As was witnessed by those in the WWE Universe who watched the Roman Reigns versus John Cena match at No Mercy, Cena took the pin and passed the metaphorical torch to Reigns who is now considered the chosen one to lead the WWE into the future. As Cena starts to say goodbye to the WWE and Reigns starts to run the show, fans got to witness a moment that was both touching, and the fans gave just an ounce of the respect Cena has earned for his 15 years of service.
John Cena isn't leaving for good, but it has long been rumored he'll be cutting back his WWE schedule while Reigns is slated to take over. Already acting the part, Reigns has been known to boot guys off the bus (looking at you Enzo Amore) for not respecting the business, he's taking on more responsibility with charitable organizations outside the ring and he's looked at by many in the locker room as the guy who they hope can bring WWE back to better attendance and television ratings. It's a tall task.
There is one person, however, who feels to call Reigns "the guy" means something very different than what most of us believe being "the guy" is supposed to mean.
WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler explained on his show 'Dinner With The King,' that being "the guy" in WWE, as Cena was for so many years, has a different connotation than most people think. While most of us connect the captain of a team to being there with his teammates, offering encouraging words of wisdom or urging on his fellow mates, in the WWE it means moving up a notch.
"There is a little bit of a fallacy in the fact of the guy that is “the guy” is the locker room leader; that is just not necessary real. A guy like Brock Lesnar; you never see Brock.He’s always on his bus or his own locker room (and) you never see him. He stays in there until basically it’s time for his match (then) he goes out and comes back, and then he’s gone," says Lawler.
"The guy" doesn't dress with the rest of the talent, doesn't travel with the rest of the talent and definitely isn't seen with the rest of the talent. At least, not as much as he was before being deemed the man.
Reigns will have a say as to how much he wants to separate himself at first, but like Cena and Brock Lesnar, to be "the guy" in the WWE means you're in a whole new world. You're Vince McMahon's buddy now and that means a different set of standards and a different set of rules. You become above the rest of the room while speaking on behalf of the room. Often, that dynamic creates a little jealousy and internal competition.
It will be interesting to see how this promotion reflects on the popularity of Reigns or if it matters in the slightest. Right now, he's popular to McMahon, but to the WWE Universe, a popular whipping boy. What we don't know is how much or how little the rest of the locker room respects him. We're likely to find out.