Ricky Steamboat is regarded as one of the purest babyfaces of all time. WWE would love for Roman Reigns to join that discussion, but The Big Dog is all too often booed by tens of thousands of people on a routine basis.
"I think in the very, very beginning, he almost appeared like a shadow of The Rock. Maybe that started the ball rolling on him being disliked by fans. Whether you are liked or disliked, either/or is required to make a match. You got guys that are booed and you got guys that are cheered. You hook the two of them up and there's the match. It's just a matter of time before something happens. Something special on TV or on pay-per-view and Roman Reigns is going to be cheered. The longer he is booed, when they make the switch, the better off he'll be."
Like many, Steamboat forecasts Reigns making a demonstrable heel turn. Depending on the situation, Reigns does play heel, but he's always booked as a babyface. This discrepancy has made the psychology of the Roman Reigns character a mess.
In a vacuum, Reigns presents like an ace: uncanny wrestling heritage, former football player, tall, handsome, and hasn't had a bad match in years. However, Vince McMahon's affinity for The Big Dog got out quick and fans rejected him fearing another era akin to John Cena's.
This regurgitation of Reigns has made for a handful high profile boo-fests that nullified WWE's efforts to make Reigns more palatable. And such loud moments of disdain have muffled the true ability of Reigns. However, this tsunami of refusal is based in a logical folly: fans think that because they don't like Reigns, that makes him unqualified for any opportunity an incapable of success. This same flawed rationale has been applied to Tom Brady, The New York Yankees, and Brussels sprouts.
Roman Reigns has been harmed by fan's knee-jerk rejection and a few fumbled decisions by WWE. However, Roman Reigns most certainly has "it," but both us a WWE are screaming too loud for anyone to notice
In the end, all that matters may be Vince McMahon's unwavering conviction. If Vince felt the same way about Drew McIntyre, he'd strap the same rockets to his back, regardless of how we felt about it.
Just like the genie can't go back in the bottle, Roman Reigns is never leaving WWE's main event. Some of that is because he's been anointed by decision makers, but a lot of that is because he's very good at his job.
That heel turn is inevitable, not because we want it, but because wrestler how have the long career like Reigns will, always end up playing the hero and the villain.