to that John Cena corporate face of the company that will not be good for his long term. Roman Reigns can still do all the things Cena does but you don’t need to publicize them as much. Reigns with his character can say he doesn’t need people to know what he does as he is just doing what is the right thing.

It is hard to imagine Roman Reigns being thought of in the same light as John Cena. Still could we have imagined 10 years ago that Cena would be thought of as he is today? It is vital that someone realizes that John Cena ultimately has not been the complete success that company paints him out to be. Roman Reigns might be the right guy to realize that and has a guy who was legitimately the most successful person both in the WWE and beyond it combined in The Rock a phone call away.

It will be very interesting to see how the WWE handle this transition. The WWE has never really had to deal with this kind of transition as the face of the company. Hogan left for WCW, Stone Cold left because of injury, The Rock left for Hollywood and Triple H had the security of being part of the McMahon family. Cena clearly has no plans of leaving any time soon and thus this complex transition will have to take place. The WWE has never really had to deal with this kind of situation.

WWE fans have their fingers crossed they won’t screw this up.

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