In today’s WWE, fans spend a great deal of time trying to get themselves over more than the wrestlers who risk their bodies for our enjoyment. One of the biggest ways for a fan to turn on a wrestler is if he or she is being pushed due to being a manufactured product of the WWE. John Cena has experienced this kind of reaction for 10 years, but still manages to endure crowds all over the country, even the world. Now, he is getting closer to retirement, and the fans have a new public enemy number one.
True, fans pay their tickets to cheer or boo whoever they want. However, with today’s wrestling, so many people do not have the patience to allow a story to unfold, which is supposed to add more suspense and intrigue to both the wrestlers, as well as the angles. Granted, WWE has partially succumbed to this lack of patience, and storylines are more contrived now than potentially they have ever been. Old School legends such as Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, Sting, Bruno Sammartino, and Ricky Steamboat were all where Roman Reigns is now – being pushed by the company as babyfaces. As a result of the fans being patient, and truly embracing the comic-book-come-to-life aspect of pro wrestling, these names are now WWE Hall of Famers.
In today’s society, each of the aforementioned names would have a very hard time surviving 50/50 crowds. Sure, we blame WWE for why many names on the roster are not getting over, but many fans have to look in the mirror as well. Rewinding 15 years, people such as the names mentioned, along with Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and The Rock all stood out because the fans strongly rallied behind their characters, which allowed each name to transcend the business.
However, if we were to fast-forward 15 years, the new batch of names in this generation who can honestly be in that same category is embarrassingly low. Not only due to the company poorly writing for the characters, but many of the fans hurting the ascension of the characters as well.
Sports Illustrated recently released a video of why people “hate” Roman Reigns. Before you see the video, let’s start off with this: if fans actually justify why they “hate” a professional wrestler, that is quite sad in and of itself. However, if people can explain why they hate the character of Roman Reigns, that means he is actually getting over. The stronger the boos, the more popular he becomes. This is why his merchandise sold more than any other full-time wrestler, as reported during WrestleMania 33 weekend.
Some of these reasons can easily be debunked.
Well, not really. In fact, Reigns has only won two pay-per-views the entire year – at Fastlane against Braun Strowman, and at WrestleMania against The Undertaker. The rest of the year, he lost to Kevin Owens at Royal Rumble (and was also eliminated from the Royal Rumble match later that night), lost to Braun Strowman at Payback, lost in the Fatal 5-Way match at Extreme Rules, lost to Strowman again at Great Balls of Fire, and lost the Fatal 4-Way match at SummerSlam.
What may shock people even more is that Reigns has only won 66% of his WWE matches. That means he loses one out of every three matches. Dean Ambrose is statistically similar, winning 60% of his matches. Yet, people don’t complain about Ambrose being “shoved down people’s throats.”
What does that even mean?
Well, not according to Dave Meltzer’s five star ratings. Here are a number of his singles matches that have received a four-star rating or more (not counting any of his multi-person matches, which a number of them have received four stars or more).
Our age? What age? Does this mean that people his age aren’t real fans? And why be apologetic about not liking a pro wrestler? The reasoning is quite vague.
Nope. The reason why Braun Strowman is so over is due to feuding with Roman Reigns. Reigns has repeatedly lost to Strowman on both Raw and pay-per-views the entire year. Their matches have been great and exciting, which have substantially raised the stock of Strowman. WWE tried to increase Strowman’s stock with other feuds over the past year (Sami Zayn and Big Show), but it did not work nearly as good as feuding with Reigns. Moreover, doesn’t Strowman fit the same reasoning as Reigns? In fact, he’s being pushed more strongly than Reigns, and is a WWE guy. But, no one complains about that. Sounds like a double standard.
At this point, the evidence of why people “hate” Roman Reigns just further shows that many fans are more concerned about getting themselves over than the wrestler in the ring.
And you can Believe. That.