WWE executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque spoke with The Mirror and was asked whether he enjoyed his match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32. “Yeah, you know, it was a challenging situation on a lot of fronts,” he said. “Roman is a unique character in the business and a polarizing character, much like a John Cena or somebody like that. He’s a polarizing character, you are in front of 100,000 people and you’re also coming up at the end of a six-and-a-half hour plus show – it was long.
“I was happy with it but to be honest I’ve not watched it back yet. I’m real funny about watching myself back at this point in time in my career, it’s hard for me to see the positives sometimes. But I was there, I kind of know how it went and how it felt out there and yeah, I was happy with it, I felt we did well and we did what we needed to do. For me it’s about getting to where you need to be. If you get to the end of a chapter in WWE, and the chapter delivered to get you where you needed to go to start the next chapter, then you did all right.”
Levesque also spoke about Reigns playing more of a tweener role. “Yeah. I think the world is a different place now,” he said. “I think you’re going to find it very hard now, at the top level, to find anybody that is either a good guy or a bad guy. Someone who is universally loved or universally disliked. It’s very difficult. I think part of that is the internet, in that I don’t care what the topic is, whether it’s politics, music, sports, anything, you can go on the internet and find somebody who loves it and somebody who hates it. You can jump on whatever conversation you want to have with people who are like-minded to what you think, or opposite-minded to what you think. And that emboldens your position right?
“So I think the time of ‘hey, this is the guy and he’s the good guy’ and everybody goes ‘yay he’s the good guy’ – I think that time has gone. And I think the time of saying ‘this is the bad guy and he’s the evil one and everybody is going to hate that person’ is really gone too. Because there is just that level of, no matter if you’re the bad guy doing the worst possible thing you can do, there is somebody that goes: ‘I like that, that’s cool, I like the fact he’s that evil, that’s cool’. There are people on the other side who want a hero saying ‘hey, don’t quit, never surrender and I’m the underdog…’ all those things. I make that sound horrible – can you tell which way I slant? Ha ha.” Read the full interview at Mirror.co.uk.
Powell’s POV: John Cena is the exception to the rule when it comes to the traditional babyface and heel dynamic. Vince McMahon seems to be using Cena’s run to justify his refusal to turn Reigns heel. The fans want to boo Reigns. In the past, that would have led to the company recognizing that he would play better as a heel and reacting accordingly. I’m sure there would be some fans who would start cheering him once he turned heel, but I believe the masses would boo him. Case in point, this doesn’t come into play at the NXT level. NXT played to the hardcore fan, yet most of its fans are happy to play along with the traditional babyface and heel dynamic because the characters are slotted properly. So while I see Roman’s “The Guy” role as a decent compromise, I still believe that the company is leaving money on the table by not turning him full fledged heel.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...