Reigns is on his way to becoming the most polarizing wrestler in the WWE, which is amazing considering he's been on the main roster for only a few years. It was a title long held by John Cena. The face of the WWE. Fruity pebbles. The forever underdog no matter how many championship he hoisted. A man whose stubbornness to change characters (i.e., turn heel) rivals only McMahon's stubbornness to step away from the creative side of the business.
For 14 years Cena has proudly worn that crown. But slowly he's losing it to Reigns who has the knack to irk the crowd even when he's tries to play superhero. His baby face demeanor--a far cry from his "Shield" days--is tough for educated wrestling fans to follow. It's like working on a school project with that shy high school kid who's trying to grow into his own. For the sake of your sanity and grade, you pray he grows out of the awkward phase overnight. Reigns is that kid.
So how did young Roman arrive at this uncomfortable phase of his wrestling career? Well, like most kids in high school who are trying to make it through puberty with as little shame as possible, he was pushed there by peer pressure and the prospect of fortune. In other words, by giving up a little bit of his soul, he could sit at the cool kids table.
Reigns is reportedly Vince McMahon's "guy." The issue is, he isn't quite ready to be the WWE Universe's "guy." He needs to improve in the ring. His mic skills need major tweaking and he needs to drop the good-guy character. In fact, if he dropped the good guy character, his mic skills would probably improve.
So, is there anything good we can say about Reigns? Yes. He has Potential. Lots of it. And that's what makes learning about him so exciting. If Reigns can manage to evolve into a complete wrestler faster than he can say "believe that," he'll win back the crowd. Remember, the WWE is like a gladiator ring, but without the guaranteed deaths at the end. Win the crowd. Make them believe in you and they'll keep you on top forever.
15 The Shield Might be Gone, But Reign's Personal Shield is Even More Impressive
When The Rock stormed the ring to help Reigns during the 2015 Royal Rumble, there was more back story than the WWE originally led on. For casual fans, it seemed odd. What was The Rock doing there? What connection did he have with Reigns? Well, a lot.
Reigns' wrestling family is as deep as The Rock's. In fact, they're cousins. Reigns' extended family also includes current WWE tag-team talent The Usos. A few weeks back on Raw, Reigns partnered up with Daniel Bryan to take on The Usos. It was clear Reigns was holding Bryan back when their opponents lay vulnerable. Family comes first and Reigns let it be known.
Given that Reigns is cousins to The Rock, can you guess who else he probably spent or spends the holidays with? If you guessed, Jimmy Snuka, the late Umaga, Tama of the Islanders and his father, Hall-of-Famer Sika, you'd be correct.
14 Roman Reigns Eliminated a Record Number of Stars from the 2014 Royal Rumble
The WWE wisely booked Reigns to lose the 2014 Royal Rumble. Yet before he lost, they made sure their future star would make a statement. And he did. Reigns eliminated a record 12 opponents.
While that's an interesting story, what's even more fascinating is how the WWE planned to use Reign's Rumble achievement to propel him to new heights. While it did--Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble--his new found fame has been ill received by fans.
13 Before The Shield, Reigns Was Part of Even Stronger Alliances
Reigns began to develop and sharpen his now imposing persona well before he stepped into the squared circle. It was during these early days he likely also developed a sense for how important it is to have strong allies.
Playing college defensive tackle for Chan Gailey's Yellow Jackets, Reigns stood side by side with future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson. When Reigns left college, the Minnesota Vikings signed him as an undrafted free agent. While brief, who was his teammate in Minnesota? Adrian Peterson. No wonder why Reigns holds such high expectations for both himself and those who surround him.
12 Reign's Brother Was on ABC's Show "Fat March"
While Reigns family has a long list of celebrated athletes who succeed in the ring, there are always those who don't. Reigns' brother Matt Anoa'i struggled to make it in the WWE. where he was known as Rosey, and was released on March 21, 2006.
Matt Anoai reportedly suffered from a number of health conditions--weight being one of them--which many believe were the reasons the WWE released him. In 2007, Anoa'i became a contest on the reality TV show "Fat March," where he and contestants would march 550 miles from the Boston Marathon finish line to Washington D.C. Due to knee problems, he had to stop the march in Pennsylvania. In January 2014, Anoa'i was hospitalized with congestive heart failure and a condition known as atrial fibrillation.
11 Reigns May Act Tough, but He's a Softy Inside
Reigns destroys opponents in the ring. He spears them back to the developmental leagues. But outside the ring, Reigns is much different. He's a family man who married his college sweetheart Galina Becker in December 2014 and has a young daughter named Joelle.
It's no surprise he's kept his marital status and immediate family a secret. It's tough to play a bully when everyone knows you're just a big softy back stage.
10 Reigns Always Owned The Shield, Even Before The Shield Existed
While most wrestlers spend years training before they even debut in WWE's developmental circles, Reigns skipped the former and just took over the latter. His size and athleticism propelled him through WWE's triple A roster, which included wins over Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Known as Leakee during his days with FCW (eventually NXT), Reigns either took on or tagged up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose 15 times in a number of different matches. When facing them, he never lost.
9 Reigns is the Youngest WWE Star to Win "The Superstar of the Year" Slammy
The Slammy Awards is the WWE's equivalent to the Academy or Grammy Awards. The only difference is that while the Academy Awards and Grammy's acknowledge past performances, the Slammys are mainly used to set up future stardom.
The Slammys are not a new concept, although, they have taking a number of hiatuses since their induction in 1986. Reigns acceptance of the award in December 2014 marked a significant point in his rise as an individual superstar. At 28 years old, he was the youngest superstar to win the award.
8 Fans Boo Reigns for Very Specific Reasons
As you might have guessed, The Rock is involved. However, you might not have known that Reigns' current WWE storyline is playing out similar to The Rock's during the mid 1990s. In recent years, The Rock has admitted it was often difficult to escape from his family's legendary wrestling shadow. Some believe Reigns is facing a similar dilemma. That is, Reigns--a widely accepted future face of the WWE--is being smothered by his cousin's shadow.
So, how did The Rock break away? He dropped his phony baby-face charade and turned heel by joining The Nation of Domination. When he eventually left the Nation of Domination, then Rocky Maivia changed his name to The Rock and the transformation was pretty much complete. Take from your cousin, Reigns. It worked for him and it could work for you.
7 One of Reigns' Matches Earned a 4.5 Star Rating
There are many reasons fans tend to love to hate Roman Reigns. One reason is because they feel he has a limited compilation of moves. Reigns is solely a high-impact superstar, which means he often has trouble filling in the gaps in between his high-impact moves such as the Superman Punch and Spear.
However, that didn't stop renowned wrestling expert and author of The Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer, from awarding Reigns and his Shield counterparts a 4.5 rating during their debut match at TLC 2012. Even The Rock and Undertaker never held that honor. The Rock failed to earn even a four rating during his on RAW in 1996 and Undertaker graded even lower. Meltzer awarded him a 3.5 rating. Now we get that Reigns was part of a tag-team, but a debut is a debut, right?
6 Reigns Has an Eye for the Bright Lights of Hollywood
If we're going to use a cliché, than the phrase "the apple doesn't fall from the tree" perfectly describes how much Reigns' family thinks alike. Reigns is open to the idea of staring in Hollywood and doesn't believe the spotlight will be too hot for him.
"If that opportunity comes up...I'm willing to try anything and gain a little experience in anything," Reigns said to Chuck Carroll on Turnbuckle Weekly. However, what made his cousin The Rock so successful in Hollywood was both the former's charm and success as a wrestler. Reigns has a long way to go before he holds a Championship belt as high as The Rock. In fact, he needs to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship first.
5 Reigns Would Transform into Iron Man Over Batman
Roman Reigns would prefer to be Iron Man over Batman because "Iron Man knows how to have fun." If he had given that answer while a part of The Shield--a group that dressed in all black and notoriously beat down opponents, the comment would have appeared out of place.
However, given Reigns' current baby-face character, the answer seems fitting. Reigns kicks ass in the ring and then seems to appreciate the people he beats. I suppose Iron Man does have a little more fun taking down his opponents than the always serious Batman.
4 Roman Reigns is NOT John Cena, He's Made That Clear
Roman Reigns has made it clear that he's NOT John Cena, but it's hard to believe that if you watch how fan's react when he enters the ring. Over the years, Cena has managed to pigeon hole himself as the company's biggest baby face character despite consistent boos from a crowd that wants nothing to do it.
Reigns recognizes that he's being compared to Cena and also wants nothing to do with that. In an interview with Reno Gazette Journal, Reigns pushed back when being asked about his comparisons to Cena. "As a company, we don't let people dictate to us what's supposed to happen. Last time I checked, my hair is long and jet black and last time I checked John Cena's isn't...So for anybody to compare me to him is completely asinine."
3 The Former Leader of The Shield Didn't Wrestle Much in 2014
Fans still want Dolph Ziggler to be a main event superstar. They wanted the company to give Cesaro his proper push. And they still long for the day Daniel Bryan officially etches his name into the WWE history books as one of the most revered champions ever. And right now, they'd take all of these superstars over Roman Reigns whose push, they feel, is unjustified.
Quite simply, Reigns hasn't developed enough of a resume to allow people to judge whether he's the right guy to lead the WWE. The following table shows how little Reigns has done compared to the three other wrestlers many fans still pull for.
Not only has Reigns wrestled less than the other three personalities, his matches simply aren't as highly rated. While Dave Meltzer, author of Wrestling Observer, awarded Ziggler and Cesaro a 4.0 rating or above in at least one of their singles matches during their careers, he has yet to do the same for Reigns. And Bryan tops them all, earning the award three times in 2013 and six since joining the WWE's main roster.
2 Reigns Has Never Won a Singles Championship
No. We aren't just talking about in the WWE. Reigns has never won a singles title ever. And ever, as in, not in the developmental leagues and probably not even when he was practicing wrestling moves in his backyard on a trampoline.
Another issue fans have with Reigns is he has spent more time on the microphone and in tag matches than trying to win singles championships. And that's going back to his days in the developmental league. It's often tough for devoted wrestling fans to watch Reigns get the push when even Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins--his former Shield counterparts--have both held a single's belt high multiple times.
1 CM Punk Did Not Want Reigns a Part of the "Hounds of Justice"
By now, it's no surprise why CM Punk left the WWE. He cites being forced to wrestle when injured despite doctor's orders not too. He even alludes to performing with wrestlers who did not know how to wrestle properly. And finally, Punk mentions that creative differences in regards to his character led him to finally walk out of the WWE for good. But few people probably know that he also disagreed greatly with how WWE's creative team formed other characters.
Punk not only wanted The Shield to support him--they kind of did--but he never wanted Roman Reigns as the group's leader. Instead, he suggested the group be comprised of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Chris Hero. Triple H dismissed Hero and suggested Reigns instead. Punk's reaction: "It was not his hill to die on."