Daily DDT released the first edition of our End of the Year Awards, looking back across 2021 and picking out the top achievers throughout the year. Many of the races were close, but the award for the male wrestler of the year was one of the tightest. Three names stood out as top contenders, but it would be Roman Reigns who took first place, overcoming Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson in what was a tight race.
Each week, Reigns walks out to the SmackDown ring and demands that the WWE Universe acknowledge him. This award is a step in that direction, as the voters recognize him as the best men’s performer for the entire year.
What Reigns has done with this iteration of his character is everything that fans wanted to see from the former member of The Shield for years. He’s a manipulative, demanding, a fearsome force that has a grip on the entire WWE locker room with an iron fist.
As the “dictator” of the WWE locker room, Reigns is in the midst of a 500-plus day run with the Universal Title. During this phase of the run, he’s dispatched the likes of Daniel Bryan, Edge, Cesaro, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Finn Balor, and Brock Lesnar. That’s an exceptional run that can be compared to any other individual’s run across professional wrestling during that same time.
Are there complaints about Reigns’s current tenure as champion? Yes, as with anything else in the industry. Reigns is running out of challengers and the looming shadow of another feud with Lesnar doesn’t help the situation much. Has his run as champion helped elevate any other WWE roster members? Initially, it was a boost to Jey Uso, but outside of that, it’s hard to find someone that is in a better place than they were coming off their feud with Reigns. While that’s more indicative of WWE’s poor creativity, it is a clear knock against Reigns’s current run as champion.
January is halfway over, and a lot is going to happen throughout 2022. Will Roman Reigns drop the title? That’s a huge question that’s going to have a massive impact on whoever picks up that valuable win for the Universal Championship. But before that point comes, it’s an important step to look back at Roman’s transition from The Big Dog to the Head of the Table. That run earned Roman Reigns the recognition of Daily DDT’s 2021 Male Wrestler of the Year.