Roman Reigns has been through a whole hell of a lot in his short pro wrestling career. It's brought him to where he is now, the WWE world heavyweight champion headed into a historic Royal Rumble where he'll defend that title as the number one entrant.
Fans are actually cheering for him too.
It wasn't long ago that wasn't the case and, even now, you can sometimes here a smattering of boos for angles fans aren't the biggest fans of. About all that, he explained how he goes about things in an outstanding interview with Scott Fishman at Channel Guide Mag (read the whole thing here):
"Everything is a process. We have to remember this is a show. We have storylines. Believe me, nobody wants more than to show up to the building and do what he wants to do than me. I'd love to just show up and say, 'This is what I'm doing. Thank you. I'll see you out there.' But it is a process. It's a creative process, which I love. I love to be able to collaborate with people and bounce ideas and brainstorm together. That's the most important thing. Sometimes you have to do what is best for the team, and you have to earn equity with respect and trust.
"Then when it gets to that point where you can let your hair down and run with the ball, you do that. Fortunately for me, I stayed the course. You've seen some bad stuff, some decent stuff, and what I like to think, some great stuff. It's all about growth and progression. There is no off-season, so we have plenty of time and platforms with the shows we have to put that out there and show the evolution of a character and personality. That's where I'm at now. I'm just trying to be me and have fun because fun reflects. People see that and enjoy themselves as a result."
You know what? It's hard to argue with anything he has to say there.
That said, there are always going to be fans who hate his guts and think he's the absolute worst. In fact, some are banding together in an effort to boo him out of the building at the Royal Rumble. That's a misguided goal but indicative of the emotion this man evokes within the fan base.
That's a good thing.