Don't look now, but Roman Reigns is in the middle of a rehabilitation campaign. After pinning the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, Reigns became the most booed man in modern WWE history. However, WWE launched a crusade to get Roman universally accepted as WWE's hero. While they still have some work to do, Vince McMahon and Co. just got an indication that Roman is right on track.
When Reigns usurped The Miz last week to become Intercontinental Champion, most of RAW's audience shrieked with glee. If that weren't promising enough, when WWE posted a commemorative photo of Reigns and his new title on Instagram, they got feedback that likely surpassed them. At this moment the Reigns post has earned 591,000 likes, which is good for the most liked photo in the history of WWE's Instagram page.
A few months ago, a milestone like this may have been unthinkable for WWE officials. But now, they have proof that not only Reigns is winning fans over, but he's demonstrably the most popular Superstar the company.
Ironically, Reigns is no stranger to accomplishments, but what has remained foreign is fans' acceptance of his accolades. WWE's strategy to get Reigns back into the hearts has been meticulous and well executed. After his historical win at WrestleMania 33, Reigns hit a pay-per-view snide where WWE consciously chose for The Big Dog to stop winning big matches. This was done to add few strokes of humility to their top star in hopes of creating a more relatable character.
But real coup was WWE's decision to reunite The Shield. When Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Reigns realigned, WWE facilitated something that was nothing short of a magic trick. Without his Shield brethren, Reigns was still resoundingly booed. However, by simply standing next to he old pals, Reigns instantly became one of the more endeared Superstars on the roster. Even more, this Shield homecoming has been mostly unremarkable as Reigns was forced to miss their first big match at TLC thanks to a viral infection.
But somehow, that hasn't mattered. In his return, WWE made sure that Reigns appeared with Rollins and Ambrose as much as possible, as if they know each sighting is worth +1000 goodwill points. Even though this Shield reunion may lack seminal moments, the positive effects look to have altered Reigns' career for the better.
The reason for WWE's mission to get Reigns cheered is simple. It's been well documented that he will face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 34. It's hard to imagine a circumstance where Reigns doesn't leave New Orleans as Champion, but winning the title is not enough. WWE and Vince McMahon need the moment
And so far, they're on track to get it.