Looks can take you far in life.

It’s a natural instinct to judge people on their looks. There’s a million reasons why that’s an awful mindset to have, yet a majority of us still do it because it’s embedded in our genetic makeup as human beings.

You find yourself gravitating more towards those you find physically appealing because you want to either date them, jump them (you know what I’m talking about), bask in their presence or be associated with them to boost your own ego.

In the world of professional wrestling, superstars with big bodies (ex. Big Show), toned cores (ex. Randy Orton), muscular physiques (ex. John Cena) and larger than life builds (ex. Brock Lesnar) are the favorites of management. That doesn’t mean they always get television time and the pushes, but there’s no denying the mentality that the bigger you are, the more gold stars you’ll get from the Chairman of the Board.

The WWE Universe pushed for Daniel Bryan to be in the World Heavyweight Championship picture. CM Punk held the belt for 434-straight days, yet he was rarely featured in the main events of pay-per-views. While they both eventually grabbed the proverbial brass ring, their respective roads to superstardom were made much more difficult because neither man had “the look.”


This brings me to Roman Reigns.

For nearly two years, Reigns served as the enforcer of The Shield, one of the most dominant three-man stables WWE has ever produced. With Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins by his side, The Shield proceeded to steamroll their way through the roster, leaving body after body in their wake.

At the time, members of the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) were extremely outspoken about what they projected to be the brightest of futures for Ambrose and Rollins. Having both worked on the independent circuit prior to joining WWE, there was at least something solid to go on in order to forge that opinion.

Ambrose was the ringleader, cutting promo after promo with the passion and precision of a wily veteran while backing up his abrasive wordplay between the ropes  Rollins brought a steady mix of high-flying and technical wrestling to the group, using an array of ariel maneuvers to dazzle audiences on a nightly basis.

Reigns was the muscle. His actions spoke louder than words because, frankly, what he had to say wasn’t always that interesting. He wasn’t green by any stretch of the imagination, but the gap between Reigns and his partners was noticeable from afar.

He had, and still does have, a natural charisma that very few superstars possess. With his mic technique still a work in progress, that charisma turned out to be one of his saving graces.

Long black hair, a chiseled exterior and killer tattoos. Women want to be with him and men want to root him on because he looks so damn cool.

He’s different. Different is good. When you can appeal to a broader demographic, make fans of any age or sex dig your stuff and consistently get strong reactions, WWE will channel Scrooge McDuck and see dollar signs. They’ll milk it for all it’s worth.

And not just dollar signs either. Management saw their future face of the company in Reigns, and perhaps their eventual successor to Cena.


There’s a profound difference between being a “star” and being a “mega-star” in WWE.

Cena, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Brett Hart, Triple H and Undertaker are just a handful of performers who fall under the “mega-star” category. These men were the faces of their generations, transcending sports entertainment on route to becoming icons of the industry.

If there was a Mount Rushmore for WWE, these men would all be in the running to have their faces put on display for the world to see. Note: I’m well aware that guys like Hart and Michaels weren’t towering over their opponents or bench pressing 400 pounds at the gym during their tenure. WWE needed them to be headliners during a time when the company was struggling to stay afloat. They took the ball and ran with it all the way to the Hall of Fame. No disrespect intended.

Just a level below those gentlemen are names like Edge, Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton, Mick Foley and Chris Jericho. As good as they all were, they were never ‘the guy.’

“I’ve seen guys like you (Daniel Bryan) come and go a million times. Guys like Jericho, Edge, Rob Van Dam; all guys that are very talented, don’t get me wrong. Top guys. Very popular, but not the one. Never were they the one. And maybe nobody wants to say this, but it needs to be said: It’s a fact. If any of those guys were the face of WWE back in the day, we’d all be working for Ted Turner right now.” – Triple H on the October 21 edition of “Monday Night Raw” last year.


WWE needs Reigns to be their next “A+ Player” or “mega-star.” Nothing less than that.

They’re doing everything in their power to make that a reality as soon as possible, shoving him down our throats in such a way that [insert extremely graphic pun here].

Which Shield member is fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship? Which Shield member set a Royal Rumble record by eliminating 12 superstars? Which Shield member defeated four out of five members of an opposing Survivor Series team last year?

It’s not Ambrose. It’s not Rollins either.

It’s the big man.

At WWE “Battleground” on July 20, Reigns will challenge Cena, Orton and Kane in a Fatal 4-Way match for the gold. If all checks out, that will lead to an epic confrontation with Triple H one month later at WWE “SummerSlam” at the Staples Center.

There are also rumors that Reigns may headline WrestleMania 31 in a one-on-one bout against Brock Lesnar.

It’s a lot to take in. As I mentioned earlier, Reigns was arguably the weakest Shield member during their time together, yet he’s the one moving right into the title picture. Ambrose and Rollins aren’t chopped liver, though. The two are set to face each other at “Battleground,” while Rollins is currently in possession of the MITB briefcase.

But why is Reigns in this spot?

It’s because he looks the part.


This is a trial by fire period for Reigns. He doesn’t have Ambrose or Rollins to fall back on anymore. He’s a lone wolf  ready to embark on his own conquest for dominance and glory above all others.

As skeptical as I am, I’ll be the first to admit that Reigns is more than capable of proving me wrong. Could he be the next big thing in WWE? Of course he could. This company has lacked that kind of star power for a long, long time. If he doesn’t reach that pedestal, it won’t be through a lack of trying.

Cena can’t be their No. 1 forever. One of these days, he’s going to have to pass the torch and make someone else the hero.

Reigns is over with the viewing audience. His Superman Punch is over, as is his Spear. He’ll eventually come around on the microphone. He’s just not there yet.

With Reigns, less has to be more. Add a mysteriousness to his character. Leave what he’s thinking and what his motives are open to interpretation.

He may never turn out to be a Steve Austin or Rock (easier said than done), but that won’t stop WWE from trying to make him that way. If they fail, they’ll probably just throw caution to the wind and keep trying until something sticks.

Reigns is here to say. Just how far he goes depends on his continued development, a sustainable acceptance from fans and WWE working mistake-free in their booking of his character.

If you need something to believe in, at least believe in that.


Chris Walder is a staff writer for WrestlingRumors.net, as well as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. His work has been published at such online outlets as SB Nation, Fansided and Sports Illustrated. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports.


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