Well, I’m sure this won’t cause any strong reactions or trigger any debate.
Sports entertainment lightening rod Roman Reigns is profiled in a new post at ESPN.com which features quotes given by The Big Dog the morning after SummerSlam - so before his feud with John Cena started and a week away from their controversial promo segment on the Aug. 28 Raw.
In Tim Fiorvanti’s piece, Reigns and Triple H tackle the always popular question of Roman’s alignment, and if he should turn heel.
The Guy says it’s a moot point:
“To me, I'm neither. If I'm totally off here, then I'm totally off, but I'm the first of my type. I'm the first true gray area guy ... just being what he was born to be.”
The notion of a post-faces and heels sports entertainment landscape, and Reigns as a prime example of it, isn’t new. Neither is Haitch’s position that it doesn’t matter as long as the performer makes money for the company and him or herself.
The Executive Vice-President admitting they don’t have the power to dictate heroes and villians today is a little more fresh:
“That's what the internet does -- it allows you to have your own opinion, and you can find somebody that backs your opinion up so you're not all alone. You can hate who you want to hate, love who you want to love, and no matter what we [the WWE] do, no matter what it seems like we're promotionally getting behind, it really sort of doesn't matter. We can't control that.”
Roman’s famously stated in kayfabe that he’s not a good or a bad guy, and his justification to ESPN makes sense - both for his character and how it allows WWE to tell stories:
“I don't go out there and act crazy and flail around and be a heel. I don't come out there smiling and kissing babies, telling each town it's my favorite town at the end of the night. I keep it real. Sometimes I'm in a good mood. Sometimes I'm in a bad one. I want my character to be as human as possible, but not just a regular human that you see every single day.
It's just one of those things that helps me work with everybody. It's not about, 'Well, we can't tell this story because it's two bad guys going against each other, or it's two good guys.' I can adjust to any way [we want to do it]. I can wrestle any way I want. Sometimes you fight pissed off. Sometimes you fight smart with technique. It just depends.”
And it’s in that argument that he may have a point. His current rival, Cena, has existed in a space between face and heel for a lot of fans for a decade now. But he was still presented on-screen as “smiling and kissing babies”. Stone Cold Steve Austin lived in the gray areas, but he still had a schtick designed to please the crowd. Roman doesn’t celebrate wins with cold ones. Austin’s foil and The Big Dog’s cousin, The Rock, was a tweener who couldn’t help but make the fans laugh.
Reigns is somewhat different from each. Does that make him the first?
We’ll leave that up to the internet to discuss. No doubt in an entirely calm and rational manner.