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All three members of The Shield look to have bright futures, but Roman Reigns seems to have the sunniest outlook when it comes to success in WWE. Reigns has started to break out of The Shield, and as the break-up of the faction becomes more likely, Reigns continues to look like the first member of the group to get a crack at the main event.
Reigns has looked dominant over the last few days. First, he broke Kane's record by having 12 eliminations in the Royal Rumble match. The following night, he speared John Cena and powered out of the STF, something that only a handful of superstars have ever been allowed to do. Reigns as quickly asserted himself as the most popular member of The Shield in 2014. Almost everyone has Reigns pegged as a future world champion, and most people would not surprised if that title reign took place before the end of the year.
Reigns is still relatively new to wrestling. He made his in-ring debut in 2010, which is really recent for a wrestler that is currently in his position. When you compare him to his Shield co-horts, Dean Ambrose (debuted in 2004) and Seth Rollins (debuted 2003) he is practically a novice.
But what Reigns lacks in experience he makes up for in lineage. Reigns is a member of the Anoa'i family, which means he is related to The Rock, The Wild Samoans, Rikishi, Umaga and pretty much any other Samoan wrestler. Reigns comes from a long line of champions and distinguished wrestlers, so although he may be new to the in-ring part of wrestling, he basically grew up in a household that was dedicated to professional wrestling.
Reigns has a few things that you can't teach in pro wrestling, which are really the most important skills that a pro wrestler could have. You can't teach size, and Reigns has a great look. At a chiseled 6 foot 3 inches and 265 pounds with long hair and tattoos, he looks every bit the part of what a lot of people think a pro wrestler should look like. He also moves very well and has a lot of natural athleticism, evidenced by his football career at Georgia Tech and in the Canadian Football League. You can't teach a wrestler to have a natural physical presence, and Reigns certainly has that.
The thing that holds me back on Reigns is that right now his job is pretty easy. Working with two superior wrestlers in Rollins and Ambrose allows Reigns to only do in the ring what he feels comfortable doing. To be frank, Reigns basically stands on the apron until things break down and he comes in, hits the spear and then gets the three count while totally looking like a badass. There is nothing wrong with that, but if Reigns is going to fly solo eventually, he is going to have to learn how to work a 20-30 minute match, one on one. Reigns cannot become world champion or even really contend for the title until he proves that he can do that on a consistent basis.
I am not ruling out the possibility that Reigns isn't capable of wrestling a lengthy match, but I'm just weary of giving a guy an enormous push to the top when he really hasn't proven himself to be a good worker while not in a faction. Rollins and Ambrose seem to hide a lot of Reign's warts as a wrestler, so we really only get to see the good the side of Roman Reigns when he wrestles. For Reigns to really get my full support for the world title, I want to see him wrestle a few 20 minute matches by himself, hopefully against elite workers like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
Another big question mark is Reigns' ability to talk on the microphone. Unlike most of the members of his family, Reigns has not been portrayed as a barefoot savage incapable of speaking English, he has more or less been portrayed as a normal guy. Just like his job within The Shield as a wrestler, Reigns is really not asked to do a lot on the microphone. Ambrose is clearly the best talker of the group, and Rollins and Reigns are basically just there to add in a few intimidating threats at the end of their vignettes.
No matter how good you are in the other factors of wrestling, if you can't talk on the microphone, you are not going anywhere in WWE. A main event level wrestler should be able to go back and forth with another wrestler for at least 10 minutes and be entertaining while doing so. If Roman Reigns was capable of being very good on the microphone, the chances are that he would have been given more time on the mic by now.
The good news for Reigns is that microphone ability can be taught and improved on rather quickly. As long as Reigns is well-prepared for his interviews and is given enough support then he should be okay. Reigns seems to have a decent screen presence, so that will also help him a lot.
Reigns has jumped over his fellow Shield members, Ryback, Big E Langston, Dolph Ziggler and any other undercard member in WWE. No other wrestler that has never been world champion before is more over right now, and the recent booking of him shows that WWE is committed to making him a main eventer, probably sooner rather than later. Does Reigns have what it takes to be the next big time star in WWE? Or will he end up like another failed main eventer, like Ryback or Alberto Del Rio? Only time will tell for Reigns, but so far he looks to be on the right track.