It was almost impossible for Roman Reigns this past Sunday at The Royal Rumble. He has fallen foul of a new law in American pro wrestling, the charge of ‘not being Daniel Bryan’. For this I truly feel for him.
As the constant booing grew louder in volume in Philadelphia it became obvious the latter half of the Rumble itself was not scoring high on the customer satisfaction survey. Reigns tried to make the best of it, even The Rock was brought out to try and ease the pain but nothing seemed to work. The WWE’s idea of satisfactory and the fan’s seemed very far apart indeed.
I must admit to thinking the Rumble match itself started really well. Bubba Ray’s entrance was a great surprise entrant, as was DDP who looks remarkable for his age. I even marked out for The Wyatt Family brawl. As soon as Daniel Bryan came into the fray the stage seemed set.
What didn’t help matters were the final four. Once Ambrose and Reigns stared across the ring at The Big Show and Kane who are both well past their sell by dates as performers it was plain where it was going. Once Ambrose went there was the thought that there was no way Wrestlemania 31 would be headlined by Show or Kane vs Lesnar. The only way they could go was with Reigns. Any tension was sucked away, you were waiting for the inevitable.
Within 24 hours we had the backlash with the #cancelwwenetwork tag trending on Twitter. It says something about how over Daniel Bryan is when entire campaigns grow as a result of his storyline failure. Are we as fans expecting too much though? If Daniel Bryan had won the Rumble we would only seen people turn around and say how predictable it was and how Bryan was getting another title shot two years running.
It’s a huge irony that if Reigns had won last year’s Rumble by throwing Batista out last he’d have been hailed a hero as we marched onwards to Reigns vs Orton for the title. The difference last year was the fact Batista had only just come back and we’d seen Orton vs Batista many times over, many years ago. Say what you will about Roman but at least we’re getting a different match line up this time.
The hatred of Reigns stems from the fact we were told he was Vince’s pet project a long time ago. The rumour floated a while ago that Vince was writing Roman’s promos personally. Roman didn’t have the climb through the Indies like Daniel Bryan did. Reigns is a product of WWE.
As far as his perceived short comings go he’s far from the first big man to have a possible title run fairly early in his career, nor is he the first to wear gold when his mic ability is suspect. As wrestling fans we sometimes leap to conclusions of angles before they can develop. Daniel Bryan’s 18 second loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28 was panned at the time and yet it became fundamental to Bryan’s character as it is now.
Personslly I’m willing to wait out the next few weeks and give Roman Reigns a chance. If he does win the title (and everything in me says he will) then we may have the first fresh titleholder in a long time. This in turn could boost interest in the product as a whole.
Especially if Seth Rollins cashes in at some point.