The Roman Reigns Experiment has been a wild one for WWE. After a rocky start last year, they seemed to get him back on track by having him win the title and get cheered in the same Philadelphia arena that booed him out of the building at Royal Rumble 2015.
However, Roman was neutered at this year’s Rumble and he never seemed to recover, despite his ability to have great matches. Fans just never seemed to latch on to him and the feeling that they were being force-fed a champion usually ends badly. And then there were the promos … which were never great. I’m not sure how much of the pushback falls on Roman, but it seems like he was dealt a bunch of bad hands along the way.
Regardless of the outrage and fan reactions, WWE was hellbent on making Reigns the face of the company in John Cena’s absence. Well, that experiment seems to have run its course … at least for now, and not just because he lost the belt Sunday night. The Wrestling Observer has some ominous news for Reigns’ championship run.
Roman Reigns’ house show numbers have reportedly been particularly bad. He’s been on the “A” shows, but they haven’t been performing as well as the “B” shows, which are performed in smaller towns and are headlined by Dean Ambrose. House shows also saw a 30 percent drop in May compared to last year. While the injuries have impacted ticket sales for sure, it always falls on the champion to bring the fans to the seats.
Roman Reigns has been the champion three times in the last eight months so it’s hard to imagine WWE going back to him so quickly. So it’s possible this is a long-term move away from him. It’s also possible Reigns is going to get a heel run before being a huge babyface in the future.
Whatever the case, I think in the long run Reigns has value as a top star. He was just rushed to a spot he wasn’t necessarily ready for and a victim of botched execution from the higher-ups. Maybe with less pressure on him, he can flourish and show us exactly where he belongs.