Roman Reigns and the 6 WWE and AEW Stars Currently Nailing Their Character

Philip LindseyContributor IIDecember 15, 2021

Roman Reigns and the 6 WWE and AEW Stars Currently Nailing Their Character

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    Wrestling fans can usually name their favorite matches off the top of their heads when given the chance. Most of us have fond memories of the pay-per-views or the incredible spots that littered our childhood. However, it was the larger-than-life characters who made us tune in every week.

    Longtime viewers remember the first time they saw The Undertaker or listened to The Rock cut a promo. These figures left a lasting impression on a generation of fans. Without such emblematic heroes and villains, professional wrestling wouldn't be nearly as interesting for many fans.

    One could argue that you can show anyone a high-quality match and they will be mesmerized by the fast-paced action, feats of athleticism and drama that only pro wrestling can provide. Conversely, people across the world know who "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is and that's a testament to his character work during the Attitude Era.

    These are six WWE and All Elite Wrestling names who are currently contributing to a genre known for its bold characters.

Seth Rollins

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    Seth Rollins is easily one of the top in-ring performers on the WWE rosters. Still, the lack of a discernible character was one of the few criticisms surrounding the former universal champion, particularly during his time as a babyface.

    His current persona may be divisive among fans but it's possibly his best character work to date. If nothing else, he is clearly having the time of his life parading around in gaudy outfits and encouraging fans to "embrace the vision."

    The Visionary is just obnoxious and sanctimonious enough to rub many viewers the wrong way but he's also outrageous enough to create several hilarious meme-worthy moments. On the surface, the Drip God is more entertaining than it has any right to be or just lame, which is kind of the intent.

    However, there is more depth here than meets the eyes as the gimmick seems like a tongue-in-cheek play on fans' perception of the 35-year-old online. Even more, there are some hints that this is his depiction of a mid-life crisis following his fall from grace and the birth of his first child.

    In short, this is his attempt to gleefully give the fans what they say they want. That's why he brought back aspects of his popular heel persona, The Architect, like the glove and his evil laugh. It's also why he's trying to be so trendy.

Britt Baker

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    Britt Baker is the best character in the AEW women's division and one of the company's biggest stars.

    The Pittsburgh native rose to prominence after she turned heel on the Jan. 22, 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite. As a result, she became the self-absorbed star fans know and love today en route to her tenure as women's world champion.

    For nearly two years, Baker has grown into one of the best talkers on the rosters. Her savage promos and biting wit have made her a breath of fresh air in a division in desperate need of distinct characters.

    The 30-year-old has had an incredible year marked by her first AEW women's title win and four main event contests. Although her matches have steadily improved, the real-life dentist wouldn't have made it this far without a role she could sink her teeth into with such conviction.

    It worked so well that she's arguably too popular to remain a top antagonist. The fans at live shows want to cheer for her because The Face of the Division was a character they loved to hate.

Becky Lynch

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    Fans may not like some of WWE's booking decisions, but Becky Lynch's promo and character work are still top-notch quality.

    During a live Q&A on his 83 Weeks podcast (h/t Dominic Deangelo of Wrestle Zone), Eric Bischoff called her "the best character in wrestling right now."

    "And when I say that I mean, she is the best character in wrestling right now," he added. "I mean, she is so authentic. You know, I was thinking about this. It's funny you brought her name up. I was thinking about her a little while ago. There are so very few authentic-feeling characters, especially in WWE, because everything is so well-crafted and polished, except for Becky. Even on her social media, there is something special about her as a performer. She really gets it. So, I watch her."

    Lynch made her return to in-ring competition at SummerSlam where she controversially beat Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women's Championship in 26 seconds. It was a disappointing end to The EST of WWE's reign, but it was also notably the death of The Man persona.

    This may be hard for some fans to swallow but it was a necessary change as the Irish star wasn't the underdog who stepped out of Charlotte Flair's shadow anymore. The current Raw women's champion had achieved too much to come back and attempt to recapture the allure of her anti-authority character.

    Instead, Big Time Becks is the manifestation of everything she accused Flair of and the insecurities of a top star who would do anything to reclaim her spot. It's a fitting evolution for the 34-year-old and she's doing a great job adapting to the role.

    There were some reservations about whether Lynch could work as a heel, but she has proved to be effective in her current feud with Liv Morgan.

'Hangman' Adam Page

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    The villains have dominated this list so far. That's possibly because it's so hard to create a convincing protagonist in pro wrestling these days. However, Adam Page is one of the most complex and unique babyface characters in the industry right now.

    Hangman's two-year journey to win the AEW World Championship worked so well because the company took the time to show us his flaws before he achieved his goal. The best storytellers understand the importance of showing the audience as opposed to telling.

    In this instance, Page is so relatable because we've seen him fail and storm back from his lowest points. His new-found confidence and relationship with The Dark Order wouldn't feel nearly as endearing if we weren't there for all of his ups and downs.

    It would be easy to get lost in the shuffle on a roster with so many wrestlers who could just as easily be the face of a company. However, the 30-year-old is beloved because he deftly depicts the subtleties and growth of this character.

    Heading into his first big test as champion, Page surprisingly still has most of the crowd on his side as he prepares to face a fan favorite in Bryan Danielson. That's quite a glowing illustration of just how far he has come with AEW.

Bryan Danielson

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    Speaking of Hangman's upcoming opponent, Bryan Danielson has been on a phenomenal run this year.

    After his AEW debut in September, The American Dragon fought Kenny Omega to a draw in a contender for match of the year. Then, he went on to rack up 12 consecutive wins in search of his first world title victory with the company.

    Anyone familiar with Danielson shouldn't be surprised that he has delivered so many amazing matches in the last quarter of 2021. That was to be expected. After all, the technical wrestling enthusiast competed in the main event of WrestleMania 37 earlier this year.

    The 40-year-old hasn't missed a beat and what's more, this current iteration of his character is everything we didn't know we wanted and more. Danielson is no longer the earnest but undersized everyman who sparked The Yes! Movement. No, this is the Aberdeen, Washington native at his most potent.

    This is a cocky and violent version of the indie darling who can and will kick your head in. The No. 1 contender for the AEW World Championship has been playing this role to perfection and we can't wait to see more.

Roman Reigns

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    Roman Reigns continues to be one of the best characters in pro wrestling. In fact, it's hard to fathom how he and WWE struggled to find something this compelling for so long, because it's such a perfect fit.

    The Head of the Table will go down as one of the most successful reinventions among other stars like The Rock and Tetsuya Naito. Reigns has vastly improved at cutting promos, and his acting and natural humor put him in a class of his own.

    The Tribal Chief is a multi-faceted persona. He's cool and calculating but he's also tense and defensive. The 36-year-old manages to nail the calm demeanor, the unrest that comes with carrying the burden of being WWE's top guy, and the rage exhibited when his spot is threatened.

    The second-generation wrestler is doing the best work of his career on SmackDown. The biggest knock against him is a lack of legitimate challengers, but that's more of an indictment of WWE's inability to build up more than one major star at once.

    This is still Reigns' world and we're just living in it.