Jim Cornette recently appeared on Busted Open Radio and discussed fan criticism of Roman Reigns. Below are some highlights:
Fan criticism of Roman Reigns:
"It's a situation that has never been arisen before in the pro wrestling industry because think about it, this is the first time that a guy that has been rejected by the fans, not because of his lack of ability, but because the people know that the 'evil empire' wants him to be the guy over the guy that they really want to be the guy, or in some cases a few guys they want to be the guy. They have revolted against the establishment, against management, by, defecating all over anything that they try to do with this poor guy because they feel like they are getting back at the company for not featuring their favorites, most notably, Daniel Bryan. In that case, the reason why this has never happened before, now they realize that every promotion in history until Mr. McMahon became one of the greatest characters in the history of television, but every promoter wanted to be the babyface because they didn't want the fans to be mad at the company.
"To think about this logically, why am I going to buy a ticket and buy merchandise at a company that I am mad at? It is such bizarro world. Talk about United States and Canada being bizarro world, this is bizarro world situation. Vince McMahon was good enough to pull it off. He had 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, they were the ultimate 'take this job and shove it' versus the establishment program. It can never been repeated no matter how often people try, but after 20 years, a whole generation have grown up to believe that management is trying to hold my favorite wrestler down, yes they root for those wrestlers, but if the root of it that it is going to bubble at the surface, so, no, we are just going to say f**k you, we like these guys. It has manifested itself to Roman Reigns. Since there has never been anything like this, it just seems to me that battling against the tide because it is what you want to do, and yes, I am sure all the kiddies love Roman Reigns and all the fans in little Des Moines, Iowa, but the base audience that pays the most money per capita, and is involved the most with the internet and with programming is going to do this thing until they get tired of it, but they haven't gotten tired of it so far because it hasn't changed anything.
"I would somehow - because Daniel Bryan was the root of it, and we can go back to WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, LA. If he is the root of it I would somehow try to get him involved in it. I would try and get those two guys together. I have talked about this on my podcast before, in some way, get those guys together in terms of an interview, or a tag team match, or Roman Reigns bails out Bryan in a situation, where then Roman Reigns can turn around and sodomize Daniel Bryan, and do something to him. Then , unleash it. In the 2018 version of 'Die Rocky Die,' just unleash it. I was born to this. I was going to have all of this, but it was because of you, just unleash it. At the same time, he doesn't have to be a heel, heel, just a 'don't trust anybody,' type heel turn where he just doesn't trust anybody. That got over before, didn't it? Then, when Stephanie McMahon comes out to congratulate him to see the light, he can then cuss her out and anybody named 'McMahon.' The point is, he can not like anybody. Feed him some underneath babyfaces that he can sodomize, heels too. I wouldn't have him lay Stephanie McMahon out right away, but he can do it where he doesn't like management, or fans, but just let this guy be this anti-everybody, and let the writers be away from him, just let him write his own material. Put every emphasis into him being against everything and everybody as you have tried to make him this smiley, ice cream bar guy, and see what it can do. Just give him a chance. If it generates heat, it's the right reaction, but if he gets go away heat, then he can get that type of heat, but after all, how can I miss you if you won't go away? Just give him a chance to be different. Eventually, the dirtier he gets, the more they are going to like him and respect him a bit. There must be blood."
Death of the true babyfaces and heels in professional wrestling:
"It's cool now to disrespect him and boo him. Here is what we have lost also; we have lost the ability to blame the heel for unsavory things on television instead of the promotion, but we have also lost the ability for the babyface to be so beloved because he did those things to become beloved. Unless you come up with another Mick Foley, who is just so likeable as he comes off the screen, the babyfaces don't get over as strong, or the heels as much heat in the environment where they are told it is sports entertainment. Anything that is done to get somebody over then is looked at as the base audience that they are trying to get this guy over, not, hey, this guy deserves to be over. Even with Steve Austin, of course it was 20 years ago, a lot of horses have left the barn since then, but they were able to suspend disbelief because Austin was so real to them. He was so perfect. Say what you want about pro wrestling, but nobody is going to tell him what to do. He is our guy."
Promotions in the past not being able to be this patient as WWE is with Roman Reigns:
"I grew up watching Memphis Wrestling, they had a two week plan, sometimes the first week depending on the match. You had to in those days. Gates were the lifeblood of the business. If you didn't draw you didn't stay in business. If they didn't anywhere near that long, because nobody had the budget to do something for five years whether it was working or not."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.