One versus all

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Roman Reigns’ Championship win at Wrestlemania 32 (Photo By Manuel 33 via Wikimedia Commons)

The term overrated is thrown around a lot these days and especially in the world of sports. One probably wouldn’t want to be associated with the word. It’s a negative adjective to describe an individual or thing of being better than it really is. It’s used as a way of discrediting an individual.

There are tons of athletes that fall under this list such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Cam Newton but let’s look at one man – Roman Reigns.

It’s important to know what kind of guy we’re dealing with…so, here we go!

Who is Roman Reigns?

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Roman Reigns (Photo By Ross Bonander via Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons)

Roman Reigns is a professional wrestler signed under the world’s largest wrestling promotion – the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – owned by Vince McMahon – and is unarguably the most overrated WWE Superstar of all time.

The man behind the character of Roman Reigns is Leati Joseph (commonly referred to as Joe) Anoa’i. He is of Samoan decent and is linked to numerous wrestlers such as Yokozuna, Rosey, Umaga, Rikishi and his sons The Usos (first cousin once-removed) and The Rock (blood brother) through the Anoa’i family lineage. It’s been believed by several that Reigns was given a shot at professional wrestling due to his extensive blood line.

Why is he in the WWE?

So, this is an individual who has never been in a wrestling match his entire life or made a name for himself after over a decade or so in the independent circuit unlike WWE Universe favorites such as Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. However, it’s important to know a little bit about the guys.

Reigns previously dabbled in football, where he played for Gerogia Tech in college as a defensive tackle before going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft with the Minnesota Vikings. Only to be released later that same month, he was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars in August and was released yet again just before the start of the NFL season. His last stint with professional football was with the Edmonton Eskimos as part of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for one season before being released in November 2008 and eventually retire from the sport.

To put it bluntly, he failed. He served as an offseason and practice squad member in the NFL and his professional career stats solely come from one game in the CFL against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with nine tackles.

Transition to professional wrestling

In 2010, Reigns signed a developmental contract with WWE and assigned to what was then the company’s development territory in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) now NXT. He wrestled under the name Roman Leakee (often shortened to Leakee), where he would come up short in multiple matches before eventually striking gold as a tag team competitor and defeating two promising talents in Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Years later, the trio formed a faction called The S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hound of Injustice

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The S.H.I.E.L.D.

Photo By Vhvgfyh via Wikimedia Commons

During the rebrand of FCW to NXT, the stable debuted in November 2012 at the annual WWE Survivor Series pay-per view. The interference of these three men shook the WWE Universe as their purpose of disrupting the main event of Ryback vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship was to fight against injustice, however not quite the tactics of a vigilante. They never aligned themselves with any talent and struck whenever they wanted.

The Shield was a crowd favorite despite their heel persona. You either loved them or hated them for being so good at being the bad guys. In June 2014, The Shield disbanded and when it came down to who was the top dog, Reigns seemed to be the one that stood out – to McMahon at least.

Wrong timing, wrong move

While the other two members of The Shield feuded in their own respected storyline, Reigns was shoved right into a contender opportunity for a world title. He won the 2015 Royal Rumble, which earns the winner an opportunity to headline Wrestlemania. Reigns previously competed in the pay-per view event the year before and set a record of eliminating 12 men. That should have been the year he won, which the audience actually backed him up on but lost against a returning Batista. Reigns would eventually win the event in 2016 and received the largest disdain from an audience ever.

Why? The crowd learned that Reigns just simply wasn’t all that he is displayed to be. He isn’t the ultimate underdog that fans can connect to in a meaningful way. His in-ring ability fluctuates a lot and have come down to the same handful of moves – spear, Superman punch, leaping clothesline and running front dropkick. He’s the most predictable Superstar out there.

It’s clear that WWE wanted the universe to back up Reigns but they made a huge mistake in pushing him to the top. They put him against the biggest underdog of them all – Daniel Bryan. Bryan was in the peak of his career in 2013 and is one of the most loved Superstars today. In other words, the total opposite of Reigns. Superstars such as Bryan have worked years in the indies even as going far as to wrestling in bingo halls and overcoming odds of competing against larger talent.

Yes, despite its validity in sports, athletic ability and memorization aren’t enough traits to get one by as a successful WWE Superstar.

The fall of the Roman Empire

The company has plans in molding Reigns as the new John Cena, which more than likely no one ever asked for. They try so hard to keep him relevant and close to a world title shot. Reigns was simply pushed too early in his career and now there’s too much damage for him to recover. A driving force as to why the WWE keeps pushing him to the top is because he gets a good pop (cheers and crowd) in non-televised events.

Roman Reigns has managed to headline two, back-to-back Wrestlemania events (Wrestlemania 31 and 32) and is rumored to have the last match on Sunday for Wrestlemania 33 against The Undertaker. They are practically shoving Reigns down the throats of the WWE Universe. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they let him win against the icon.

Why isn’t John Cena on this list?

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Roman Reigns (Photo By Manuel 330 via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s simply one explanation; Cena can cut a promo and is far more entertaining in and out of the ring. He’s the ultimate WWE Superstar and if the universe thought they got rid of Cena once and for all – they’re wrong. They have a bigger problem and that’s Roman Reigns. He is here to stay and plans are him to be new poster boy.

So, why is he overrated?

WARNING: Video contains explicit language

  • His in-ring ability is predictable
  • His mic skills are very weak and unconvincing – he’s boring
  • Unable to relate to the audience as an underdog
  • He is hyped up just because he comes from an infamous blood line

The views have to give Reigns some credit though. Despite all the hate, the guy is still out there trying and is actually feeding off the WWE Universe. In an ESPN interview this year, Reigns said, “[…] thousands of people are screaming, booing at the top of their lungs, and I’m the center of attention, so I must be doing something right.” No one wants a new John Cena but they’re still creating one in Roman Reigns.

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