After receiving a 30-day suspension for violating the WWE’s wellness policy and struggling to connect with fans, it might be time to reconsider Roman Reigns’ role as John Cena’s replacement.
Roman Reigns’s rise to the top of the WWE was controversial, to say the least. After the break up of The Shield in 2014, Reigns received the biggest push of his career, a push that many believe was undeserved.
While his former partners, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, feuded with each other, Reigns was directly inserted into the WWE title scene. He earned an opportunity to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank after he won a battle royal on Monday Night Raw a few weeks prior.
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He failed to win the title at Money in the Bank, but it was not his last opportunity at the title. He spent the next few months feuding with Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and The Big Show, rarely losing along the way.
Reigns’ biggest break came at Survivor Series after he beat Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. His reign as champion was short lived because he lost the title five minutes after winning it, when Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Reigns.
The two wrestlers spent the next couple months fighting for the title. Fans were already unhappy with Reigns’ sudden push to the top, but things worsened after Sheamus entered the title picture.
Sheamus isn’t exactly a fan favorite and this became even more apparent during his matches with Reigns at TLC and Raw. Fans in the crowd would bombard the duo with loud boos and ‘boring’ chants during their matches.
Reigns went on to win the title from Sheamus and spent the rest of the year feuding with Triple H, Dean Ambrose, and AJ Styles. He was constantly featured in the main event picture and this upset a lot of fans who felt like the WWE was shoving Reigns down their throats.
The company tried to quickly build up Reigns as the next John Cena but it just didn’t work. People don’t like Reigns and it shows at live events where he is constantly booed. Fan support for Reigns tanked even more after the WWE handed him a 30-day suspension for violating the company’s wellness policy.
After serving his suspension, Reigns made his return to the ring at Battleground where he faced off against Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. Many fans expected Reigns to be removed from the main event at Battleground for violating the wellness policy, but he wasn’t.
Despite breaking the company’s rules, Reigns was still allowed to compete for the title. Sure he didn’t win the title, but if he wasn’t Roman Reigns, he would have been removed from the match in a heartbeat.
This is where the differences between Reigns and Cena become apparent. For starters, Cena has never violated the company’s wellness policy. He might be unpopular with a lot of older fans, but he is still a positive role model for children, who are a large chunk of the WWE’s fanbase.
Reigns had his opportunity to be the face of the company. He was given the main event spotlight constantly but he could never connect with the fans in the crowd like Cena.
With that said, it’s time to end the comparisons between Roman Reigns and John Cena. Reigns will never be “the next Cena” but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He can be something different. With a few simple changes, Reigns can be a top heel in the WWE.
Cena has been a face in the WWE for over a decade, but it still works because casual fans love his character. Reigns as a face just isn’t working. He gets booed more than most heels do.
Instead of having Reigns struggle as a face, the WWE should just turn him heel. He’s already being booed so it only makes sense to turn him heel. It would make his character a lot more interesting and it would allow him to feed off the hate from the crowd.