From when The Shield broke up in 2014, it was clear that Roman Reigns was the guy that WWE higher-ups, specifically Vince McMahon, wanted to push up the card.
With John Cena approaching his 40s and being just a few years away from starting a career in Hollywood, management saw Reigns as the next face of the company.
Within a few months of The Shield breaking up, Roman had won the Royal Rumble and was chosen to main event WrestleMania 31 in a WWE Championship match with Brock Lesnar.
However, WWE fans simply rejected the push, with many not wanting to see Roman in the main event scene, particularly as a babyface.
Roman is now accomplished on the microphone, and recognised as one of WWE’s best talkers, but footage from 2014 has proved that this really wasn’t always the case.
A clip has been shared of one of Roman’s promos from 2014 with Renee Young, and it makes for some really quite awkward viewing.
Although he mentioned being the ‘Head of the Table’, which was a neat little bit of foreshadowing for his 2020 character change, Reigns stumbles over his words in his promo, and clearly wasn’t ready for the push WWE was trying to give him.
Reigns would have only been 29 at the time, and to his credit, has become a lot better on the mic, but he really wasn’t the best talker back at the beginning of his run with the company, as you can see below.
Man. This guy was NOT ready and I'll never understand how/why they thought he was.— Will Washington (@WilliamRBR) August 24, 2022
I'm glad he eventually got there. https://t.co/d2TZtmH4EF
Fans have also commented on how Roman’s tremendous character work now makes his work back in 2014 look even less impressive, as you can see below.
Oh wow. I knew he wasn't ready at the time, but seeing where he is now really ages his older stuff to new lows. He truly was not ready.— Andy Springer | #BackStronger by October (@AJS_434) August 24, 2022
This really showcases how great Roman is when you see how far he’s come over the years— Gerard H. (@3TPod) August 24, 2022
Yeah seeing how much better he’s gotten has only further cemented how not ready he was, and it’s insane that there were people who would actually argue otherwise at the time.— Nick 🦅 (@NickDiBern) August 24, 2022
They actually hindered his development but pushing him so quickly and so soon— ᶜᵃˢᵗᵉʳ ˢʰᵉˡˡ (@castergunx) August 24, 2022
Man, I just said how uncomfortable he looks here, it’s insane when you look at his work for the last 2 years!— That’s F’N Wrestling Podcast (@ThatsFNW) August 24, 2022
This isn’t a knock on Roman Reigns, but more on WWE for putting the now Undisputed WWE Universal Champion in a position that he clearly wasn’t ready for.
Reigns has more than settled into himself now, and is widely regarded as one of wrestling’s biggest active stars, but not the single biggest.
Roman will be in action at Clash at the Castle on September 3, as he defends his belts against Drew McIntyre in Cardiff at WWE’s first pay-per-view in the UK since 1992.
You can watch WWE Clash at the Castle live next weekend in the UK on BT Sport, in the US on Peacock and in all other international markets on the WWE Network.