Why Wrestling Fans Will Never Really Love Roman Reigns
During the short, glorious time they were together, The Shield made sure everyone knew they considered each other brothers. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose put their personal safety on the line for each other, like family does. A great part of that faction’s appeal depended on how much the audience bought into those bonds of brotherhood. When Rollins picked up that chair and shattered The Shield with a quick smack to Roman’s back, much to Dean’s shock, it resonated with fans. It hurt.
Even almost three years after the fact, the break-up of The Shield is why Roman Reigns is the most hated man in the WWE Universe right now.
Let’s look at The Shield as actual brothers, victims of a broken home, all wandering through their own career paths with a set of typical psychological traits they cannot help but exhibit.
The first born are always cautious and controlling. This is because they realize their younger siblings are also watching, waiting to see what they can get away with. They sleep with one eye open, and quickly learn the importance of striking first and often. The Shield’s oldest brother, Seth Rollins, became the Alpha Male as soon as he sold out to The Authority. It was a way to hedge his bets, the fastest way to get to the top. He is the classic overachiever. It was also a simple way to ensure that he would dominate over his former Shield brothers, aligning with the people in charge, to get the best matches and the opponents with the highest-profiles.
The youngest kids are always the least controlled by their parents. They tend to be outgoing, self-centered, and always craving the spotlight. As the youngest, Dean Ambrose is acting out his psychological traits perfectly. He is impulsive, somewhat of a loon, and if he ever had any fucks to give, he sure doesn’t have them now. He’s the little brother and he gets away with everything. Steph couldn’t stop him. Daniel Bryan can’t stop him. If Dean-o wants to fill Seth’s Money in the Bank briefcase with exploding green slime, he will. Everyone will think it is funny, and he’ll get away with it, just like your little brother got away with watching whatever he wanted on television.
Where does that leave poor Roman? He’s lost, floundering, not as free-wheeling and charming as his younger brother, Dean. He’s not as cunning or tenacious as his older sibling, Seth. Who is he? Roman never quite makes that connection. He wants to please everyone around him, but his awkwardness prevents him from really going over with any audience. Reigns may have thought, if only for a second, that defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 would get him over. The torch was being passed! Finally, he would have credibility. That’s not what happened. Instead, Reigns was cursed and shouted out of the ring, maybe out of the arena.
It’s not just the feeling that Vince, the overbearing father, forced Roman to go out and try to make friends. It’s the fact that he never learned that skill set. With Seth taking down the King of Kings and Ambrose interrupting matches on a forklift, Roman is still trying to figure out how to get a cute girl to dance with him at the prom.
We may get to the point where we can tolerate Roman. We might even start to like him. But, while his brothers are still around, we are never going to love Roman Reigns.
It’s not bad writing. It’s not even bad booking.
It’s human nature.