Roman Reigns’ Controlled WWE Booking Should Be Changed


If the WWE would loosen the creative stranglehold on Roman Reigns we could have some of the best segments on television.

When The Rock made a “surprise” appearance on the Jan. 25th edition of RAW, he inadvertently exposed a glaring flaw with the current crop of superstars by showcasing the one thing a majority of them lack: charisma. These men and women are professional wrestlers and charisma comes with the gig, right? The problem with charisma is that it cannot be taught. It can be nurtured and it can be groomed but it cannot be created from the ether. You simply have it or you don’t.

As WWE is wont to do, they initially teased via Twitter that a “major star” was going to be in the building that night. According to WWE marketing logic, the worst thing in the world would be an real surprise and since they have such little faith in fallout shows as of late, the hope was that we would all be perplexed until the inevitable reveal.  Little did they know there are as-yet-discovered tribes deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle who knew that The Rock was going to be the surprise guest. Anytime WWE is in Miami there is a better than average chance Rocky will make an appearance because of its geographical convenience for him and he gets to personally promote his numerous projects with a golden ticket to do almost anything he wishes in front of millions of fans.

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After an entertaining backstage segment which featured a handful of superstars, Rock went “off the script” and began interacting with members of the audience who were dressed as classic wrestlers. This happened despite them being previously moved by security from their ringside, on-camera seats to a section closer to the ring bell and conspicuously out of the camera’s view. There were boos from the crowd as the men were moved and WWE hoped this would be the end of their shenanigans. Instead of ignoring them, Rock turned into the skid and left the ring to address them head on, which reportedly caused much necktie-pulling backstage.

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This kind of interaction is unique and meaningful for a few reasons. It takes the attention away from the fans in a way that is less obvious than segregating them as social pariahs. Instead of allowing them to take away from what was happening in the ring, Rock had the crowd firmly in his grasp, hanging on his every word. These men were no longer a distraction; they were part of the show. Backstage may have hated it but the crowd loved it.

Since the Attitude Era ended and the Internet Era took over, Vince & Co. have been less interested in taking risks and more comfortable with slowly turning their once-incredible in-ring promos into scripted, wooden performances. The segments we once enjoyed from naturally charismatic wrestlers like CM Punk have been replaced by painfully bad speeches from Roman Reigns. The twist is that according to both Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin, Reigns is a naturally funny and quick-witted individual. In Nov. 2015, Foley took to Facebook to express this sentiment:

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"“There’s a difference between playing to win, and playing not to lose: one breeds confidence, the other breeds fear. It’s the difference between cutting the type of promos Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dwayne The Rock Johnson gave, and the cookie-cutter approach all too often employed these days by WWE creative. One style allowed for creativity and emotion. The other calls for memorization and recitation.”"

Some of us remember that Rock was loathed in his initial persona as the “Blue Chipper” because it was a force-fed schtick that fans sniffed out almost immediately. It wasn’t until he was able to channel his inner heel that we saw just how naturally gifted this man was in all facets of sports entertainment. If Roman Reigns was given more freedom with his character we could see better performances all around and maybe even a legitimate hero that strengthens fan appreciation and garners respect from critics. Instead of that guy, we get “tater tots” jokes.

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Whether or not Rock gets paid for his various appearances is irrelevant (I’m sure he does even though he doesn’t need the money) because above all else he has a deep love for the professional wrestling business that rivals only Triple H in its devotion. The Rock is a global star and has zero reason to ever step foot in a WWE ring again, yet he continues to do so because his ultimate passion is entertainment, whether on a movie screen or in a squared circle. Too many within the current crop of superstars seem to treat wrestling as a job, not a calling. That passion is what’s missing from the WWE as of late.