According to Austin, Reigns needs a solid heel run before moving on to be the company's top babyface.
"I predicted this all along. The kid has got to have a heel run before he's going to be universally loved because that's just the way that I see it." Austin admitted, "I've always said that I think the guy needs to be a heel first, but, nonetheless, that's not my call. That's the booking committee's call or Vince [McMahon]'s call."
With many fan favorites like John Cena, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar on WWE's roster now and prospects like Sami Zayn and Finn Bálor waiting in the wings at NXT, Austin believes that the WWE Universe can enjoy many strong feuds with Reigns in the role of the heel.
"That's what's going to make it fun again because everybody is going to be so onboard with booing him! I'm telling you, once he goes through that process, whether that takes one year, two years, [or] whatever, then, they're going to end up loving the guy."
During the podcast, Austin stated that McMahon will continue to push Reigns in spite of WWE's ongoing struggles to get Reigns over. While Austin's view is that Reigns should turn heel, he claimed that halting Reigns' push altogether would be a mistake.
"To me, it's like Vince chose this guy and he's sticking with him. Whatever the fans think, whether it's the smart marks, or the casual fans, or the fervent fans, I don't know. He's sticking with this guy and I don't know." Austin added, "he not going to pick another guy because he has so much invested in this guy, so he [has] got to keep riding him, but he could ride him in a different direction, but you can't back off the gas pedal. Babyface or heel, you've got to keep the pedal to the metal with this guy because if you don't, he will become an also-ran immediately."
'The Texas Rattlesnake' indicated that WrestleMania 32 is do or die time for Reigns, as Reigns will need to turn in a "career performance" if he has any hope of capturing that elusive WrestleMania moment and solidifying himself as the face of the company.
"Well, it's fascinating to watch it play out, but it's also going to be fascinating to watch what happens, whatever the finish is in that match at WrestleMania 32 between [Roman Reigns] and Triple H because I'm thinking for a match of this caliber or magnitude because this is make or break time for the kid, so that's why I say magnitude and he's on the biggest stage." Austin continued, "I think it's going to require a career performance by Roman to do his end, the reverse of what Triple H is going to do because Triple H can go with anybody."
Although it is clear that Reigns has the support of WWE brass, Austin acknowledged that Reigns has the support of the WWE locker room as well.
"I talk to Roman Reigns every time I go to do a podcast [for the WWE Network]. [The] dude's a great guy. Everybody on the roster supports that guy because he's a good dude, so everybody loves him. So whatever's happening ain't his fault. It's just his personality, his looks, [and] the way he [has] been pushed. He's a tremendous cat, but sometimes these things, [in] the business of pro wrestling, you've got to walk through that fire first and I still think that's what he's going to have to do. But, hey, if Vince can get that kid over as a monster baby, more power to him and swig of beer to Roman Reigns for doing so, but that remains to be seen."
Also, during the show, Austin talked about the use of Bray Wyatt, Chris Jericho's ongoing run, and much more. To check out the podcast, click here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show