Yeah ... but can he talk?
The jury is still deliberating -- which is not unusual for any case tried in the court of public opinion -- on just how far Roman Reigns can go as a top babyface in professional wrestling. When tall, dark, and handsome is crossed with the strong, silent type, you usually have a recipe for success.
Not always. WWE relies on its talent to tell stories, both inside and outside the ring. Mastering basic psychology is the foundation for any live performer, but this is also the fight game -- kinda/sorta -- and the fuse which lights the disputatious dynamite starts with an argument.
I yell at you, you yell back, shit escalates, and we throw hands.
Some folks can't speak well, while others sound like that annoying little duck from the Tom and Jerry cartoons. On rare occasions, they get paired together. That's when the promotion will assign a professional talker, like Paul Bearer or Paul Heyman.
For everyone else, it's sink or swim.
I was ready to throw a plastic Cheerio to young Roman very early on. Let's face it, he basically hits one note, making the inflection he used to woo Renee Young indistinguishable from the one he called upon to threaten John Cena. But something interesting is happening in spite of it.
He's getting more popular by the minute.
Turns out, the WWE "Universe" -- who wants what they want, when they want it -- isn't going to wait around for Reigns to deliver his breakout promo. They want the Samoan swashbuckler at the front of the line, and they want him there yesterday.
Leave the prattling to those who need it.
I think we (or at least I) sometimes take for granted how difficult it is to be smooth on the stick, because previous A+ players make it look easy. Reigns is playing the anti-authority badass, much like Steve Austin did, and "Stone Cold" can flap gums with the best of 'em.
But the former Shield agent is also making the ladies weak in the knees, in the same way The Rock did during his time at the top, and I don't think we have to mention what kind of lip service "The Brahma Bull" is capable of. That's why it's time to stop compartmentalizing our future champions.
Books can be re-written.
Very early in his career, producers told a young Arnold Schwarzenegger he would never make it in Hollywood, because he talked (and walked) like a robot. So what did he do? Went out and played a robot, then ruled the box office for an entire decade.
Be good, the rest will work itself out.
It's hard to resist the temptation to compare the new guard to the old, or to hold them accountable to a pre-existing standard. I think it's pretty clear at this point that Reigns -- who will surely improve over time -- is never going to have his "Hard Times" or "Cream Rises To The Top" moment, but that's okay.
Just keep reminding us that Cena sucks when you're in town, and we'll get along just fine.