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Building An Empire: A Fan’s Guide to the Rise of Roman Reigns

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Why are we booing Roman Reigns?

The simple answer to this question appears to be “because he was given a monumental push by WWE creative without any measurable support from the audience.” That is a fair point, one  that has been repeated for over a year now. But if you hear something enough times from enough sources, it’s easy to start believing it, regardless of what the facts may be. Perhaps there is more to Roman Reigns’ three and a half years on the main roster than we initially saw, and maybe we need to do some fact-checking to get the whole story.

When I started fleshing out a possible article on how the hostile relationship between the three-time WWE World Heavyweight champion and the WWE Universe developed, I realized there were several components that needed to be considered. The first was how Reigns was booked, from his first appearance with The Shield in the final moments of the 2012 Survivor Series pay-per-view to now. That meant watching a lot of matches. The second component to keep in mind was how the audience was reacting to him at every interval. The third component was how the audience was reacting to everyone else; who was super over and who was ignored? This meant keeping tabs on guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, The Rock, and Brock Lesnar during all of the PPVs as well as episodes of RAW and SmackDown. The fourth component was where the title belts were as Reigns began to approach his own title runs. The final, and most important component as well as the hardest to keep tabs on, was the online atmosphere at the time. That meant digging through old twitter feeds, blog posts, and podcasts.

I got started and my notes stretched from one page to two and then to four and five. I realized this was not one article; it was many articles. I decided to start at the beginning, with the first appearance on the main roster of The Shield up until Extreme Rules 2013, the night every member of The Shield became a champion. I broke the next three years up until nine parts, marked by high and low moments in the career of Roman Reigns, both as a part of this successful trio and as a singles competitor. My final article will end in the run-up to this year’s Summer Slam event in Brooklyn, NY, the only part of the story I can’t yet examine.

Some of you may be wondering why I’m even bothering at all; it seems like a lot of effort for very little reward. Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps all I will do is work out on paper exactly why Roman Reigns will never be over in the way Daniel Bryan or Stone Cold Steve Austin were. But perhaps I find a flaw in the mindset of the WWE Universe, and can flip some people’s outlook on him – including my own. Who knows? But there’s only one way to find out.

This is Empire Building: A Fan’s Guide to the Rise of Roman Reigns.

Check back Monday for Building An Empire Pt 1: The Shield of Injustice – part one of Lady J’s nine part series

The Lady J is bringing her personal brand of internet sass via the US capitol, where she lives with her golden doodle roommate Gizmo and cannot find a good bagel to save her life. While it may not seem very lady-like, she is actually cutting a promo on you right now.

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