Kurt Angle Thinks Roman Reigns Should Turn Heel


Talk of a Roman Reigns heel turn has been swirling for over a year, but could the new RAW GM actually make it happen?

If you have been watching WWE programming for at least the last year, you have no doubt heard the hatred and bile spewed towards Vince McMahon’s favorite underdog, Roman Reigns. The WWE Universe hasn’t accepted Reigns since The Shield disbanded and the reasons why vary from person to person. While fans may disagree on the specifics, the overall theme for their displeasure seems to be that they don’t like how Reigns has been “forced” on them in a way that makes them feel obligated to cheer for him. As a result, Reigns faces hostile crowds of dissatisfied wrestling fans each week.

It is clear the WWE creative team disagrees as Reigns has received push after push into the main event scene with the story always being the same: he will overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve his goal and he will be victorious. This narrative is as old as professional wrestling itself and usually plays out very well for both the performers and the fans. Hulk Hogan was put into this same scenario against Andre the Giant and Hogan’s improbable victory gave birth to the pop culture phenomenon that was Hulkamania. More recently, Daniel Bryan faced roadblocks at almost every turn until rabid fan appreciation and his own impressive in-ring performances earned him WWE gold and a position as Smackdown General Manager.

Roman  Reigns is different. The fans know he has been anointed by McMahon and thus they refuse to accept his coronation as the top guy in WWE. This push-back has led many fans (including myself) to wonder why the company doesn’t recognize the rift and use it to their advantage instead of swimming against the tide. Roman Reigns is a solid performer and could potentially be even better if the good guy gloves were taken off and he was allowed to be a heel. Many of us thought this is what we would see after his victory (and ice cold reception from fans) over The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. Defiance and bravado in the wake of retiring one of the last living legends in the WWE would have been a solid and believable character shift, but it did not happen.

This is where the new RAW General Manager comes into play. Kurt Angle has been singing the professional praises of Reigns for quite some time, but his pragmatic approach to the business side of the character may be the catalyst for a dramatic shift. Angle recently spoke with WTOP.com and had this to say about a potential Reigns heel turn:

"“The issue with Roman is he was utilized and pushed way too fast. When you skip the U.S. Title, Intercontinental Title, the King of the Ring and go right to the top, fans don’t like that. Half the fans love him; half the fans hate him. Same with Cena. When Cena came in, Vince pushed the hell out of him and fans were like, ‘Gosh, dang. This guy’s invincible. I hate him!’. If Vince waits it out a bit, fans will start to accept [Reigns], and if they don’t, then turn him heel.”"

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Kurt Angle knows a thing or two about embracing the dark side. He masterfully portrayed both good and evil versions of his Olympic hero during his initial run in the WWE and I doubt he would be in the Hall of Fame if he had only stuck with one gimmick. Thanks to Angle embracing the hate, the deafening chants of “YOU SUCK!” are now screamed with reverence, not hatred. If the WWE is smart, they will allow Reigns to walk a similar path with hopefully similar results.