Last week in New Orleans, Roman Reigns tied Hulk Hogan’s mark for main eventing four consecutive WrestleManias. But unlike Hogan, Reigns was heavily booed before, during, and after each match—a fact that has already tainted his career.
But it may not be entirely his fault.
WrestleMania expands by the year—bigger venues, bigger names, bigger moments and a seemingly eternal runtime. With the pre-show factored in, it’s become a recent custom for WrestleMania to last more than 7 hours.
And after fans sit, stand, wait for concessions, fight their way to the bathroom, overpay for merchandise, and hemorrhage battery life for six and half hours, Andre the Giant could rise from his tomb and would only get a “meh” response from the salty crowd.
Vince McMahon would kill for such an arbitrary reaction to Reigns.
Instead, Reigns is booed—probably with more fervor than any WWE superstar in history. But would that be the case if he opened the show? Or come on at the midpoint? Or by allowing fans to stew in a crockpot of misery for nearly seven hours, has WWE put Reigns in an un-winnable situation?
Former WWE Superstars, Edge and Christian believe that The Big Dog has been harmed by WWE’s insistence on him closing the show. They shared the following on a recent episode of their podcast:
"it seems like when people are sitting that long, they just get burnt out after a certain amount of time.sometimes really great matches don't seem as good maybe because the crowd is not as hot as they should be and it seems like it could affect the way the matches are viewed when they are really good,” said Christian.
Edge echoed that sentiment but applied that logic especially to the plight of Roman Reigns.
"I think that [has] affected Reigns two years in a row now." Edge explained, "you want to be in the main event, but you're in the main event after six-and-a-half hours of wrestling. That's a tough position to be in, no matter who you are, to try and keep a crowd engaged.”
On top of everything, fans spend WrestleMania dreading Roman Reigns' match. It's not because he's bad at his job, it's that the results (or at least the road to get there) have been so predictable. And even though Brock Lesnar's Superdome victory over Reigns was a surprise, fans had checked out long before the finish.
So does this mean WWE should stop sticking Reigns in the main event just for the sake of optics? Maybe.
Reigns spend most of every year re-endearing himself to WWE's fanbase just to have his sand castle of momentum crushed by onery fans at 'Mania. A switch to an earlier spot on the card makes his imminent victory a little more digestible.1comments
This is a subplot worth keeping an eye on. Reigns will remain a perennial favorite to headline 'Manias for the next decade. However, next year, his era of main event dominance may end at the hands of Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair.
[H/T Wrestling Inc.]