Why Roman Reigns Turning Heel Isn’t Enough


The WWE house is on fire and the solution which includes Roman Reigns is to add more gasoline.

In 1518, Spanish explorer and conqueror Hernan Cortez set sail from Hispaniola to Mexico against the orders of Governor Diego Velázquez. He took with him 11 ships and more than 500 soldiers and sailors with dreams of claiming vast wealth for themselves. Expeditions to Mexico were nothing new, but a financial return on these campaigns had proved impossible and Cortez was determined to succeed where others had failed.

Cortez was saying, “I can. I will.”

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As with most dreams, the beginning of the journey is the easiest part. Motivation is high, carried aloft by the images of achieving your goal, whatever it may be. The same is true for both Cortez and Vince McMahon.

Convincing and winning over crowds of people is easy when you promise them a better life and a change from the ordinary. Cortez spoke of gold and precious jewels. His men became starry-eyed at the prospect of becoming incredibly wealthy and living out their garish lifestyles in paradise. McMahon gave us The Shield. These men were the new defenders of the WWE Universe, beholden to no one except themselves. After the Seth Rollins betrayal, each man was left to fail or succeed on their own. Rollins and Ambrose found acceptance with the fans but it was Roman Reigns who found favor with McMahon and so he received the push.

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It didn’t take long on their respective journeys for Cortez and McMahon to realize there was a problem. As the dream began to fade, their supporters started to turn. Loyalty was replaced with doubt and now the goal appeared to be lost. Cortez risked imprisonment or death if he returned to face the consequences of his defiance and so once they arrived in Mexico, Cortez ordered his men to burn the boats that had brought them there.  They would either succeed in their quest for fame and glory or they would die. There was no going back. In many ways, McMahon has burned boats, bridges and everything in-between in his quest to crown Roman Reigns as the new face of the WWE, but nothing seems to be working. The WWE Universe simply won’t accept this version of Reigns.

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The initial reaction from the IWC has been to call for a Reigns heel turn but it cannot end there. Being a successful heel in professional wrestling is an art that is arguably more difficult than being a fan-favorite babyface. You have to convince the crowd to accept you against their better judgment by performing in such a way that they have no choice but to respect you. You have to be better on the mic and in the ring than you were in your previous life as a face. Your natural charisma must shine through or else the fans will sniff out your script reading and artificial behavior. Reigns cannot simply turn heel; he must embrace the “one vs. all” philosophy and take out his frustration on everyone once perceived as an ally. This means Dean Ambrose. This means The Usos. This even means The Rock. Everything must burn.

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This is not an impossible task, but it will be difficult. The Rock did it. Stone Cold did it. Seth Rollins did it. These men didn’t just become villains; they burned their boats, left everything behind and were rewarded for it. A heel turn for Reigns seems more and more likely but if the WWE plays it safe, they can expect more of the same.