THE BOOKING REPORT – 04.05.2017: The Roman Reigns’ heel turn

photoBy The Unemployed Booker, Staff Writer

According to Wikipedia a heel “is a wrestler who is villainous or a “bad guy”, who is scripted by the promotion to be in the position of being an antagonist.” It goes on to discuss what a heel might do by saying, “Common heel behavior includes cheating to win (e.g., using the ropes for leverage while pinning or attacking with foreign objects while the referee is looking away), employing dirty tactics such as blatant chokes or raking the eyes, attacking other wrestlers backstage, interfering with other wrestlers’ matches, insulting the fans or city they are in, and acting in a haughty or superior manner.” Contrary to what the WWE Universe wants, Roman Reigns is not turning heel. Even after retiring the Undertaker, having boos reign down all over him at the RAW after Wrestlemania, and having more heat on him than any other wrestler in in business, he’s not going to be a heel….. but the WWE Universe is about to whole heartedly get behind Roman Reigns if they’ll just listen to the fans
At this point, Roman has what smarks and insiders call X-pac Heat. Basically, that is where fans revolt against a wrestler, not because he’s a bad character, but because they just don’t like the person. Many times this happens because a worker is basically shoved down the throats of the fans. That’s exactly what happened with Roman Reigns. He was billed as the next WWE superstar and was then booked to win, and win often. The fans who felt there was many other superstars that were deserving of that spot revolted. Time and time again, superstars who get over organically are the ones that get the biggest pop. Roman didn’t get over organically and Vince tried to push the issue. Even I know that’ll never work, and I’m the one without a paycheck. 
But how do we fix the problem? If you want a character to get over, you need him to beat someone the fans hate even more than him, and that’s going to be hard to find with Roman, but there is this one guy… Vince McMahon. 
As much as the fans hate Roman, they still know, deep down, this is Vince’s fault. Roman is Vince’s guy. That’s exactly who we use to get Roman back into the good graces of the WWE Universe. Let’s start with this shake up in the roster that Vince brought up this week on RAW. I think next week Vince should call Roman to the ring and inform him, “Big guy, I’ve got big plans for you! You are going to be #1 contender for Randy Orton’s WWE SmackDown championship!” Of course, the cascade of boos will rain down in an biblical torrent. That’s when Roman looks at Vince and says, “No!” He goes on to cut his promo, “Do you not hear them, Vince? Are you deaf in your old age? Maybe you just think you know better. They hate me! And the reason they hate me is YOUR FAULT!!” You tried to push me down their throats when they didn’t want it. You gave me opportunities that should have gone to other superstars. This whole damn thing is your fault! I’m not doing what you want anymore!! From now on, Roman does what Roman wants, and Roman wants what the fans want! I’m going to tear through this company and give them everything they’ve asked for. I’m going to right YOUR wrongs. From now on, this is going to be THEIR company. You’re out old man!” 
First up on the agenda for Roman is to fix the night’s main event. The match is set as a six-man tag with Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, and Triple HHH about to exact revenge on Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, and Finn Balor. Just as the match is about to start, Roman’s music hits. Roman comes down and gets on the mic, “Vince, Vince, Vince. Do you think the WWE Universe wants to see this again? Why don’t we give the injured Chris and Seth some time to heal up. I know a couple of guys who are dying to team up with Finn…. Anderson and Gallows music hits and down comes the new members of the Balor Club. They of course go on to win an easy match when Seth and Chris take out HHH and KO. This leaves Joe looking strong because who could fault him for losing to the new Balor Club. 
The next night on SmackDown Nikki Bella is in the ring cutting a promo to brag on her man and her giant ring. Roman’s music hits and he comes to the ring. Once in the ring he grabs Nikki’s hand and pulls off her ring. Then he turns, throws it into the crowd and says, “There’s no place for this BS in a wrestling ring!!” Just as Nikki leaves crying John Cena’s music starts to play. An unamused Roman waits for him to get to the ring. After his entrance routine is complete, Roman says, “You done now?” Then attacks Cena. Gives him a catastrophic beatdown until he retreats through the curtain and into the back. Roman then reiterates that he’s going to fix WWE the way the fans want and that means Cena better not step foot back into this company! This gives Cena off time to make his movie.
Later that night on SmackDown Shane announces that Roman will fight Randy Orton at Payback. That’s when Roman’s music hits again. He comes to the ring to confront Shane and tells him, “No!” Turns to walk away and as he’s climbing out of the ring, Shane says, “Fine Roman, have it your way! What is that you want?” Roman stops, turns, and climbs back through the ropes. He takes a look at the crowd and looks like he’s thinking. At this point the crowd will likely chant who they want in that match so use that name. For this article, I’m going to assume it’s AJ, though it may be Bray. Honestly either one could be substituted into this storyline here.  Roman then says, “I shouldn’t be in that match. That match belongs to AJ Styles. Shane argues that this is what the boss wants, blah blah blah, but then concedes, “Ok, next week I’ll give AJ a chance to earn his spot in a #1 contenders match against you, right here on SmackDown Live.” Roman smiles and says, “Deal!” Then walks away. 
The next week on SmackDown, as the match begins, Roman lays down and lets a confused, but never one to miss an opportunity, AJ to jump on him for the pin. Roman gets up and grabs a mic, “That’s for you Vince!! At least one Vince we all know enjoyed that.” 
From there we can continue with Roman until we get the crowd more and more behind him. The only way this works is you keep Roman out of the ring. He has to refuse to fight. Then, he goes away for a few weeks. During his absence you let Cena return and just when it seems we are back to Super Cena, Roman returns to fight him again. This time it’s a you’re fired match where the loser is fired from the WWE. Roman beats Cena and that should let Cena have time to head off on his honeymoon and take some real time off. We can book Cena to return and get over in another article. 
Basically, at this point Roman Reigns is so far down in the approval ratings that it’s going to take some creative booking to get him out. A simple heel turn would be beneficial, but I’m still not sure that can save him. That’s why booking a story arc that blurs the lines between real and fake, kayfabe and shoot, is really the only way to assure that we have a chance to save face (pun intended) with the fans. Of course, I’ve always thought that those types of storylines were the only way to book a wrestling show, but hey, what do I know?
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