So, after months of promising evidence that never seemed to materialize, Jon Bravo finally produced a video that he claimed would prove that Roman Reigns, along with others, had been buy steroids from convicted dealer Richard Rodriguez. To no one’s surprise, except for the anti-Reigns people who trumpeted this story to anyone who mentioned wrestling, the video turned out to be a dud. No direct proof against Reigns or anyone else just text messages with names, which means absolutely nothing.
That hasn’t stopped the anti-Roman corner of the WWE Universe from clinging to hope that the next batch of ‘evidence’ will prove that Roman does steroids and that this will convince Vince McMahon that Roman cannot be ‘The Face of WWE’ and someone more ‘worthy’ will ascend to the throne.
Here’s the problem with this scenario: If Vince McMahon believed for one second that any of the allegations against Reigns were even remotely true, Reigns would not have become the #1 Contender at Elimination Chamber. Roman Reigns is the #1 merchandise seller among the full-timer wrestlers, and Vince is not going to take the word of someone acting as mouthpiece to a convicted felon over his top guy without unimpeachable proof. Even if he did, he couldn’t do anything to Roman without a drug test, which Roman, and all WWE superstars, take on a regular basis.
Lies about Reigns are certainly nothing new. They’re almost a fixture in wrestling social media and one that no amount of fact-checking and debunking can dislodge. This is just a small sample:
- He made sexist remarks about women. This turned out to be a complete fabrication made by an anti-Roman fan.
- He purposely ignored a special needs fan. This is unlikely, but the circumstances of this are ambiguous. Roman was called out recently for ‘ignoring’ young fans of his that were in a group wanting to greet WWE wrestlers, but the father’s own video showed that neither he nor his children tried to get Roman’s attention, so Roman walked past them, not knowing they were fans wanting to see him.
- He’s only in it for the money. While it is true that Roman has said that working for WWE supports his family, and has joked about the amount of money he makes compared to others, that hardly makes him ‘in it for the money’, nor does it make him the only one. Heath Ledger because a fan favorite by claiming that he needed his job with WWE to support his family.
- He doesn’t like his fans. This is hardly credible, Roman is noted for taking time to give fans high fives and take pictures at house shows. If he didn’t seem terribly enthusiastic in a photograph, it may have been that the fan was bothering him or he was in a hurry.
This doesn’t include the women who have claimed to be the real mother of his daughter, Jojo, have claimed that he cheated on his wife and fathered a child with them.
The hatred towards Reigns has also become an almost constant part of the wrestling universe, even by people who don’t watch WWE, since late 2014-15, when the fans turned on him for being given the WWE World Heavyweight Championship push over Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble, despite Bryan have just returned from neck surgery and Roman not being in the ring when Bryan was eliminated. The criticism includes, but is not limited to:
- He only has three moves. While it is true that Roman doesn’t have the moveset of a Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Rock, or Ric Flair (in his prime), Roman is an incredible athlete and makes great use of the moveset he has.
- He sucks on the mic. This is one where I’ll meet them halfway. In 2015, during his first push, Roman wasn’t great on the mic. He would fumble words and get flustered by the crowd. That has long since stopped happening. Roman’s learned to embrace the fans and their reactions. Also, he has been allowed to be himself more, which makes his promos easier to get through.
- His matches are awful. This one baffles me. Even in 2015, Roman showed that he could hang with the best in the business, that has only increased in the past three years.
- He’s shoved down our throats. This is one of the most tiresome ones and is only valid if you ignore every WWF/E champion since 1984, including Hulk Hogan, HBK, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- He’s getting the push because of his family name and/or because he’s Rock’s cousin. This seems to be the one that pops up the most and it’s nonsense. Roman, like all the superstars had to earn his spot. His family connection to Rock only became a problem when the fans decided that they didn’t like him. I should also point out that the Usos and Nia Jax are also related to the Rock, but that doesn’t seem to bother as many people, especially since the Usos turned heel.
- No one likes him/He has no charisma. Considering that last year at WrestleMania, there were so many people in line for Roman’s autograph, Samoa Joe cut his session short, I think we can discard that argument.
- Vince is in love with him/He’s blowing Vince for his spot. I don’t really want to dignify these reasons with an argument except to say this: Roman Reigns and Vince McMahon deserve more credit than this tabloid garbage reasoning. You can not like someone without implying that they’re prostituting themselves to keep their job.
While it’s easy to dismiss anti-Roman fans as jealous, bitter, insecure, or just plain stupid, I got a comment from an anti-Roman person on Twitter that gave me a more rational reason. The gentleman in question told me that ‘We want WrestleMania to be saved this year.’ This is certainly more reasonable, but it misses a few points:
- There’s no guarantee that Reigns/Lesnar will get the final match slot. Technically, Styles/Nakamura SHOULD get that spot since Nakamura won the Royal Rumble. Between that, Ronda Rousey’s WrestleMania debut, and the buzz around Charlotte/Asuka, the odds of Reigns/Lesnar being THE main event are slim.
- The reason Reigns main-evented last year was because everyone (justifiably) believed that it was Undertaker’s last match. Also, the lackluster match was more because they were trying to coax a four star match out of a 52 year old man in need of a hip replacement, than Roman’s alleged lack of ring skills.
- Admittedly, the WrestleMania 32 main event wasn’t as hardcore as the build seemed to promise it would be. However, it’s not really surprising that Vince shied away from going whole hog on the physicality. WWE was having a problem with injuries, about 17 superstars in a roster of about 50 were out with injuries, at WrestleMania 32, which is why Triple H had to dig out his boots.
- Lesnar/Reigns I was a great match even before Seth’s Cash-In. This is something the anti-Roman people don’t want to hear or accept. Was it a technical masterpiece? No, but it was a really great physical match that showed Roman’s potential as a future Top Guy to a large audience. He hung with an NCAA wrestling champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion and nearly had the match won before Seth showed his face.
- As petty as this sounds, if the heat between Lesnar and WWE is even half what they make it sound like on TV, Reigns/Lesnar might not get the final slot if the other matches never existed. WWE has shown themselves to not being above pettiness, and they may well just not give them the final spot as a slight to the (hopefully) departing Lesnar more than a comment on Roman’s skills.
In my own opinion, the anti-Roman people are clinging to this farce because they want someone to confirm that their irrational hatred of Reigns is justified. It’s not enough to say ‘I don’t like him’, or ‘He doesn’t do anything for me’, they want proof that he’s an unworthy person to justify that dislike and to turn his fans against him. The sad truth is that these people are so desperate for their dislike to be vindicated that they’re willing to embrace lies and smears against a man’s character and integrity because they don’t like the character he plays on TV.
I want to thank Reppintheempire and Mel Ambreigns for their help with the anti-Roman stuff that’s been out over the years.