WWE Superstar Roman Reigns indicated on Tuesday that he isn’t worried about the mixed reactions he has been receiving from fans across the globe as long as he is still pulling them into the building and they are showing up.
In an interview with Tom Fordy of the Sun, Reigns said, “As long as fans are showing up and as long as they’re making noise, I’ve done my job. I’ve done what I’m supposed to do and that’s draw people into the building.”
Cheers are the desired reaction for Reigns, since he is the current face of the company and has main-evented the past four WrestleManias, and while he has his fair share of fans, he is often met with boos from the WWE Universe.
The most obvious and recent example of fan discontent surrounding Reigns came at the Backlash pay-per-view on May 6.
Despite the fact there was no title involved, the Big Dog main-evented the show against Samoa Joe. After taking a beating for much of the match and kicking out of multiple devastating moves, Reigns came from behind to pick up the victory.
Fans booed, chanted things unrelated to the match and even left during it to show their displeasure.
Addressing what needs to be done to change the way fans react to him, Reigns insisted he simply needs to stay the course:
“I think the way I can fight is to just continue to do what I do—to continue to show up. What I and everybody in WWE thinks is to go out there and work hard and continue to show why I am the guy.
It’s not easy doing this every single day, going to every single town, and getting a reaction. And that’s what I do regardless of whether it’s all cheers, a mixed reaction, or heavy boos.”
The three-time WWE world champion also noted that he and WWE can’t afford to cater to just one particular audience: “We have to look at it as a global company. We’re not just worried about the one town that we’re in, we’re covering our entire fanbase. The WWE Universe is humongous. We have to keep that in mind.”
One potential solution for WWE would be to turn Reigns heel. That strategy worked two decades ago with Reigns’ cousin—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The Rock was initially loathed when he was a babyface who went by the name of Rocky Maivia, but once he turned heel, refined his character and enjoyed some success, the fans were ready to embrace him as a hero.
Reigns’ progress in the ring and on the mic has been overshadowed at times by WWE’s booking, since he is often portrayed as an unstoppable force like John Cena and Hulk Hogan before him.
Fans generally don’t buy that in the current era of wrestling, which means the onus is primarily on WWE’s creative team to change the perception of Reigns moving forward if it is unhappy with the manner in which he is received.