The Roman Reigns Reaction
January 30, 2015
I just want to touch on the Royal Rumble finish and the fan backlash to the Roman Reigns win a little bit here. I was just listening to Talk is Jericho (PodcastOne.com) and Chris had Dave Meltzer on to discuss the Royal Rumble. Dave brought up a point just quickly off the cuff about why the crowd might have turned on Roman that hadn't been mentioned before and it really struck a chord with me. I wanted to highlight that point here. I'm not going to make the point at the start; I want to tell the story that sets up the point to see if you can come to the conclusion as I make it.
For over 15 years now WWE has been doing the Evil Owner/Heel Authority figure story line. The main focus of WWE programming for almost 2 decades has been that the people in charge of WWE are selfish egomaniac heels that don't give a damn about what fans think; they constantly throw obstacles in front of the top baby faces to hold them down and gloat when they succeed and really rub the fan's nosed in it whenever possible. Vince did it to Austin, Laurenitis did it to Cena, and The Authority has been doing it to Daniel Bryan. Think about this for a minute. This has been the primary focus for almost 20 years. If you are a WWE fan under the age of 30 (started watching at 6-10 yrs old) this is all you know. Your entire experience as a WWE fan has been: the people running WWE are bad evil people who don't care what you think.
Further more over the last 18 months The Authority has specifically talked about "The Face of the Company" and how they are going to control who that is. From Summer Slam 2013 until Bryan was stripped of the Title in May last year, it was all about how Daniel Bryan was the best, the fans loved him, but the evil owners of WWE wanted to keep him down and keep him from being the top guy. This angle included the fans; they had the "Yes movement", they did the "Occupy RAW" show where "fans" got to stand up against the evil owners to give their guy a chance.
WWE blended real life and storyline into the show in an attempt to blur the lines of reality, which really fired fans up. Fans supported their guy and turned on anyone associated with The Authority. Fans loved Daniel Bryan and wanted him to succeed and many of them knew that much of what The Authority was saying about him were the legitimately held beliefs of the company.
So now we come to the Royal Rumble 2015 and it's time to reap what you sow. Nearly 20 years of WWE Bosses are evil and don't care what you think, then almost 2 years of WWE owners pick the face of the company not you fans, and now the guy they have win the Rumble and hope will be cheered, is someone most fans know is the chosen face of the company, handpicked by those very same Evil Owners. What do you expect to happen? It's almost a Pavlovian response at this point, isn't it?
You could argue that the fans turning on Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble was actually a credit to WWE booking and storytelling. The fans reacted exactly as they have been conditioned to. Fans have been taught that WWE corporate is the enemy, and we should not accept anything that they are in favour of, and that's exactly what they did. The lines have been blurred, so it doesn't matter that Roman isn't the handpicked guy in Storyline; smart fans, Philly fans, and certainly WrestleMania fans are going to know that he's the handpicked guy just the same, and as a result he's going to face their wrath.
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