The Piledriver Report 7.18.14: The Face of the Company
Posted by Ronny Sarnecky on 07.18.2014
With Daniel Bryan sidelined, Roman Reigns has been positioned as the guy to take the reins from John Cena as the face of WWE! But does he have what it takes? 411's Ronny Sarnecky takes a look!
Bruno Sammartino. Bob Backlund. Hulk Hogan. Steve Austin. John Cena. What do all of these men have in common? They all, at one time or another, have been branded as the face WWWF/WWF/WWE. Today, John Cena is the clear face of the company. For a time, CM Punk was the clear 1B, and may have overtaken John Cena as the face of the WWE. However, that was not meant to be. Since last summer, Daniel Bryan made a charge at the top spot. Unfortunately, since his WrestleMania XXX coronation, Daniel Bryan went from a career defining WrestleMania moment to a man stuck on the sidelines due to a severe neck and shoulder injury. With no other contenders left in his wake, John Cena remains the cornerstone of the WWE.
John Cena has been the company's main one man revenue stream since 2005 when the WWE trusted him with the top spot. However, after being the top dog for nine consecutive years, and with the age of 40 creeping in over the next three years, it's now time for the WWE to start thinking about John Cena's successor as the company's top star. It was a nice thought to believe that either Punk or Bryan, the WWE's non-hand-picked stars, would actually be the successor to the director of thugamonics. However, there was no way that this would happen. Instead, the WWE is a kingdom with a king, but no prince waiting to take over the throne.
While you had several runners up to John Cena's position, his spot was never in any serious jeopardy. With John Cena being the WWE's cash cow, and in his prime years throughout most of his run, the WWE had been in no hurry to replace him. That is, until now. According to the rumors, the WWE has their sights set on Cena's replacement. The man who the WWE wants to eventually replace John Cena as the face of the company is former Shield member, Roman Reigns
Since before this year's Royal Rumble, rumors started to circulate that Reigns will be the man to lead the company in the post-Cena era. At the Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns eliminated twelve men, and lasted as one of the final two competitors in the match. When he squared off against Batista for the chance to main event at WrestleMania, the fans turned on Batista and screamed for Reigns to win the match. Reigns came up on the short end of the stick, but one thing became clear. The fans were ready for some fresh blood in the main event scene in the WWE. Roman Reigns was on his way to being the next big thing in the WWE. Roman Reigns made his WWE debut in November 2012 when he arrived as a trio alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. While Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were immediately seen as the best workers in the Shield, Roman Reigns had the best look of the three. A funny thing happened over the last year and nine months though. Roman Reigns improved so remarkably in the ring that he wasn't the weak link in the ring, but was seen an equal peer to his tag team partners. He even won the 2013 Wrestling Observer award for Most Improved Wrestler. The WWE teased a Roman Reigns face turn against his partners early this year, but instead the whole group turned face. A couple of months ago, Seth Rollins turned on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Following the turn, the surviving two members of the Shield seemed to go their separate ways. This is seemingly paving a path towards singles glory for Reigns.
The rumored plan was for Roman Reigns was to build him up over the winter and have him capture the WWE title from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. However, with Daniel Bryan out of action, Reigns ascension into the main event scene has been accelerated. He is side by side with John Cena as the top two faces of the company. By the time WrestleMania rolls around, the fans should be clamoring for Reigns to leave the grandest show of the year as the WWE champion.
While Reigns is destined to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship in the foreseeable future, I am surprised that Roman seems to be earmarked to win it at WrestleMania XXXI. I expected to see Daniel Bryan returning from injury to be in that spot to regain the gold. If not him, I thought that the WWE would convince CM Punk to come back by dangling the WrestleMania main event carrot in front of him. I felt that Roman Reigns' raise to the title would be a very slow burn, that would lead him to the crown at WrestleMania XXXII, if not Summer Slam 2015.
Since it appears that the WWE will be going the Roman Reigns route for the Silicon Valley WrestleMania, the WWE has some work to do along the way. No doubt, Reigns is already over with the fans. Giving him a few big wins over the best the WWE has to offer should be enough to make Reigns appear to be ready for the main event of WrestleMania. However, whether or not he is worthy of a WrestleMania main event isn't the big picture that I am looking at.
I'm looking at whether Reigns has what it takes to be the heir to the John Cena throne as the next "Face of the WWE." As of today, I cannot picture Roman Reigns being in the same wrestling Mount Rushmore as Bruno, Backlund, Hogan, Austin, and Cena. When I see Roman Reigns, I don't think "there's the man that will led the WWE for the next decade." For one, I think he will need to change his ring attire. It's too gimmick for a world champion. Of course, so is John Cena's jean shorts, and he's fair pretty well. However, John Cena has a lot of other qualities that made him a viable option as the face of the company.
I have no complaints regarding Reigns' wrestling ability. He has improved tremendously since joining the WWE, and will only get better. Take a look at the other faces of the company. John Cena, Hulk Hogan, and Bruno Sammartino were not exactly putting on five star classics every night. They were all great performers, despite not being great technicians. Roman Reigns can hold his own with these men in terms of in ring ability, so I have no problem in this department.
I think his biggest flaw happens to be his promo delivery. In today's WWE, unless you have Paul Heyman as your mouth piece, or Zeb Coulter, you need to be able to cut a really good promo. I haven't seen this ability from Roman Reigns yet. Maybe he has been handicapped from being able to deliver a quality promo because he had to split time with two other men for most of his WWE run. Now that his on his own, he could get better since he will get more mic time. Only time will tell.
One aspect to Roman Reigns that has caused him to hear a fair share of criticism is in regards to his physique. Roman Reigns always appeared to be a pretty muscular wrestler. However, when Evolution tore off Reigns' vest a couple of months ago, it exposed a weakness. While his arms and shoulders are pretty jacked, his abs and back left a lot to be desired. Despite the criticism, I am not concerned about his physique. I believe that once he gets new gear, Reigns will also show off a physique that he displayed in NXT before he became a Shield member. He has it in his DNA to have a really good physique, so that should be the smallest of any concerns regarding Roman Reigns.