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YMMV / Roman Reigns

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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Even if fans see Reigns as Cena's Replacement Scrappy due to the executives' constant booking, they gave him some sympathy the moment they saw a photo of him having an emotional breakdown over The Undertaker's retirement. It doesn't help that Reigns did what Vince McMahon told him to do and The Undertaker agreed with it.
    • Brock Lesnar winning in his WrestleMania 34 rematch against Reigns is actually part of Lesnar and Vince's "secret Plan B" (though Reigns was informed about this before the PPV event itself) in case the aforementioned match didn't end well as planned (mainly due to Reigns' Broken Base reputaion since 2015). Vince was right when the audience in New Orleans were booing the hell out of Reigns and Lesnar to the point of demanding Reigns to have more "attitude" and "ruthless aggression", which ultimately resulted with Lesnar extending his WWE contract through a new high-rated deal and squaring off with The Big Dog again, this time in a steel cage match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. The more rational fans see the Reigns' loss to Lesnar in their WrestleMania 34 rematch as well as Samoa Joe's "Reason You Suck" Speech on him the following night on RAW as his Moments of Weakness, as they feel sorry for his actor over the massive backlash he got.
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    • His leukemia announcement garnered him a great deal of sympathy from everyone, including his detractors. The general sentiment among the latter seems to be "We might not like him, but we (obviously) don't want him to die."
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Reigns was ridiculed somewhat in 2014 for his apparent apathy to Rollins's betrayal of the Shield. He continued somewhat unperturbed in his pursuit of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, while Dean Ambrose became almost obsessed with revenge against Rollins. But some of his actions in 2015 - especially after The Reveal that Reigns was almost the Authority's handpicked guy if not for his honorable streak - may indicate that he saw Rollins as a pawn and his real intention was to run through Rollins (and anyone else) on his way to The Man Behind the Man, Triple H. Maybe making Rollins answer for his actions, while it would have been enjoyable, was less important to Reigns than removing the corrupting presence behind Rollins, and maybe he thought that if he could just get rid of Triple H's influence, that he could get his brother back.
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    • One interpretation of his spearing of Triple H after the latter came out to congratulate him after his WWE World Heavyweight Championship win at Survivor Series 2015. He probably remembered that the last guy that Triple H came out to congratulate got sucker-Pedigreed and fed to one of Trips's buddies for an easy cash-in. (Not that it helped Reigns, who got nailed by a sneak Brogue Kick five seconds later and lost his title.)
    • Was he really trying to kill Braun Strowman with that ambulance? Given that wrestlers have repeatedly been (Kayfabe) shown surviving car crashes before, as well as falls off of buildings, direct hits from lightning, immolation and burial, on top of Braun having durability that is astonishing even by wrestler standards, this may not have been an attempt at murder so much as Roman realizing that a forced ambulance crash might have been the only thing that had any chance of even HURTING Braun.
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  • Arc Fatigue: The Reigns/Lesnar feud has been lingering in the background since 2015 (which, as of this writing, was three years ago, one year longer than the infamous Cena/Rock feud). Even people who like Reigns are starting to get sick of it, especially since their last two one-on-one matches were considered lackluster. Not helping the matter is that most fans and critics can tell that the only reason why the feud hasn't ended yet is because Reigns isn't over enough with the crowd to officially take over as the next top face.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Vince McMahon has literally tried everything to get Reigns over as the new face of the company, from being shilled by legends, to main eventers, to even Paul Heyman. That's not even getting into late 2015, where he had Sheamus cash-in, in order to recreate the magic of the Daniel Bryan storyline two years prior despite an anti-corporate underdog being the complete opposite of both Reigns' character and actual reality, which caused it to backfire.
    • They seemingly succeeded in getting Reigns over after TLC. As it turns out, he didn't need to turn heel, he just needed to beat up people the crowd doesn't like, such as The Authority (in this case, Triple H), and the next night in Philadelphia (the very same city in which he was booed out of the building in Royal Rumble 2015) actually cheered for him when, after being kicked in the groin by Vince McMahon, he Superman Punched Vince, and going absolutely nuts when he won the title on Raw.
    • However, it later turned back around. The pops for him started to fade away in the weeks leading up to the 2016 Royal Rumble, eventually culminating in him being viciously booed when he came in during the Royal Rumble match. From then on, he's gone from being cheered in Philadelphia to receiving tepid reactions once again.
    • Things got even worse for Reigns with another case of an Author's Saving Throw that backfired, similar to the one in Survivor Series 2015. On the February 22 edition of Raw in the smark city of Detroit and coming off the disastrous 2016 Fastlane PPV, every mention of his match with Triple H at WrestleMania 32 was met with unanimous boos. Worse still, to close the show Triple H came out after Reigns' match with Sheamus, and proceeded to give a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Reigns, having to be torn away from him by the referees due to the sheer brutality of his attack, his taped fist covered in Reigns' blood. So bad was the beating that the official clip of the attack is edited with a gray filter. The crowd response? Wildly cheering The Game, and after banging Reigns' head onto the announce table repeatedly (with "Yes!" chants in unison with the hits) and giving Reigns the Pedigree on the steel steps, received a standing ovation and chants of "One More Time! One More Time!" To say that Reigns' good will with the crowd is gone might be an understatement as even the children were reportedly cheering for Triple H by the time Reigns was bleeding. One tweet from the official Twitter feed of Cageside Seatsnote  summed up that night like thus: "If Triple H had pulled out a shotgun, that crowd would have been chanting 'PULL THE TRIGGER. Clap Clap Clap-Clap-Clap.'"
    • After Reigns (inevitably) won the title in the main event of WrestleMania 32, they've tried another one to build on the intense heat by having Reigns start each promo by saying that he's not a bad guy or good guy, but he is the guy. So far? Nada, he's still being booed out of every arena. The smug delivery of that line on the Raw after 'Mania, and his equally smug expression toward all the would-be challengers for his title as they fought each other over who deserved the shot, left people hoping the much-needed heel turn had arrived. But turning the line into a catchphrase, toning down the smugness in every subsequent promo and continuing with conventional face booking of his matches dashed those hopes.
    • WWE are now trying to spin this by telling audiences that fans boo Reigns because they like to boo Reigns, they don't really hate him. In essence, they're trying to say that Reigns is getting what Kurt Angle used to get during his WWE run (and arguably what John Cena gets now), but it isn't working simply because (A) fans actually liked Angle and Cena, and (B) Love to Hate is a reaction typically desired for a heel, not for a top babyface whose crowd reactions are routinely edited on taped shows and even muted on live shows.
    • When Seth Rollins returned from injury and was thrust into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, it put WWE in the unenviable position of having to try to book the largely disliked face Reigns against Rollins, who they wanted to keep as heel but had already become something of a sympathetic figure with fans even before he had to take seven months off to rehab from a severe knee injury. Somewhat fortunately for them, Rollins's return was timed perfectly with the Money in the Bank PPV, which enabled them to Take a Third Option by having Dean Ambrose win the titular ladder match and cash in the contract after the Reigns/Rollins match at the end of the night, walking out of the PPV as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Ambrose, being arguably the most popular wrestler on the roster (he was probably the only wrestler on the roster that Rollins would be booed against, for numerous reasons) and a face (the top one after Reigns in fact, at least until Cena returned), was the perfect alternative choice.
    • A legit successful attempt at a Saving Throw came on the RAW the night after SummerSlam 2018 when newly-crowned Universal Champion Reigns announced he would be giving an immediate title shot to inaugural Universal Champion Finn Bálor, who had been forced the relinquish the title the night after he'd won it due to injury and never given a rematch (a recurring complaint among fans ever since). Sure Roman won clean, but it at least addressed the complaints about the unfairness of Finn being denied the chance that was rightfully his, and made Roman look good too.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Reigns' popularity exploded while he was one third of The Shield. He was the power guy, he made the hot tag, he had some of the best spots (like spearing people through the barricade), and generally had an aura of capability, mystery and power. He also had Ambrose and Rollins to talk for him and cover his weaknesses in the ring, and Luke Harper to sell his offense during the awesome Shield/Wyatt Family matches. Then he got a singles push, and without all these factors behind him his flaws as a worker became readily apparent. His mystique further fell apart when he was given awful, rambling, humor-driven promos. The "sufferin' succotash" guy is not nearly as cool as the human weapon that squashed Evolution. The creative team has caught wind of this and has tried to remedy the situation, by having Reigns defeat the League of Nations singlehandedly on two occasions. This backfired with his "tater-tots" promo, mentioned below, and served only to heap further heat onto Reigns and make the League of Nations look like dorks.
    • When Reigns violated the Wellness Policy, forcing the company to suspend him, it soon became clear that Vince McMahon was pissed at him, or at least someone very high up the ladder was. Prior to Money in the Bank 2016, Reigns had never been defeated clean. His last clean loss was under the "Leakee" name back in developmental, against Leo Kruger, aka the future Adam Rose. Not only did he lose clean at that PPV against Seth Rollins, but he also lost clean at his return match to Dean Ambrose, eating the pin for the Shield triple threat match. The following night on Raw, he lost clean again, this time against Finn Bálor, who, while a decorated wrestler in his own right and regarded as one of the best in the world, had just debuted on Raw on that night. Reigns went from being Super Cena 2.0 to eating clean pins like candy and the IWC couldn't be any happier.
  • Base-Breaking Character: WWE's clear decision that they are absolutely intent on making Reigns the next main face of the WWE has caused this. One one hand, the harder they push in this direction the more they polarize the fans who already weren't crazy about him; on the other hand, much like with the case of John Cena, there are also fans who simply like him without any problem.
  • Broken Base:
    • Every time WWE gives Reigns any sort of big win, the fans are sharply divided on whelther it was necessary or not. For example, during his feud with Bray Wyatt, even some fans who actually liked Reigns himself just fine felt that losing the feud would be better for him in the long run, and that recovering from a loss to someone who was able to beat him mentally would add depth and sympathy to the character.
    • A large contingent of fans feel that Reigns MUST turn heel. Even "Stone Cold" Steve Austin stated that Reigns should turn heel. As he and many others point out, practically every major face for the last twenty years were entertaining heels before they became faces, including Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Austin himself, Reigns' cousin The Rock, John Cena AKA Reigns' predecessor as "face of the company", Daniel Bryan AKA the guy everyone was cheering over Reigns, and even Reigns himself as part of The Shield. When they turned face, they retained all the heel characteristics that made them entertaining in the first place while doing more face-like things like being a Big Damn Hero. The logic in that line of thinking seems to be that by turning him heel, it allows him to make his character more believable and get the crowd firmly behind him so that way when he turns back to being a face (for example, after more than six consecutive years, which would break Edge's heel run record), everyone will finally accept his Kayfabe character. In fact, many fans pointed out that they REALLY don't want Reigns to be like Cena, but to be like Edge during the Ruthless Aggression and PG eras instead.
  • Catharsis Factor: One half of why Reigns got cheered at TLC 2015 is because the majority of the fans didn't want to hate him, seeing potential but being constantly pissed off with the company's booking making him into another John Cena (one is enough, for many) and having the entire roster, not just the smark favorites, being pushed aside just to put him over. Having him booked correctly was a relief to many. The other half is because, after having to endure two years of The Authority angle just refusing to die, watching him annihilate Triple H was downright therapeutic.
  • Creator's Pet: His hatred with the fans is well-known, to the point that the mics are muted to quiet the boos. Still, Vince McMahon wants him to be the future of the company and pushes him into more and more while having as many people as possible talk him up. This, in turn, results in more dislike. Eventually it reached a point where Reigns was getting pushed in spite of the fact that business was suffering because of it. While it seemed that it stopped for a while after a violation of the Wellness Policy and subsequent suspension, that ultimately didn't end Reigns' push, as he eventually went on to eliminate the Undertaker from the 2017 Royal Rumble and retire him at WrestleMania 33.
  • Critic-Proof: Kind of. Reigns is one of WWE's top merch sellers, and a lot of his defenders claim that this proves he really is popular with the non-smark fans to justify his megapush. This is disputed and we could list arguments and counter-arguments over whether the statement is accurate or not, but regardless, it's the argument that his defenders in the industry (including WWE's bookers) use for continuing his push.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Part of why there was such a widespread apathy for the WWE product post-WrestleMania 32 is because the fans were conditioned to react as if Reigns were another John Cena who would only lose via shenanigans and would always win otherwise. That's why his title match with Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank 2016 had a dead atmosphere in the beginning — everyone figured that Rollins was going to lose the match since it was too early in Reigns' reign for him to lose it via shenanigans yet. Nobody expected Rollins to win, let alone clean, nor did they expect Ambrose to cash in and finally become champion since the company had him playing second fiddle to Reigns despite being a main event talent in his own right and infinitely more popular than his best friend. When they suspended Reigns for his violation of the Wellness Policy and it was revealed that the company knew of the violation beforehand (hence the title change), many fans deflated in their enthusiasm, figuring that Ambrose was only a transitional champion and that Reigns would win the upcoming Triple Threat match against Rollins and Ambrose at Battleground 2016 clean — the best they could hope for was a dusty finish so they could split the world title for the upcoming brand extension. Thus, it was a shock to the fanbase when Ambrose was the one to win the Triple Threat, and clean to boot, by pinning Reigns.note  Even after Ambrose won the triple threat, many still figured that Reigns would be in the Universal Title match at SummerSlam (though it was less having to do with the apathy and more having to do with the fact that Reigns and Rollins were the only two certified main eventers on the show) and win that match — watching him get pinned clean by Finn Bálor, on Bálor's first night on the main roster, was the final push needed to convince the fans that Reigns was no longer the golden boy and reduce the apathy regarding him to almost nonexistent. However, this has returned with a vengeance after he eliminated the Undertaker from the 2017 Royal Rumble match and later retired him at WrestleMania 33 (even if Vince told Reigns to do it and The Undertaker approved it).
  • Designated Hero: Following his Wellness Policy violation, Reigns was dropped down the card to feud with Rusev, one of the only heel wrestlers that would get a heel reaction working against him, in an attempt to reverse his standing with the fans. It didn't work, mainly because Reigns' face actions toward Rusev were absolutely deplorable. The feud started when Rusev and his valet and later also wife Lana held a renewal of their wedding vows on TV a week after their actual wedding. Reigns then came out to "congratulate" the two, but then did nothing but toss barb after barb toward the couple. When Rusev understandably had enough and attacked Reigns, Reigns shoved him into Lana, who went face-down into the wedding cake, and then laughed as she screamed that her special day was ruined. Later, when Rusev complained to General Manager Mick Foley about the disrespect Reigns had shown him, Mick punished Rusev by putting his United States Championship on the line in a match with Reigns. That match, at SummerSlam, never got off the ground: Rusev jumped Reigns before the bell, but Reigns fought back, an understandable heel/face dynamic, but Reigns then continued to beat up Rusev long after he wasn't putting up a fight anymore, brutalizing him with several chair shots and even returning to spear him through the barricade after medical staff were sent to check on Rusev (for context, a similar action later in the night toward Randy Orton and Shane McMahon was supposed to be Brock Lesnar's Moral Event Horizon). Then, the unexpected injury to Finn Bálor shot Reigns right back up to the top of the card for a Fatal 4-Way match for the vacant title a week after SummerSlam with absolutely no better of a reaction than he had when he left it. You could almost hear the sigh of relief when he was eliminated from the title match, and when Rusev returned and cost him a chance to get another title shot, the fans closed out the show chanting Rusev's name.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Inverted; almost anyone who wrestles Roman becomes this. Roman may not be a heel (despite all evidence to the contrary), but he's arguably the greatest anti-face in wrestling history. He managed to get Wrestling Monster Braun Strowman cheered like a hero by having the big man beat him so brutally he was coughing up blood.
  • Fan Nickname: "Samoan Joe" by some. This stems from his entry into the 2017 Royal Rumble as the Number 30 entrant, for many were expecting Samoa Joe (among others) to make his main roster debut and the fact that his name actual is Joe.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Many smarks, especially those in favor of Reigns turning heel, would'vr love to see him paired with Eva Marie before her release, since they're both massively hated for the same reasons and the belief that the two could easily draw nuclear heat together.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: India is the one country that Roman is accepted as a top face in without any irony, even at the peak of his nuclear X-Pac Heat. After his temporary surge in popularity in December 2015 had evaporated, the Indian fans welcomed his entrance during WWE's tour like he was his far more beloved cousin Dwayne.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The angle of Braun Strowman tipping over Roman Reigns in the ambulance and later telling Reigns that the next time they'll meet, "it will be [Reigns'] funeral". Too bad it had to happen a week before his brother Matthew "Rosey" Anoaʻi died.
    • The revelation that not only has Roman suffered from Leukemia and recovered before, but that it's come back has caused some fans to feel this way about their mean spirited comments towards him due to his divisive status.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: For detractors, at least. Rapper Monteasy Moore made a fan song about Reigns called "Heart of a Warrior" that has a lyric which says "Royal Rumble, I'm winnin', takin' the gold". In his five Rumble appearances thus far, Reigns was the last man eliminated by the winner in 2014, won the Rumble only to eat the pin in the main event at WrestleMania in 2015, lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a failed title defense in the Rumble match in 2016, and was again the last man eliminated in the 2017 and 2018 Rumble match.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • Anytime he spears someone through a barricade tends to come off as this. The one he did to Sheamus at Elimination Chamber 2013 was particularly epic-looking.
    • The one he did to Bray Wyatt through the announce table got "YES!" chants from what was a nominally dead crowd.
    • His beatdown of Triple H at the end of TLC 2015. Even Boston, who had been more concerned about getting themselves over during the majority of the main event match between Reigns and Sheamus, loved it and started up a "Thank You Roman!" chant.
    • His Spear to Stephanie McMahon during his WrestleMania 32 match with Triple H. This even managed to get him a very brief pop after getting loud boos from the crowd. Of course, they then resumed booing him immediately after.
    • The one to Rusev at the end of his mixed tag match with Sasha Banks where he leapt over her and Charlotte made for an impressive visual as well and got a huge pop, which is really saying something as Reigns was roundly booed throughout his time in the match right until that moment.
    • Being the second man after Brock Lesnar to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania is already a huge one. Him retiring The Undertaker is an even bigger one. The crowd was stunned and dead silent after the whole match.
    • Reacting to his loss against Braun Strowman at Great Balls of Fire with attempted vehicular homicide. After being resolutely booked as a face for years no matter the audience reactions, attempting to kill his opponent in cold blood was certainly something few expected.
    • After an entire year of people treating his inevitable victory over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34 for the Universal Championship as the latest in a long line of "coronations" as a literal Foregone Conclusion, he lost. In fact, Brock brutalised him, busting him open hardway until he was wearing the crimson mask. And it still took six F5s to finally finish him!note 
    • The shocking announcement on October 22, 2018, that not only had he fought leukemia before, which he'd never mentioned anywhere before in any attempt to garner support or sympathy during all the fan-vitriol; but that he'd been working after beating it into remission for eleven years and that it had resurfaced blindsided everyone and reduced the crowd to Stunned Silence.
  • Hype Backlash: If there's a single trope that describes Roman Reigns during his solo career, it's this. The issue with Reigns was never his background or even his ability. (Most objective watchers will agree that, even if he's not a great technician, he's a good athlete and very steady in the ring, which is more than can be said for a lot of the guys WWE has tried to push over the years.) But the push was so unsubtle and manufactured that it came off as WWE trying to bully the audience into a certain reaction. So, of course, a huge segment of WWE fans (a large block of which are young adult Male Americans that as a general rule don't like being told what to do) did the opposite of what WWE wanted out of sheer spite for the way it's been handled. (WWE's initial attempt to push Reigns coinciding with the peak of Daniel Bryan's popularity only made things worse.)
  • Internet Backdraft: Look at all the negative tropes listed on this page and it's no surprise this was the reaction when Reigns seemingly retired The Undertaker of all people. It may not be exaggeration to say no one in the wrestling industry has ever been despised and reviled as much as Roman Reigns after this particular event, which even for many genuine fans of Reigns was the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • Iron Woobie: The leukemia revelation and the very fact that he had been working stoically for eleven years after seemingly beating it the first time around retroactively turned Joe Anoa'i into one. The grace and composure and awe inspiring dignity he displayed during the announcement only hit home how much of a fighter the man truly is.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Reigns was Ensemble Dark Horse with The Shield, but became a Base-Breaking Character since his main event push began.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The idea of Reigns ever losing clean was seen as much in the vein of John Cena — never going to happen. And then Reigns violated the Wellness Policy. He ate three clean pins straight, the latter two in the space of 24 hours.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • His hair, especially among the fangirls, since the man is pretty much a perpetual shampoo commercial.
    • Ever since he referred to Renee Young as "babygirl" in a backstage segment, the word is now associated with him.
    • His "sufferin' succotash" promo.
    • CM Punk's words that he had to "make him look strong".
    • Tater tots.
    • A Running Gag in the IWC is commenting on the numerous inanimate objects that are more over than Reigns. This list includes Mitch the potted plant, Dean Ambrose's Companion Cube when he hosted his Talk Show with Fists the Ambrose Asylum. Other items that Ambrose has managed to get more over than Reigns include a crowbar, Barbie the barbed-wire bat,note  and a chainsawnote . Also on the list is Francesca (2), Xavier Woods' trombone, Chris Jericho's lite-brite jacket, and his scarf.
    • Dean stole Roman's cousins.explanation 
    • Don't do drugs, kids.explanation 
      • Do drugs, kids.explanation 
    • Faithless fool. When your time on earth is done, enjoy nothing.explanation 
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Instead of blaming him for the decrease in quality of the product, many began to see him as another victim of it. In hindsight, this shouldn't have been surprising — Seth Rollins got the same treatment after he was booked poorly as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. It's not just him who has to deal with this crap, but the entire roster. Case in point: ten months of being booked like John Cena got him tepid to mild reactions at best, if he wasn't outright booed. Ten minutes of being booked like a legitimate badass managed to get him over with Philly the next night, and his promos on Raw were short and to the point, enough that little of his momentum from that moment was lost. That shows that Reigns himself was never the problem, it was management and their half-baked booking and over-scripting of promos. Gradual realization of this is why Reigns eventually lost a lot of his X-Pac Heat and why the company is in so much hot water with the fans right now — they don't want to hate him like that since he's supposed to be a face and not a heel, and thus can't convert that into heel heat, but the company's booking gave them little choice since the McMahons, the primary offenders that the fans know of, are currently heels and are supposed to be booed. Reigns effectively became The Scapegoat for the incompetence of management, and the fans felt guilty he's had to face so much scorn for it. On the bright side, he also admitted it gave him a kick in the ass and the motivation to improve, which the fans were very appreciative of.
    • In CM Punk's infamous podcast, one of his grievances was being constantly told to "make Roman Reigns look strong", particularly in a 3-on-1 match where Punk was scripted to beat The Shield by himself. And that played a big hand in the backlash towards Reigns, when Punk didn't seem angry at Reigns at all, it was the constant insistence by the higher ups to tell him what to do, when he actually told them that if they wanted to get Reigns over, they should've just have had Reigns beat him in a decisive manner.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Reigns retiring the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. His X-Pac Heat has gone off the charts and his chances of ever getting over as a babyface have been obliterated.
    • Attempted to outright murder Braun Strowman by smashing an ambulance Strowman was in at speed into a parked truck is a very clear example (even worse that this was Reigns' reaction to losing their ambulance match). Of course, given Strowman's own brutality toward Reigns and many others, this one was arguably understandable via Pay Evil unto Evil.
  • Narm:
    • His absurd promos in late 2014, often referencing Looney Tunes and fairy tales, including a drawn out reciting of Jack and the Beanstalk. You know it was Vince writing them by that point.
    • "And I'm here right now to be the first man to degl—declare at the Royal Rumble match... *Stares into your soul* It is made more ridiculous by the fact that Daniel Bryan comes back and gives an incredible promo has the crowd in the palm of his hand.
    • The Tatering. Kind of explains Reigns' "shit, this isn't working" face on top of the ladder. He's trying to deliver this terribly written promo, kids are falling asleep in their seats, fans are leaving, Sheamus's music takes forever to hit (and Sheamus also thinking what Reigns was saying was racist)... Unbelievably bad.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Apparently Reigns has "lots of rough nights" keeping him away from making promotional interviews. explanation  Thankfully downplayed if not averted, as it never caught on to the point his real life fiancee and daughter will ever hear of it and come away with the resulting implications about his fidelity.
    • Though, in a much more playful and lighthearted way, Seth Rollins has said he'll occasionally call Reigns "Fabio" whenever he's not around. Ambrose also said that, while each member of the Shield has their fangirls and each of them is somebody's type, Reigns is the one that seems to be everybody's type. It's mostly kept in the realm of a very intense Mr. Fanservice, but it'll occasional tip over into this.
    • Ever since a certain podcast broke the internet, "making Roman Reigns look really really strong" has become this.
    • When Vince started personally writing Reigns' promos leading up to Royal Rumble 2015, two of the corniest phrases Vince made him say, "Sufferin' succotash, son!" and "You know who didn't have to remind people they were a giant? Andre the Giant." became endlessly mocked amongst smark fans as a reason why Reigns wasn't ready to be pushed.
    • His first violation of the Wellness Policy seems to be going down this way. Doesn't help that news of his suspension was met with widespread celebration (which was really saying something, as the majority of the IWC was already on cloud nine thanks to Rollins pinning Reigns semi-clean, Ambrose winning the Money in the Bank ladder match and cashing it in on the same night to finally win the title, and the fact that the long-awaited Shield Triple Threat match had finally been booked) and pretty much flushed his entire two year long push down the drain. The company itself seems to be making sure that Reigns and the rest of the locker room learns a lesson from it. You could call this one subverted, though, since once he'd eaten the initial few losses, his push came back again stronger than ever. It's possible that no-one in WWE history has ever been pushed as hard by management as Roman was in 2016/17, so he's apparently finished living it down already.
    • Again one that is not Reigns' fault and several fans forgave him for that, but there is no way anyone will EVER forget his retirement of the Undertaker. In fact, this was so badly-received that WWE saw the writing on the wall and decided to basically ignore it, with 'Taker coming back at WrestleMania 34 to squash John Cena and resume part-time activity.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Locking Strowman in the ambulance and then deliberately crashing it at Great Balls of Fire 2017. Yikes!
    • Also (ignoring for the moment the HALF DOZEN F-5s Roman took during this beatdown), everything that Brock Lesnar did to Reigns's head during WrestleMania 34.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: No matter how much the crowd boos and insults him, they continue to push him as a forced, cookie cutter babyface. Triple H all but stated in one interview that as long as Roman is getting a reaction, they're going to keep doing what they're doing with him.
  • Pandering to the Base: WWE's new strategy in attempting to get Roman over seems to be rooted in this. First it was the attempted reunion of The Shield (unfortunately derailed by Dean Ambrose getting injured), then it was having him repeat smark complaints about Brock Lesnar never showing up to defend his Universal Championship (which would have worked better if Roman wasn't always the one getting the few shots at Lesnar that did happen and repeatedly coming up short). Then on his first Raw after finally winning the Universal Championship from Lesnar he declared his first act as champion would be to give a title shot to the inaugural Universal Champion who'd been injured while winning the belt and forced to relinquish it then never given a return shot- Finn Bálor (a repeated complaint for several years had been "Finn never got his rematch!"), which certainly went over well. They then reunited The Shield again (Ambrose having recuperated and returned) after Roman beat Finn to foil Braun Strowman's attempt to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Roman. WWE seem to be using Roman to pander to every smark complaint except for the ones about him.
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees:
    • See the second entry of Replacement Scrappy. When the smarks prefer John Cena over you, something is definitely wrong. Reigns' push as the new face of the company for the past year has gone terribly so far and the fact that the company is still going along with it in spite of this has caused many to theorize (half-jokingly, half-not) that this is all one long, deliberate con on the part of Vince McMahon to get Cena over with the IWC so that way he doesn't get booed when he inevitably wins his sixteenth world title. If that were honestly true, then that would make Vinnie Mac the biggest Magnificent Bastard in the history of wrestling. If it isn't, then Vince has lost his goddamn mind. This ultimately became less and less heard of when Cena started reducing his schedule in WWE and it became clear that they were genuinely preparing Reigns as the new face of the company.
    • For a while, there was a mildly popular theory that Triple H deliberately sabotaged Reigns' character so he could be over with the audience one last time when he won the title for WrestleMania 32. This is disregarding the fact that Triple H had expressed no interest in holding the title again (outside of kayfabe, of course) and seems more than willing to put other, younger talent over. It died down as the storyline went on, as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made numerous over-the-top and outright desperate attempts to get heat on themselves, up and including invoking This Loser Is You during the weeks leading to the event (and during Triple H's entrance at WrestleMania itself) so Reigns could get over as a face, to the point that it was sad when all said attempts failed, and in some cases, actually managed to get Triple H face-heat.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Though it's not really his fault, his seemingly perpetual push as the new face of the WWE is more-or-less a reflection of the inherent nature of the booking of the company, which magnifies every single problem that fans, both smark and casual, have issues with. The need to push him and make him John Cena 2.0, who the fans got sick of years ago and didn't want as a nigh-unbeatable company hero in the first place, and deprive him of every single trait that got him over initially, all while pushing genuine fan favorites (Bryan, Wyatt, Ambrose) down the card and burying practically the entire roster to get him over, all so that corporate can please the network, sponsors, and shareholders — while the fans are forced to grin and bear it — has caused subs for the Network to take a hit each time he wins a pivotal match. After the 2015 Rumble, the number one trend worldwide on Twitter was #CancelWWENetwork, over 20,000 people had unsubscribed from the Network within the first few hours and the page to unsubscribe crashed from all the traffic, and fans outside the arena rioted. That's how badly it was received.
    • Intentionally or not, Reigns has become a heat magnet for the entire industry, and that stigma will likely follow him for the rest of his career; the only way he could ever rise above it is if he either became as popular as his cousin and Daniel Bryan in his current face persona (which is practically impossible with the terrible booking that everyone, not just him, has gone through), or he embraces it, turns heel, and carves out his own persona and gets over that way.
    • Things have gotten so bad that he's become this for John Cena himself of all people. For all the hate Cena got for the "Superman" character they're doing with Reigns, he at least made an effort to make it bearable. When Cena took time off in late 2015 and Reigns got the spotlight completely unhindered, by Survivor Series the smarks actively began to miss Cena.
    • During the 2016 "Road to WrestleMania", a lot of fans perceived him as this for Dean Ambrose. It was absolutely no secret that most fans wanted Ambrose in the main event that year, which was only reinforced when Ambrose proved to be the MVP of those three months: he had three successful programs with Kevin Owens, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar (even if the payoff for that last one was a letdown) and a stellar performance at the Royal Rumble, winning a Last Man Standing match and then entering the Rumble match and lasting to the final two. The middle one in particular was pivotal, as that was when Reigns was out with a deviated septum and was gone for a couple of weeks, leaving Ambrose as the only full-time main event talent on the roster and thus the one who had to carry Raw.note  He even managed to get heat on Triple H, something that Reigns completely failed to do. Not helping matters was the fact that Ambrose's title match with Triple H at the WWE Network's Roadblock special was considered infinitely better than Reigns' title match with Triple at WrestleMania (it was considered one of the early forerunners for Match of the Year, perhaps the main forerunner until NXT TakeOver: Dallas). In fact, many speculate that the one of the main reasons why Vince still went with Reigns in spite of all the fan support for Ambrose was because he was forced to relent to what the fans wanted for the last two years and wasn't going to budge this year.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • While not outright hated, Reigns was initially dismissed by the IWC, since they only cared about former indy stars Rollins and Ambrose debuting, and many suggested that he didn't deserve to be in the Shield and believed Kassius Ohno should have been in his spot instead. However, he became quite the IWC favorite during his Shield tenure after getting some much needed experience in the ring. He fell back into Scrappy once it became clear that he's being groomed as Cena's replacement over IWC favorites.
    • The crowds have been gradually warming up to him since his loss at WrestleMania 31 and WWE gently easing him away from the title picture for now. For instance, he managed to receive cheers in a match that featured both Ambrose and Rollins, both traditionally more over than him. He still isn't exactly loved, but he isn't hated now either. His feud with Bray Wyatt has helped a lot. An amazing improvement on the mic, in the ring, and Dean Ambrose backing him up for the foreseeable future has endeared Reigns to a lot of people. It helps that the storyline, while developing into a war as the Wyatt Family vs Reigns and Ambrose (and later on, Orton), is, at its core, really a conflict between them, and they haven't forgotten it. It did such a great job of putting both men over that the two closed out Raw in what is considered to be the best main event (post-match brawl and all) in a while, and got to be the second Hell in a Cell match in a card that features 'Taker/Lesnar in the Cell.
    • He got even more sympathy after the Sheamus cash-in, right after finally winning the title. Not in the conventional sense, mind you — people hated it because it was basically a rehash of the Daniel Bryan storyline two years before, and Reigns had nowhere near the popularity or the underdog aura of final opponent Dean Ambrose, let alone Bryan, to make it conceivably work. However, that being said, the IWC wanted Sheamus to be champion even less than they wanted Reigns to be a face champion!
    • And then in TLC 2015 after Reigns lost the title match against Sheamus due to interference from Rusev and Alberto Del Rio from The League of Nations (King Barrett didn't interfere because of a nerve injury), Reigns had enough and started beating the trio senseless with a steel chair, to which Triple H and Stephanie McMahon of The Authority came out to stop Reigns, and then Reigns started to beat Triple H up as well. This got the crowd cheering for Reigns harder than Reigns' ever been cheered before in his singles run, and this same crowd chanted "We Want Cena/Cena Sucks" as a way to piss-take on the match. This was so successful that Reigns got a "Thank You Roman!" chant the following night on Raw in Philadelphia. The very same Philly who, earlier this very year, booed both him and and The Rock straight out of the building. It was probably because A) it gave Reigns some much needed character development, B) it showed shades of the badass character that got Reigns over initially, and C) people really hate The Authority. They even celebrated with him when he finally won the title that same night.
    • Unfortunately, the X-Pac Heat seems to have returned with a vengeance at the 2016 Royal Rumble. He was voraciously booed all throughout the match, and when the League of Nations came out to take him out of the match, they didn't receive a negative reaction. When Reigns made his return to the ring and got two eliminations in quick succession, the crowd booed him, and Triple H got one of the loudest pops of the night for eliminating him... yes, the same Triple H who was such a scrappy that Reigns finally got over by beating him up. The reason for this is because the above beatdown was never followed up on and the moment it got Reigns over, somebody up in management put the kibosh on it. Hence, the X-Pac Heat returned (though Reigns did remain somewhat over with casual fans). The fans didn't want him to return to being a Cena-knockoff — they wanted to watch him beat people up.
    • He seems to be heading towards Base-Breaking Character after WrestleMania 33, partly due to putting on great matches at Payback and Extreme Rules... and losing both. Though he still looked pretty strong, the failure to secure the wins took away a lot of his Invincible Hero status and allowed fans to appreciate him and his matches more objectively.
    • Reigns lost his scrappy status and X-Pac Heat permanently after he was forced to relinquish the Universal Title and go on hiatus to battle his leukemia. Part of it was because of sympathy, but another part of it was due to his speech. When Reigns made his speech, talking as his real self, Joe Anoa'i, he apologized that he couldn't stay and be their fighting champion, that he appreciated the fans for always reacting to him, and that this wasn't a retirement speech — after he was done beating leukemia, he was coming back home. Many fans noted that he sounded more like the face that they would support and cheer for than he had for most of his career being booked like John Cena. To them, it was the final proof they needed that he really did deserve his spot as the company's top face.
      • About a month later, WWE released a WWE Chronicle episode for Dean Ambrose, documenting the events leading up to Ambrose's Face–Heel Turn (and thus Reigns' leukemia announcement). Reigns nearly hijacked the documentary with his hilarious backstage antics, so much so that people outright stated that if he had acted like this on-screen he would've been over with the crowd easily. It was only more proof of his talent, and that most of his issues getting over with the fans was management's fault.
    • After Reigns returned in 2019, having successfully fought off the leukemia again, it's confirmed that the X-Pac Heat is a thing of the past, at least until WWE manage to earn him some more (which they haven't managed to so far). It helps that they're not relentlessly pushing him as "the guy" any more, as he hasn't even sniffed near either the WWE Championship held by Kofi Kingston or the Universal Championship held by former Shield brother Seth Rollins, and they've managed to restrain themselves for playing his victory over his leukemia for cheap sympathy points.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Was on the giving end of one in WrestleMania 32, where he speared Stephanie McMahon, and actually got the crowd to cheer for him. They then resumed booing him right after.
    • Everything about Reigns during his suspension and especially after his return from said suspension was regarded as this to Reigns, most likely in retaliation for said suspension. During his suspension, Rollins outright acknowledged on WWE television that Reigns' suspension was due to violating the Wellness Policy, heaping misery on him for it, though since Rollins is a heel, at the time it could also be understood as a proverbial Kick Them While They Are Down moment within kayfabe. However, at Battleground 2016, commentary acknowledges the negative reaction he's gettingnote  rather than trying to spin it as something else. He gets the shit beaten out of him by Ambrose and Rollins (keep in mind that 1) Until then, Ambrose had defended Reigns' during his suspension against Rollins' rants, and 2) Ambrose and Rollins are perennial Arch-Enemies), culminating in them working together to do the Shield's signature powerbomb on him to put him through an announce table, the move that Reigns used to be centerpiece of, and then Ambrose pins him clean with a Dirty Deeds to retain the title, right after Reigns got a spear on Rollins and was about to win it himself. For the final parting shot, Ambrose celebrates his win with the rest of the SmackDown roster, where Reigns' cousins The Usos, who just months earlier were pulling AJ Styles off a cover to keep the title on him, lift Ambrose up on their shoulders to end the PPV. The following night he was verbally eviscerated by Stephanie McMahon for costing Raw the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, in front of the entire Raw roster. Then, when it seems he has the chance to face Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Championship, he loses clean again, this time to the just-debuted Finn Bálor. Reigns has clearly lost favor with someone in upper management thanks to that suspension, and they're making him pay for it dearly, while the IWC was left in absolute stitches.
  • Tear Jerker:
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In the sense that fans started hating the company and the character while sympathizing with the performer. After Survivor Series 2015, it became clear that management and creative had failed Reigns just like they have with everyone else on the roster, so many smarks on the Internet started using him as an example while detailing arguments as to why creative/Vince/whoever sucks while the hatred for Reigns went down to a noticeable degree. When Reigns got over briefly in December 2015 only to become The Scrappy once again a month later, only more sympathy was piled on to him. By that point it was clear there was no one to really blame but management. Though any sympathy he had was lost when news came out that he had violated the Wellness Policy, though it gradually returned as the years passed.
  • X-Pac Heat:
    • Received this since the buildup to WrestleMania 31 because WWE was clearly pushing him as the next top babyface despite him being too green, having terrible mic skills, and not having evolved his character in any way since The Shield disbandednote  simply because of his look, size, and Anoa'i family ties. As a result, many of his fans turned against him since he won the 2015 Royal Rumble and wanted him to go away. His reception as a solo star went from cheers, to mixed reactions, to boos. He even received dead silence at times. Ratings for Raw were on a steady dip during Reign's title run, to the point that Pro Wrestling Torch's coverage of Money in the Bank 2016, where Dean Ambrose won the title after cashing in on Seth Rollins (who pinned Reigns clean in the main event), outright attributed Ambrose's title win to WWE needing to to do something after the ratings for Raw. Sure enough, ratings for the Raw after Money in the Bank spiked, while Reigns' suspension for violating the Wellness Policy the night after was met with both wide celebration and massive disappointment. Celebration because he wouldn't be on Raw for a couple of weeks, disappointment because the company all but handed him everything in spite of the ardent hostility of the fans only for him to flush it all away.
    • The heat he got on the Raw after WrestleMania 33 was beyond nuclear. The crowd was incredibly hostile to him, not letting him speak for 15 minutes while chanting things like "FUCK YOU ROMAN!", "ASSHOLE!", "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" (Keep in mind, Reigns has not said anything at that point) and "GO AWAY!" at him. At this point X-Pac Heat might as well be renamed "Roman Reigns Heat." Unfortunately, WWE remain utterly convinced that this is a good thing, sticking to their script that "Reigns is getting the biggest reaction so he's the biggest star in the company, even as a 'face' who everyone hates", and citing merchandise sales as proof that Reigns is their biggest attraction, so they clearly have absolutely no intention of changing anything. His hate has gone to the point where some people even wished Joe Anoa'i should have been the one who died when his brother Matt, AKA Rosey, died on April 17, 2017 at the age of 47.
    • Even X-Pac himself can't help but sympathize with Roman in regards to his X-Pac Heat.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Eleven months after the infamous booking that lead the crowds to booing him and even The Rock during the road to WrestleMania 31, Reigns finally managed to win back genuine cheers from the crowd when he destroyed Triple H at the TLC PPV, and again when he punched out Vince McMahon and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for good from Sheamus the following night on Raw. Even more egregiously, the arena in which he won the title was the Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia), the same arena that booed him and The Rock at the Royal Rumble. Subverted in that this good-will eventually ended at the 2016 Royal Rumble, and shows no signs of coming back anytime soon. If The Shield mini-reunions at Payback 2015 and Survivor Series 2016 are any indication, they are sure-fire ways to have Reigns get cheered if only for a Triple Powerbomb spot. However, any chance of this trope happening to him have been all-but-obliterated with him retiring Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. The only possible chance now for him to get over is if he turns heel as he's going to be one in the eyes of the fans forever post-Mania 33 otherwise especially given he's still babyface.
    • However, even with all of the above having been said, this seems to be happening again as of late 2017. In the wake of WM33, the WWE significantly toned down Roman's frankly absurd Invincible Hero booking, having him lose repeatedly to Braun Strowman and then fail to dethrone Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2017. Following on from this, Roman - despite being being very close to the Heel in this particular instance - benefited from a well-promoted and well-executed feud with John Cena, which saw him significantly improve both on the mic and in the ring. A well-timed and much-anticipated reunion with The Shield gave Roman a further bounce, as did a lengthy hiatus from wrestling on account of a very real and very serious bout of viral meningitis.

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