WWE is building up Roman Reigns to be the industry’s next monster babyface—but just how will the star perform in the role?
Certainly, the booking team is solidly behind him.
Reigns has been fiercely protected over the past year. He’s picked up several credible victories, rarely looks vulnerable and has been given a fair amount of mic and interview time. It’s been quite a while since management got behind a new star so strongly.
He’s also being positioned for several top feuds in the near future; Monday night’s Raw memorably ended with Triple H and Reigns having a powerful staredown. Those two have to be headed for a major match somewhere down the line, likely at SummerSlam in August.
Reigns winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at this Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view is very possible, too. (Personally, I think management will go with the ever-reliable John Cena, but Reigns is probably the next top candidate to emerge victorious.)
For his part, the star has justified his push. Over the past two years, he’s proven himself to be a great, versatile in-ring worker, with his work alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in The Shield often being spectacular.
Has this guy ever given a bad performance?
Not that everything is smooth sailing from here. Sure, WWE may desperately want Reigns to be the next Bill Goldberg, but he’s facing a few hurdles right now.
There’s the recent disbandment of The Shield, for one thing.
It’s baffling why the bookers would choose to end a massively successful act so prematurely—The Shield had at least another six months left in them as a top babyface stable—but they did. And now all three guys are off pursuing solo careers.
How Reigns will cope without Rollins or Ambrose to back him up is a question yet to be answered.
As noted, he is talented enough to succeed on his own, but come on—wasn’t he stronger with his teammates? Honestly, I’d argue all three guys are far better off as a team than on their own.
Reigns’ mic work, while decent, doesn’t really appear to be at a main event level, at least not yet. He lacks the energy and ability on interviews to work up the crowd the way Cena and Daniel Bryan do. He was also frequently upstaged by Ambrose on promos during his time in The Shield.
Again, it’s not so much that he’s bad, but others are better. And it could be a problem as he attempts to navigate his way to the top.
The future looks bright for Reigns, though, despite these issues. Really, something major would have to happen for him to not be main eventing regularly in a few months' time.