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 Leakee - Roman Reigns - Persona and reception

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PostSubject: Leakee - Roman Reigns - Persona and reception   Sun 26 Jun - 2:23

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While in NXT in 2012, Roman Reigns' character was a "businessman" who was "always dressed to impress" and viewed himself as "the most valuable commodity in WWE".
After transferring to WWE's main roster, his character was changed to the "powerhouse" and "heavy hitter" of The Shield, as well as an "exceptional athlete".

Noted as the least talkative of The Shield members, in mid-2013, Reigns' character was tweaked from "the quiet muscle" to being an "ultra-confident" source of leadership with "quiet strength".
CM Punk revealed that he was constantly reminded to make Reigns look "really, really strong" despite the Shield being scripted to lose to Punk at the December 2013 TLC event.

Reigns was voted the 2013 "Most Improved" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
At the 2014 Royal Rumble match, the live crowd cheered for Reigns over eventual winner Batista, despite Reigns being a heel.

Anoaʻi later acknowledged the reaction as "a cool situation".
In mid-2014, Stone Cold Steve Austin said he saw great potential in Reigns, while David Shoemaker of Grantland wrote that Reigns had "mystery and intensity", as well as "superstar written all over him".

After The Shield disbanded, Reigns (unlike the other former Shield members) retained much of The Shield's aesthetic including ring attire, theme music and ring entrance.
From July to September 2014, Reigns' positive crowd reactions were diminishing.

Reigns' win of WWE's 2014 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award garnered surprise to the point of accusations of vote-rigging, but both PWInsider and Dave Meltzer stated that the fan vote was legitimate.

Reigns then finished in second place for Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Most Overrated" award in 2014, a feat repeated in 2015.
Writers from the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter criticized Reigns in 2014 and 2015, for a "very limited" in-ring moveset, "forced promo delivery" and a "petulant and annoyed" attitude ill-befitting of a top babyface.

Fellow pro wrestler Mikey Whipwreck said Reigns was "trying to be like John Cena", who was "very polarizing".
At the 2015 Royal Rumble, Reigns was booed heavily after his victory despite portraying a heroic character.

By March, Anoaʻi wore blue contact lenses so the Reigns character had blue eyes.
From late 2014 to early 2015, various critics raised concerns that Reigns, despite being "not fully ready", was "being pushed too hard, too soon" while WWE tried to make him their next "flagship star", "no matter how fans reacted" negatively.

Anoaʻi reacted by saying that all his critics "weren't wrestlers", expressing distaste when non-wrestlers who cannot "lock up" try to critique wrestlers.
Going into WrestleMania in 2015, Anoaʻi declared that WWE "is my ship now, I'm the captain here", while Dave Meltzer said that Reigns was the least over WrestleMania main-eventer ever.

At WrestleMania 31, Pro Wrestling Torch described Reigns as needing security for his entrance while receiving "universal boos" and middle fingers.
Despite the fan backlash in early 2015, critics praised Reigns' performances at Fastlane, WrestleMania and Extreme Rules as exceeding expectations, while the negative reactions continued at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam.

In late 2015, critics described WWE presenting Reigns' character as a "hard-luck underdog" chasing the world title, with WWE having "spent an overwhelming amount of time" on Reigns, "bending over backwards to create new obstacles for him to overcome", "at the expense of almost everyone else on the roster".

Reigns received a mixed reaction upon winning and losing his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the 2015 Survivor Series event, and a positive reaction on winning his second world title at the Raw after TLC, although a Wrestleview writer reflected that "it's been downhill ever since" for Reigns from then until March 2016.

In 2015 and 2016, WWE has reportedly taken several measures to hide fans' disapproval of Reigns, this included: confiscating anti-Reigns fan signs, editing out anti-Reigns fan signs for photos on their website, muting hostile crowds (including at WrestleMania 32), and piping in canned cheers during Reigns' appearances.

In 2016, Reigns has main-evented every WWE pay-per-view so far and was booed in all of them: Royal Rumble, Fastlane, WrestleMania 32 (which ended with a chorus of boos when Reigns won his third world title), Payback, Extreme Rules, and Money in the Bank.

CNET described a "fan rebellion" against WWE "moving heaven and earth" to make Reigns "the face of the company... for the next decade"; while "many fans are aware" that Dean Ambrose "is the true dark horse, both on camera and behind the scenes".

ESPN described that "WWE started building Roman Reigns as the next great hero of the company about 18 months ago", but Reigns instead became "the most despised wrestler WWE has had since it turned Sgt. Slaughter into an Iraq-sympathizing traitor in 1990".

Leading up to WrestleMania 32, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rikishi and Hulk Hogan called for Reigns to turn heel.
Meanwhile, during interviews promoting WrestleMania 32, Anoa'i acknowledged the fan backlash but declared that WWE is a "kids show" and that he wasn't wrestling to impress "grown men" who boo him.

He defiantly told his critics that he would not believe any of their negative opinions of him. As for his detractors, Anoa'i told them to "continue to be ready to boo. You're going to be mad a long time. I'm not going away".

On the Raw after WrestleMania, Reigns declared that he was now not a "good guy" nor a "bad guy", but "the guy"; this supposedly indicated a morally ambiguous tweener character turn.
As soon as broadcasting for Payback stopped, Reigns reportedly turned on the crowd, yelling angrily at them.

Also in April, Pro Wrestling Dot Net reported that WWE "went out of their way to use [the charity] Make A Wish in hopes of getting [Reigns] over as a good guy".
In May, Dave Meltzer said WWE wanted Reigns as "the guy who does the charity work, so he has to be positioned as a babyface".

Additionally, WWE's "new gimmick" was positioning that people actually "really like" Reigns and only boo because "it's fun to boo him", which Meltzer said was "absolutely not true" in reality.
Critics wondered if WWE was "leaving money on the table" by not slotting Rollins as a face and Reigns as a heel, as this was the opposite of what fans wanted (fans were cheering Rollins and booing Reigns).

Reigns wrestled against Seth Rollins at both Money in the Bank and the next Raw, where Reigns played a heel in the first match and a face in the second.
Then, Reigns' suspension was said by Yahoo! TV to be another chance for WWE to "quit pretending he's some kind of lovable underdog" with a heel turn for Reigns, which "could (and should) have done at a dozen different points since the boos first reigned" at the 2015 Royal Rumble.

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