Roman Reigns’ return from quarantine saw a new heel persona. He is now the Tribal Chief, and commanding plenty of attention. That begs the question of why WWE didn’t turn him heel sooner since it is working so well.
Fans pulled for Roman Reigns’ heel turn for a long time. It didn’t happen despite him receiving more boos than cheers during many angles. Roman wanted that heel turn as well, and he wasn’t alone. Vince McMahon even wanted it for Roman Reigns, but it just wasn’t time yet.
While speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Media Podcast, Paul Heyman broke down why Roman Reigns didn’t turn heel sooner.
“I wanted it to happen for a long time, Roman Reigns wanted it to happen for a long time, and Vince McMahon wanted it to happen for a long time. But the timing was never right. Roman Reigns could not pull off this portrayal of the top star in the industry even a year ago. He wasn’t weathered enough, he wasn’t seasoned enough, and he wasn’t experienced enough. He still looked too young.”
“But now, you look at his face, you see some seasoning and some weathering. He was beating the crap out of his cousin inside Hell in a Cell and he says I did this to you when we were kids, and here we are 35 years old doing this, and he looks 35. He looks like a badass 35, but he still looks 35. Before he still looked like late 20s or early 30s, and he still looked too young. He wasn’t grizzled, he didn’t have any scars. Now, you see the wars on his face. Now, you see the pressure and the obligation and the responsibility and the accountability and the sheer burden – I think that’s the core word when it comes to the characterization of the top star in WWE – the burden and the weight of that burden and what it has done to Roman Reigns.”
Roman Reign is presented a grizzled gimmick, one inspired by Gangs Of New York. The future is an open book for Roman Reigns to continue writing. Now it is WWE’s task to keep supplying him with opponents to keep that momentum going.
Thanks to 411 Mania for the quote