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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Will We Soon Witness the Rise of Roman Reigns? (w/ Link to Radio Show)
By The Doc
Nov 12, 2013 - 12:30:21 PM

The Snowman is a genius

Question of the Day: How quickly could you envision Roman Reigns becoming a top star if they turned him babyface in the next month?

I believe that wrestling rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. There are legitimate sources out there that top wrestling sites, such as our own, use to keep the wrestling audience’s appetite for insider information satiated. A rumor is called a rumor for a reason. Sometimes, though, you read a series of rumors throughout the course of a week and they all seem to in some way, shape, or form imply something logical that could be verifiably true. Take, for instance, last week, when rumors stated that Big Show was getting pushed because the WWE wanted a renewed focus on larger than life athletes, that Wrestlemania plans were being finalized for all of the top superstars, and that Roman Reigns has an imminent babyface turn coming up that may very well find him as the next truly huge, traditional WWE main-eventer. If you take out the last part about Roman Reigns, then I don’t really give a hoot about the other stuff. It’s merely gossip. Wrestlemania’s “planned matches” change an average of twenty times per year according to the dirtsheets and I don’t really care about the reason that Show is being pushed – I just know I won’t be watching any PPV featuring him vs. Randy Orton as its main-event. Yet, when you look at Roman Reigns – a 6’3” 270 pound former defensive lineman and a member of the esteemed Anoa’i wrestling family – all the rumors blended together seem accurate.

I have said it from the start that Reigns would be the biggest star from The Shield. Good Lord, just look at his pedigree. His dad was one half of the Wild Samoans, his older brother was Rosey from Three Minute Warning (and a former Tag Team Champion), and half of his extended family has competed in the WWE from Rikishi to Yokozuna to the Usos to The Rock. He just looks like a star. He IS a star. The WWE wants a guy like him to be their #1 guy for the future because he has something that cannot be taught or developed. Roman Reigns has a presence; it is an intangible that is not dependent upon talent on the microphone or in the ring. Reminiscent of the mysterious, undefined “it” factor that gets so often lauded in the wrestling business, the presence provides a wrestler with a unique foundation for his entire career. Talent is built on that foundation. Roman’s cousin, Dwayne Johnson, represents a great example of work ethic and passion for sports entertainment being stacked on top of a natural presence. Look where that got The Rock. Presence is different, in my opinion, from the “it.” CM Punk has “it,” but he doesn’t have the kind of presence that does Reigns. It’s not just a good look either. It is the combination of a look and a natural intensity that makes Reigns believable as a star in a way that Punk could never duplicate. If Reigns wants to be “the future,” however, it will be wise for him to study a star like Punk as he continues to develop his skills. The Road Warriors and Goldberg had a presence about them, but they never had the right mixture of determination and passion that did The Rock. Maybe it really is, as Rock often stated, “in the blood.”

I continue to be confident that whoever emerges as John Cena’s successor will have the traditional top star physique; he will be an athlete; he will be a man who (at least) appears as though he could succeed at anything in sport but just happened to choose pro wrestling. He will not, I am equally as confident, make Chris Jericho look big by comparison nor will he draw comparisons to the short order cook at the Waffle House. Whoever is the “next great star” will look the part. So, I am not at all surprised that we are seeing rumors of the Roman Reigns fuse being lit. He has a ceiling much higher than the one made of glass.

Last night on Raw, the WWE teased tension between The Shield and the heel trio expected to replace them once they split, The Wyatt Family. That was a cool moment that garnered a huge reaction from the audience. Granted, it was an audience that gets Raw once per year in their country, so they were inherently expected to pop more for unique and/or major happenings, but surely the WWE was thrilled with the response. I certainly was. Though it appeared painfully thrown together to sell a Survivor Series that is not likely to draw buyers, anyway, I thought it was a compelling segment sure to get the people buzzing. A potentially noteworthy occurrence now seems possible for the November PPV, in which Reigns could outwardly display conflict with both the Wyatts and his own stablemates. That will be something to keep an eye on. I am sure that most fans and critics alike will be hoping that Reigns is turned slowly, but I would not be shocked if they tried to recreate some version of Batista in 2004. That was a “lightning in a bottle” scenario if there ever was one and lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot, but the pieces are in place with a very dislikeable top heel group in The Authority, one very over heel group at the top of the mid-card in Roman’s own Shield, and one emerging heel group in the middle of the card in the Wyatts. Personally, I think that Reigns has the intensity that would allow him to get over quickly with the general viewership as long as his babyface actions were smartly scripted, escalating attacks on the upper echelon bad guys, at first, and the tip top antagonists, at last.

Needless to say, that particular item on the rumor mill has me intrigued…

For those of you hoping to see CM Punk and Daniel Bryan stay at the top, I do not think that you should panic. Frankly, those guys are going to be just fine. Both are likely to headline (or maybe even main-event) Wrestlemania XXX. Rumors about pushing bigger guys might have the tendency to create a widespread internet community overreaction that unjustly paints the WWE with a brush of complete foolishness. Yes, I think that the WWE is stupid when it comes to Survivor Series (point taken in advance), but just because they desire to get larger-than-life stars at the top of the card does not simultaneously mean the demise of the smaller statured superstars that are the WWE’s most popular wrestlers. I think that the foreign crowds, especially those in England since they have such a well-established hot crowd, provide the WWE a good test market for gauging how over their roster is – to see what characters are working best in a “these guys get one Raw per year, so who did they really come to watch” kind of way. Punk and Bryan were #1 and #2 by a mile last night (in that order).

At the end of the day, small or large in size, a wrestler has to get over. That has been the most glaring difference this year with Daniel Bryan (and later CM Punk) being pushed as one of the top babyfaces – that he is far and away so much more universally popular than everyone else. People are invested in Bryan’s success…in Punk’s success…in Dolph Ziggler’s success. When the WWE goes to a major town, the audience chants over and over again for Bryan and Punk (and Ziggler to a lesser extent). Contrast that with Alberto Del Rio at the beginning of the year or Sheamus last year. Neither wrestler was over as a babyface in any way comparable to how over Bryan, Punk, and Ziggler are over. Right now, a vocal portion of the audience is championing the efforts of the hardest working guys with the skills that they recognize to be well-rounded. So, when and if the WWE decides to push Roman Reigns to the moon, rest assured that he will have to be over on a comparable level to actually become a consistent top talent that main-events Wrestlemanias and gets talked about as a successor to John Cena. Any other superstar with 6’3” plus, 250 plus pound credentials will have to do the same. Otherwise, they will end up like Sheamus and Del Rio – players, undoubtedly, but not realistic candidates to be wrestling legends like Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, or Brock Lesnar at the biggest shows of the year circa 2013/2014.


"The Doc Says..." 11/13 topics include Win and Fail of the week, Eddie Guerrero Memorial, and The WrestleMania Moment (Shield vs. Wyatts). Show features the return of Super Chrisss.

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