Every time we see something great emerge from the ranks of WWE, we invariably want to push it to the moon.
But in our zeal to exploit the things that make us happy, we sometimes overlook the reason it made us so happy in the first place. Kind of like (archaic reference alert) episode 109 of The Facts of Life, when the campus went wild over Jo's homemade pizza, then found out what happens when you change the formula in order to appease the masses.
That's kind of where I'm at with Roman Reigns.
What's interesting to me is how much the dynamic has changed since The Shield made its debut at Survivor Series back in 2012. The early scouting report, from our own Geno Mrosko, painted a very different picture of the future, with what can only be described as reserved enthusiasm for 2014's breakout star.
From his RAW recap:
It was obvious right from the start of the interview that Dean Ambrose is a star.
Remember, pro wrestlers get over just as much for the small things as they do for the obvious. His facial expressions while Michael Cole was asking questions told the tale. He's awesome. Reminds me of Heath Ledger's Joker a bit, too, and that's not a bad thing.
Roman Reigns is raw, but the enforcer role suits him perfectly. He's the brawn while Ambrose and Rollins are the brains. That works for me. The black suits make them look like they raided Big Boss Man's old closet but they make it work.
Couldn't Dean Ambrose be the perfect leader for this group? And aren't Rollins and Reigns just good enough as the number two and three guys to make the whole thing work really well?
He believed in The Shield.
We all did, and for good reason. We haven't seen a unit this cohesive in a long time and they exceeded expectations by delivering fantastic in-ring work. Considering how quickly they went from NXT to the big leagues, it's pretty remarkable the quality of matches they've been able to produce.
But wait, I thought Dean Ambrose was supposed to be a star?
Well, he is. But not the star (at least by WWE standards). Not when you have a guy as athletic as Reigns, who not only does astonishing things for a big man, but who also has long, flowing locks, tough-guy good looks and the kind of raspy growl that makes women weak in the knees.
Especially when he delivers lines like, "Baby girl."
That said, and as Geno alluded to in his most recent critique, all that glitters is not gold. Reigns has some work to do on the stick. Regrettably, that's one of those things that can be difficult to master and some guys never get it, which is why Paul Heyman is such an invaluable addition to the promotion.
Zeb Colter, too.
Eloquence on the microphone is not a pre-cursor to a hall-of-fame career, just as the opposite is not an automatic out. Like Reigns, Batista had enough star-making qualities to be a main eventer, and enjoyed a pretty good run at the top, in spite of what I would call serviceable promos.
But in terms of Reigns ... what's the hurry?
Like everyone else, I see great things in the Samoan's future. Why? Because he's doing great things now, as a member of The Shield. I can't recall the last time I saw any program involving Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins where I thought, "enough already."
Anyone not excited about their impending feud against The Wyatts?
The Shield is red hot. They've been that way since the day they debuted, doing all sort of incredible things inside the ring, as well as out. Remember that time they arrived at the arena in a fucking helicopter? That shit was bananas, and we ate it up, peel and all.
And I'm hungry for more.
Reigns clearly needs more time under the lamp to improve his skills on the stick and I think we should give it to him. I know everyone is clamoring for his oft-rumored "monster push" in 2014, but in order to push Reigns, you have to first break up The Shield, or at the bare minimum, replace him with
Crush whatever developmental lab rat is currently being experimented on in NXT.
Right now, we can have our cake and eat it, too. We get Roman Reigns on television every week, as well as on every major pay-per-view (PPV). He's afforded the luxury of clomping around like the certifiable badass that he is, spearing everyone who gets in his way and tossing his leftovers to the other two "hounds of justice."
I'm not sure I'm in such a big hurry to give all that up.
So he can don a pair of neon trunks and start feuding with Randy Orton or The Big Show? Anyone else gagging for a Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio feud? Unless we have some of the top babyfaces turn to the dark side -- and Christian doesn't count -- we have enough good guys. We need some really bad guys.
Truth is, we already have them.
At the risk of overexposure, I don't think we should be tampering with the formula until it starts to taste bland. Keep in mind that Reigns is only 28. I know, strike while the iron is hot and all that jazz, but there's another old saying about not knowing what you've got until it's gone.
Or until it turns into nWo 2000.