He’s not a good guy, he’s not a bad guy, he’s just the guy...that you absolutely love to hate. If you ask any wrestling fan on the internet what wrestler they hate more than any other in the WWE right now, you’re probably going to get Roman Reigns as an answer. Reigns, who debuted in 2012 with The Shield, didn’t go solo until two years ago. Since then, he has won three WWE World Heavyweight Championships, a Royal Rumble (in which he had the most eliminations in the match’s history) and a Slammy in 2014 for Superstar of the Year.
The WWE wants you to like Reigns, but it just hasn’t happened for most of you out there. Instead, a lot of fans boo Reigns louder than they cheer most of their favorites. It has gotten to the point where they have turned down crowd microphones when Reigns comes out so the boos aren’t overbearing on television.
I was at the 2016 Money in the Bank pay per view and even showing a quick glimpse of Reigns on the Titantron garnered a ton of hate from the crowd. Then, when he came out for the main event match with Seth Rollins, it was deafening (although there were plenty of higher pitched cheers). It got me to thinking “why exactly do people hate Roman Reigns so much?” Instead of just one simple reason, I came up with 15 of them.
So here are 15 of the reasons why fans, especially those that frequent internet message boards, might hate Roman Reigns so much. See if your hatred fits into any of these categories.
15 Franchise Player
Before Roman Reigns, all of the hatred from the internet wrestling community went towards John Cena. Cena was designated as the franchise representative of the company a decade ago and now it appears that the brass at WWE are trying to make the transition from Cena to Reigns as Cena gets closer to 40 years old.
The reason that people aren’t happy with that is the fact that there doesn’t really need to be a franchise guy in the WWE. After seeing Cena dominate and bury people for the past decade, fans would rather see some parity when it comes to who is on top of the kayfabe tier list. People thought they might be getting a break with Cena seemingly winding down compared to previous years, only to have Reigns pop up and become the new Cena. People don’t want another Cena right now, especially since the current Cena hasn’t even left yet.
It’s 2016 and a lot of wrestling fans don’t like the old school power moveset in wrestling that was so common 20 or 30 years ago. Internet fans in general have some particular wrestlers that they like because of their movesets. Neville is a fan favorite because of his high flying, Cesaro is another favorite because he shows an incredible amount of power and effectiveness without looking stale and Kevin Owens is an example of showing off moves that most people with his body type wouldn’t be able to pull off.
Then you have Reigns. Reigns suffers from the same “Five moves of doom” treatment that John Cena used to have, but Reigns’ moveset is somehow even more bland. His signature is the Superman Punch while his finisher is the Spear. Those are about as dry and simple as you can get in a moveset. His only move that has any kind of appeal is his dropkick leap onto the apron, but even that’s gotten old with Reigns haters.
13 Promo Work
Even if you aren’t the best wrestler in the ring, people will still be ready to cheer for you as long as you are great on the microphone. Even Dean Ambrose, the current WWE Champion, doesn’t have an overly impressive moveset, but when he grabs a mic, people will listen. As long as you’re a strong talker, you can get over with a crowd or grab the heel heat that you want. Even Enzo and Cass were over as soon as they debuted because they connect with the crowd so well.
Reigns doesn’t quite have that ability, at least yet. Wrestling fans have cringed at some of the promos that Reigns has delivered so far, ranging from the “tater tots” line that was repeated ad nauseum to that weird beanstalk story. Part of it is the powers that be making Reigns repeat lines that they thought were clever like being “the guy.” It’s not helping.
12 Lack of Depth
Wrestling fans are always drawn to characters that have a lot of depth when it comes to their gimmick. Dean Ambrose has the whole “crazy” thing working for him while Seth Rollins is basically a narcissist and a chicken at the same time. Then you have guys like Bray Wyatt and (at one point) CM Punk that were essentially leading cults, giving them a lot of personality and something to work with.
The Reigns character right now has pretty much no depth, making it a stale gimmick. Reigns has been given the same old “ass kicker” gimmick that we have seen so many other times with guys like Brock Lesnar. The difference there is that Lesnar doesn't do any of the talking and has depth because he is a hired mercenary who has promo legend Paul Heyman doing all of the talking for him. Reigns does all of the talking himself and it doesn’t go well.
There is a good chance that you don’t even hate Roman Reigns, you just hate the way that he has been booked so far in his career. Almost everyone associated with wrestling not named Vince McMahon has hated Reigns’ booking. There are even rumors that Reigns has said behind clothes doors that he hates the way that he’s booked because he doesn’t want the fans to hate him.
Yet, he has been protected to the point of being ridiculous and somehow still predictable at the same time. In his singles career, the only time that he was pinned clean was against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. Not only was that very recently, but it came just hours before WWE announced that Reigns was being suspended (more on that), so would he have even lost that match if not for the suspension? After beating guys like Triple H and never eating a pin from Brock Lesnar, we doubt it.
10 You’re Not a Kid
Now that you’re older, you probably hate Roman Reigns because of the fact that he never loses. If you’re a kid, though, you love Roman for the same reason. Think about it, what age demographic roots for teams like the Patriots or Seahawks in the NFL more than any of the other teams combined? It’s kids. Kids love winners, plain and simple, which is why there are still so many that latch onto John Cena.
If that sounds ridiculous, think back to The Attitude Era. Your favorite wrestler was probably Stone Cold Steve Austin. While Austin wasn’t booked as ridiculously as Reigns has been, he was still extremely protected during his run at the top. Getting old simply makes cynics out of all of us, it’s only a matter of time.
9 Shot to the Moon
While Austin and Reigns might have had their booking in common, Austin doesn’t get the backlash for being so protected throughout his career because he earned it in the eyes of wrestling fans. That’s because Austin was in WCW for four years, didn’t work out there, then went to ECW for a short stint before finally making it to the WWE. Even then, it would be a year before Austin finally developed his character and became a fan favorite.
Roman Reigns hadn’t been wrestling for long before getting his first title shot. Reigns was signed by WWE in 2010 and within five years was not only on the main roster, but was headlining multiple WrestleManias against the likes of Brock Lesnar and Triple H. From no wrestling experience to multiple ‘Mania main events is normally too fast, unless you’re Lesnar, which is why people think Reigns was being pushed too much too quickly.
8 Same Look
When factions in wrestling get broken up, those that go solo usually get their own look and their own music. While members of The Shield from 2012 to 2014, all three members wore the same combat gear, came out to the same catchy guitar riff and made their way to the ring through the crowd. After splitting up, Rollins and Ambrose completely changed their look (with Ambrose even wearing a tanktop and jeans) and started walking to the ring via the ramp.
Meanwhile, Reigns kept the same gear from The Shield days, the same music and the same entrance. In recent months, the only thing that has changed is his entrance, as he now uses the ramp. Keeping everything the same has ruined any identity that Reigns has as an individual. It would have worked if Reigns was designated as “The Architect” of The Shield, but that title belonged to Rollins.
7 He Beats Fan Favorites
You don’t like Roman Reigns, but you like a lot of other wrestlers. Naturally, you want to see those guys beat Reigns, but it just doesn’t happen. While Reigns could have beaten up exclusively on guys that were actually getting heel heat with the crowd, he has defeated just about anyone and everyone. This has included a lot of wrestlers who are fan favorites that ‘paid their dues’ through the years.
Just this year, Reigns defeated newcomer A.J. Styles in two different pay per view main events. He has also defeated Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, CM Punk and multiple others. There was one match that stood out among the rest, however. That match came at WWE Fastlane in 2015 with a shot at the WrestleMania main event against Daniel Bryan. When Reigns won the match, everyone knew he was going to be pushed even more than before.
6 Unwarranted Praise
Speaking of the match with Daniel Bryan, another thing that rubbed fans the wrong way was the fact that Bryan basically stroked Reigns’ ego by saying that he was indeed one of the best wrestlers around. Bryan isn’t the only one to hop on the mic and go out of his way to give praise to Reigns by a long shot, either. Mark Henry turned from heel to face after losing to Reigns, just to say how good of a wrestler Reigns was (and apparently has magical powers).
Even Paul Heyman continuously praised Reigns during his leadup to the match with Brock Lesnar, to the point that people in the crowd started to boo Heyman. Legends have come out of the woodwork and back into the ring just to say how much they like Reigns. It got bad enough at one point that people online were commenting over and over about how they just rolled their eyes and changed the channel when a praise-fest started on the mic.
It’s not a secret that Vince McMahon has a certain type of wrestler that he likes to book at the top of his promotion. The average main eventer for Vince and Co. is usually quite tall and more muscular than most bodybuilders. Vince also likes former athletes and Reigns fits all three of those criteria (although we found out that the muscle might not be natural). Reigns is listed right around the same height as Brock Lesnar and the former college football player is billed at around 270 pounds.
He also has the long wet hair that Vince and Triple H seem to like a lot, since it makes it easier to sell moves. Perhaps they think that Seth Rollins is a bit too short at 6’1” or that Dean Ambrose isn’t quite jacked enough at a billed 225 pounds. Regardless, the big half Samoan and half Italian has a look that can sell with children and women, which is what the goal has always been.
4 Wellness Violation
The most recent reason that people have taken to hating Roman Reigns is because of the suspension that came on June 21st, 2016, just a day after he dropped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. Fans that liked him were disappointed in the news with some turning on him while those that already hated him were getting even more fuel for their fire.
What Reigns tested positive for on his wellness test is up in the air. A lot of people have just assumed that it’s steroids, while early reports have said that amphetamines popped up on the test. That doesn’t really narrow it down since amphetamines can be used in anything from meth and ADHD medication to PEDs. We’re going to go ahead and guess it’s the latter, since Reigns doesn’t seem to look like much of a meth guy.
3 Family Matters
Nepotism: Favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship. That definition comes straight from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and it helps to explain a little bit about why Roman Reigns has been pushed so hard, leading to the hate. Vince McMahon has always owed a bit of his company to the Anoa’i family that has plenty of famous blood and non-blood relatives in the wrestling business.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has helped make the WWE millions and he is a non-biological cousin of Roman Reigns. Meanwhile, Reigns is biologically related to wrestlers like Yokozuna, Umaga, The Usos and Rikishi. To think that his family lineage didn’t play a part in Reigns’ push to the top would be a bit shortsighted, as Vince has always had a soft spot for the family. They even tried to trot out The Rock to put Reigns over after he won the Royal Rumble in 2015, and it failed miserably.
2 He’s Not a Heel
When they made their debut back in late 2012, The Shield played the role of heels until they attacked Kane and The Authority in 2014. It was then that the group became fan favorites until Seth Rollins turned on the group in June 2014, instantly turning him heel. Since then, Rollins has never had a babyface turn while Reigns hasn’t had a heel turn. Despite that, Rollins has been cheered with great passion by crowds while Reigns has been booed mercilessly.
The simple solution would just to do a double turn between the two and make Rollins a fan favorite while generating Reigns a lot of heel heat. Instead, the creative team refuses to make Reigns a heel, which does not sit well with fans. As a matter of fact, it’s another piece of evidence that Reigns is going to be the “underdog babyface” for the next decade just like Cena has been.
1 You’re Just Jealous
If you don’t agree with any of the other reasons that Roman Reigns would be hated by wrestling fans, there’s one more and it’s the fact that you might just be a jealous hater. All of us want to be the top guy wherever we work, but maybe there’s always some hotshot that has been sent straight to the top, has some family connections at the office and has the girl you’ve had your eye on talking about him.
Jealousy is a perfectly good reason to hate Reigns, because he reminds you of someone you know. It’s the same reason that we all loved Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the 1990s, because he looked like the normal beer drinking guy next door that did something you never had the nerve to; beat the crap out of your egotistical boss while getting rewarded for doing it.