Pro Wrestling

Why Roman Reigns Is Not Holding Back the Shield

A notable characteristic about wrestling fans is that we love to write. There is no other form of entertainment with as many outlets for self-expression through the written word. This is what makes the sport such an endlessly fascinating pastime. For better or worse, everyone has an opinion on something. Following a major PPV or big announcement, you can bet there will be thousands of stories posted all over the internet by the next morning. The internet is so synonymous with wrestling that a particular subset of fans is commonly referred to as the Internet Wrestling Community.

The number of wrestling websites is as vast as the sea. They are too numerous to mention, but some of the more notable ones include PWMania, WrestlingInc and PWInsider. Longstanding publications as The Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Torch each have their own website where staff and guest columnists can offer their insight on any topic imaginable. And then there is Bleacher Report.

BR initially caught my attention about a year ago. In addition to their coverage of the latest happenings in WWE, they are one of the foremost providers of online sports coverage. The quality of their work is generally very good to great. Some of their articles are downright excellent in their breadth of discussion. They also have the best multimedia tools at their disposal to bring any story to life.

In a change of pace from other wrestling websites, BR has an application process its aspiring writers must complete. A writing test and online orientation is also required before any writing can begin. No more than 15 percent of their applicants are accepted in a given month and the majority of those accepted have several years of formal journalism work or education to their credit.

A major selling point to its writers is the writer rankings. Basically, the more articles they write, the better chance they have of moving up the rankings to eventually become a featured columnist. In many ways the goal is similar to blogging. The more a blogger posts quality (keyword) content on a regular basis, the quicker it will take for their blog to be noticed amongst the millions of others competing in the blogosphere.

At the end of the day the goal of any writer should be to produce thought-provoking and high quality work, regardless of the frequency.

Every story won’t be an award-winning piece of literature and every writer (myself included) is guilty of phoning it in at one time or another. There are very few times as a wrestling fan that I have read something that absolutely infuriated me. After all, a good writer should have the ability to conjure up the emotions of its readers. However, the recent BR article Why Roman Reigns is Holding Back The Shield by Bryan Haas outraged me in a way I never thought possible.

The story was a textbook example of narrow-mindedness and appeared to be written as a copout to the hardcore fanbase. Even though I’ve read several well informed opinion pieces on the site, including those I disagreed with, this one was shocking in its lack of factual balance. It appeared as though the writer picked a random name out of his “which big man wrestler I can trash this week” hat before striking away at the keys.

The irony is that his article fell short of appealing to the audience he thought it would. It’s universally acknowledged that The Shield is the hottest thing going in WWE today. Since their debut last November, they have done nothing but tear down the house with one great match after another. The success of the group is thanks in large part to the chemistry of all three members.

Dean Ambrose is leader and one of the best all-around talents in the business. He has an unorthodox style that sets him apart from everyone in WWE. Seth Rollins is the brash high flyer who is also an excellent performer. Reigns is the physical powerhouse who comes across as a believable monster liable to destroy anyone crossing his path. A key part of what makes them special is that you have three distinct personalities and styles on display. All too often we see guys from developmental lose all semblance of what made them unique once they are called up to the main roster. Therefore it creates a company where far too many wrestlers have the same look and style, which results in a boring product. Imagine if Coca-Cola was the only beverage served in the world. Despite how much you may love it today, there is bound to come a time where you will crave something different.

The article received an overwhelmingly negative reaction in the comments section and on the BR Twitter page. Even the most critical smart fan likely found them self scratching their head in bewilderment.

About two weeks ago, I posted the following tweet:”Reigns has really held his own in terms of wrestling and promos. He is my favorite big guy in WWE.” To my surprise it was retweeted by WrestleZone.

I stand by my statement completely. Haas makes it seem that Reigns’ lack of technical fluidity will spell the death of the group. He also greatly embellished a minor instance where Reigns wound up driving his own head to the floor when attempting a spear on Daniel Bryan. It was a hot match from start to finish and in no way did Reigns’ performance detract from its quality. Last I checked, wrestling was not ballet and many of the best wrestlers in history have slipped up on a spot and hurt themselves.

He also made a pathetic attempt at explaining how Reigns’ continued use of the spear may be harmful to his career because—here is the kicker—it’s the same finisher used by Divas Champion Kaitlyn. Apparently, we can’t have someone doing the same finisher as her. What a travesty of justice!

Reigns has a great look, shows tremendous intensity and is never lost in the ring. In my estimation that is the hallmark of a good wrestler. If being prominently featured on television while having blowaway matches is the WWE’s way of holding back Shield, then I’d like to see Haas’ definition of the opposite.

When summarizing Haas’ story, three words immediately come to mind: lazy, desperate and stupid.

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11 thoughts on “Why Roman Reigns Is Not Holding Back the Shield”

  1. This isn’t just BR that does this with Reigns. Many are already uneasy about him due to “Him being the most likely to get a Cena-like push(shoved down “our throats”) just due to his size, not talent.” It’s a narrative I’ve noticed for several months now. They are just bitter(superherohype’s wrestling thread is super bitter; can cut it with a knife) that Ambrose or Rollins might not get that type of booking and have admitted to this.

    Many also get a high by going against the grain. Example: According to these people; Cena, Sheamus, and Del Rio are actually heels and Punk, Henry, and Sandow are actually these brave, noble warriors. The scariest part is they have this messed up logic. The big narrative right now is the Sheamus/Sandow feud. Sandow is the class geek and all he does is “best Sheamus intellectually” and because Sheamus doesn’t like him, he “has to resort to violence”. In other words, he’s a bully picking on the nerd. The real story is Sandow is a smug brain who thinks he is smarter than he really is and rubs “the dumb people’s” face in it and Sheamus is the guy standing up to the bully.

    1. I like Reigns because he is an impressive big guy. I think a lot of smart fans resent him because he’s not on the level of a Rollins or Ambrose inside of the ring. Truth be told, I like what every member of the group brings to the table. Their individuality makes them an even stronger collective. Some fans will not accept anything less than a ROH-like caliber of workrate and it is a shame.

      It’s too early to tell who will be the breakout star. I tend to not think that far in advance. I’m enjoying the Shield right now and if they dissolve tomorrow, then at least we got six solid months of one of the best factions of the last decade.

      As far as some of the other names you brought up, the only ones I have a problem with are Sheamus and Del Rio. Sheamus just kills everyone on the roster with his brouge kick for no apparent rhyme or reason. He never shows any vulnerabilities. I also don’t like the fact that he rarely shows any seriousness in his character. For once I’d like to see him lose clean to a rising star on PPV or television. Honestly, he’s been given more of a superman push over the past year than John Cena.

      Del Rio just isn’t over at all as a babyface. He’s cold and the fans could care less about him. Just compare the level of heat he gets for his matches to those of Shield, Cena, Punk, Ziggler, Jericho or Daniel Bryan and you will notice the difference is like night and day. He has a long way to go before he becomes the Hispanic hero the company wishes him to be. He will never be viewed like Rey Mysterio or Eddie Guerrero were by the Hispanic audience.

      1. I don’t get the Sheamus bashing at all. Plus, I enjoy the two-way nature of him: A fun, jokey guy who will kick your face in if you mess with him.

        Del Rio is missing something. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m a mark for him though due to how fluid he is in the ring.

  2. Great article. Reigns is not the in ring savant that Ambrose and Rollins is (hasn’t had the experience or the time to gain it) nor is he as good at promos but he has not held them back at all, if anything they have pushed him forward. He has improved leaps and bounds since his old NXT days. Working with those two, as well as with others like Daniel Bryan has helped him eons. And he was already passable from the start. Without him the group is lacking a crucial component, The Enforcer. Sure, they could have used someone like Chris Hero or someone else in this role, but IMO it was smarter to use someone less established than them to be the ‘third wheel’ of this group, as guys like Hero deserve their own deal somewhere down the road. The Shield remain the best NEW thing to hit wrestling in quite some time.

    1. Thanks for reading Jules! I agree that working alongside Ambrose and Rollins, while against Daniel Bryan, have helped improve his skills immensely. Reigns is in the perfect position to learn from the best. Your comparison of Reigns and Hero also makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day the Shield is awesome and all three members deserve credit.

    2. I would like to see Shield get one more member just so you could have the triple powerbomb while Ambrose is talking trash.

  3. People just like to complain about something. Fans are never happy. Reigns is doing just fine. I think he will be awesome with time. Great job Jeuron. For Del Rio, he was ruined a long time ago, IMO.

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