Roman Reigns Versus Seth Rollins
– The Impact Of Fans Reactions
Jobber Heel Blog by Danimal Daniel Jobber
I was recently watching a video in which Roman Reigns answered a question about why he doesn't play a heel. The person who asked the question suggested that it should have been Roman as the Authority's heel champion instead of Seth Rollins. This video really illustrated the differences between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, and really got me thinking about the different ways these two performers are treated by the masses of WWE fans.
There seems to be a feeling among many WWE fans that Seth Rollins is what every wrestler should aspire to be, and that Roman Reigns as a babyface is a fish out of water. However, is it fair to try to fit every peg in the same hole, regardless of its shape? Furthermore, I know people are ultimately going to like who or what they like, and dislike who or what they dislike, but should people just take that at face value? Shouldn't people take time to look behind their feelings, and consider what their values are really promoting?
When Roman was asked why he was not doing what Seth Rollins is doing, I think he really hit it on the head when he said, “That's Seth”. Seth Rollins really is an extremely talented performer destined for Super-stardom. Seth Rollins is the type of performer who will be whatever he needs to be, and will perform whatever way he needs to perform in order to succeed. He is as much an opportunist with his real-life versatility as his character was in cashing in Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania. This is a talent to be impressed with and admired, as far too many people miss out on success due to their own inflexibility and perceived limitations. Seth exemplifies the qualities that lead one to success where others fail, and there's nothing wrong with loving Seth Rollins for these traits. Perhaps many of us wish we could be as talented and free as Seth Rollins as to let nothing get in the way of our personal success.
The problem is, that if we believe that this is the only way to be in life and the only qualities worthy of admiration, we miss out on another pretty admirable quality – being true to oneself. There is something to be said for the person who stands firm and sticks up for ones own personal values in the face of public pressure. Its also extremely admirable to know what's most important in one's life, and to be unwilling to act in a way that demeans one's values. Now, I'm not saying that Seth Rollins doesn't have strong values. Seth is a role-model of fitness, health, stamina, and athletic ability. Many people view him as a poster-boy for Cross-Fit. However, these values are neither enhanced or inhibited by Seth Rollins versatility. Whether the biggest heel or babyface, Seth can still look in the mirror and see the same incredibly fit athlete. However, its unfair to expect that every athletic performer should place their treasures in the same place.
As Roman Reigns said about himself, to him there are more important things than simply being the biggest Superstar. Roman wants to be himself both in character and out. He wants the person that his young daughter sees and that he himself sees when he looks in the mirror to be a person worthy of social respect. This is more important to him then his success as a performer. He puts being a role-model to children and an example of fairness and social-responsibility to adults ahead of molding himself into the heel character many fans want him to be. Is it fair of people to expect every wrestling performer to conform to the type of character they feel they should be, just because they're the fans (I.E. the consumers of the product)? At what point does this become a selfish attitude towards the people who work hard to make the product a reality? Furthermore, is it fair for people to say “we're only going to cheer for you and give you the respect and admiration you deserve if you become the type of character that fits our image of you?” At what point does this become a form of social bullying (which consequently is one of the things that Roman Reigns believes strongly in fighting against)?
Now, don't get me wrong. I know where fans who dislike the good and pure character image are coming from. I grew up cheering for Hulk Hogan in this role, and perhaps experienced a type of prejudice towards the heel character image. However, Hulkamania had to come to an end at some point, and I had to evolve as a wrestling fan to see beyond the “white as snow good guy” is always better than the “dark dirty evil guy”. Now in more recent times, we went from the amazing Attitude Era, where a little bit of evil, deviousness, and rebelliousness was exciting and cool and the “goodie goodie” image was boring, to a long squeaky clean hero role-model reign of John Cena. John Cena may be the best and worst thing to happen to the WWE in the past 15 years, as it made many fans tired of the concept of good men who insist on the wrestling character they play being just as much a good wholesome role-model as they work hard to be in real-life. Roman Reigns is probably coming along at the worst possible time. Its almost like many fans are starved to see people like John Cena and Roman Reigns either fall from grace, or just simply fade away.
Now, I won't be so bold as to tell my fellow fans who they should cheer for, what they should find entertaining, or how to view the talent of a Roman Reigns in-ring and out. I'm also not going to try to tell fans they shouldn't be tired and bored of “good guy” babyface characters like John Cena. All I would ask is that fans take time to look behind and think about the repercussions of their own beliefs. First off, if we only value versatile opportunists and look down upon those who insist on exemplifying healthy wholesome ideals, what kind of message are we sending to young up-in-coming wrestling fans like our own children, and what kind of wrestling future are we promoting (creating)? My generation of fans had a chance to grow up with the values demonstrated by Hulk Hogan, and younger generations had a chance to be inspired by the role-model that is John Cena. However, our generations make up a healthy bulk of wrestling fans, and our opinions are powerful in dictating the future of the WWE. Are our negative attitudes towards good wholesome wrestling characters risking our young fans being denied the opportunity to experience this influence? Also, wrestling entertainment, and particularly the WWE, is a cultural icon, and communicates values that influence the future of our society. Do we really want our future generations growing up without healthy positive role-models, just because we're tired. bored, irritated, or perhaps even jaded by performers like John Cena? What affect might our attitudes towards our top wrestling entertainers have on the future of our society that we're helping to shape?
So anyways, love, cheer for and admire Seth Rollins if you wish. I know he's done a great deal to win me over in the past 6 months, and he certainly has worked his rear off as WWE Champion. However, isn't the possibility of a healthy society and future for our children worth maybe giving a bit of slack to wholesome performers like the Icon John Cena and the up-in-coming superstar Roman Reigns? Not everyone has to love them like their favorite Superstar. However, wouldn't a bit of polite cheering and reasonable support be a great way to show these performers that we at least appreciate their wholesome values, and that there's an important place for them, both in the world of WWE Professional Wrestling and in our Society in general?
Danimal Daniel Jobber
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