Roman Reigns comments on part-time performers, CM Punk

Originally published at Roman Reigns comments on part-time performers, CM Punk

BT Sport has released Ariel Helwani’s interview with WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns to promote his match with John Cena at SummerSlam.

Reigns was asked about people such as CM Punk that complained about part-time performers in the past and how Reigns feels about John Cena returning for SummerSlam while he’s working full-time on the road with the company:

I think those statements are coming from bitter people, who possibly thought they were better than they really were. When it comes down to it, CM Punk was not as good or as over as a John Cena, wasn’t as good or as over and moved the needle as The Rock- it just was what it was.

From a full-time performer, I understand the frustration and wanting more but like I said before, you’ve got to take it. I’m a full-time performer but I’ve done everything it needs to be done to stay in this position (and) to be in this position, to continue to make the opportunity for myself, to be in the main event of a SummerSlam against a John Cena and if anyone comes along to push me out of that scenario, I’m going to fight like hell to keep the ground that I’ve made.

It’s one of those debatable, we can go back-and-forth, and we change our perspective of you’re one of those types of people that can see it with a different set of eyes. I really think that if more eyeballs are being brought to our product, and it depends who it is, but a guy like a John Cena who is starring in multiple movies this summer and when it comes down to it, earned the right and he’s at that portion of his career where he is a part-time performer. I’m not going to complain I’m just going to capitalize on him being here and everything he brings with that.

I wonder if Punk could be as “over” as Reigns if he main evented Mania four times :thinking:

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CM Punk was more over than Cena for quite a while and could have been for his career if he was pushed like Cena.

This business isn’t UFC. Basically they decide who wins and loses and who gets what match. The company decided to put Cena, who was being booed, into multiple main events. They didn’t for Punk who was being cheered wildly (think MITB).

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I said it at the time of Punk’s post 2011 career… The following two years was basically what would have happened if in the early 90’s the WWF put the Championship on Bret Hart, but kept Hulk Hogan around during his entire run - and kept him as the focal point of the shows.

Punk was over inspite of everything the company did to undercut him.

They rushed Punk back to TV after he caught fire with the pipe bomb promo and subsequent win over Cena.
They rushed the Punk / Cena “unification” match.
They immediately dumped ice water over Punk’s run with the Nash appearance / followed by Del Rio cash in / followed by the terrible stuff with Nash and Triple H.

Punk won the title back - but was immediately playing second fiddle to the Rock / Cena program… Then the Cena / Brock program. And even after Cena beat Brock and cut a promo saying he was taking some time off - he was back on TV, and having a feud with Johnny Ace and The Big show.

I could go on and on.
.
But basically, Punk was positioned and presented at a certain level.

He was over with fans. He sold merchandise. He SHOULD and COULD have been a major cross-over star. The pipe bomb / Cena match caught the attention of a ton of people whose fandom had lapsed and got excited about WWE for the first time in a decade… Until they realized WWE was going to WWE, and it wasn’t worth their investment.

You know… Reigns could have just said he didn’t have an opinion on the matter.

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I’m not certain that Punk was ever over for an extended period as much as Cena. But you are right in saying that the company books the matches which make up a large portion of who gets over. We saw with Kofi that when you books someone well they will get over, but when you book them like a mid card champion that is how they will be viewed.

For me getting over is one part mic skills (mostly not controlled by the company though bad scripting can hurt.), 1 part match booking (wins against talent viewed as top tier, titles, main event slots, clean wins, storylines) and one part ring work. If I had to give percentages I would probably go 50% booking, 30% mic, and 20% ring work.

In WWE I’d say it’s 80 per cent booking, 10 per cent mic and 10 per cent in-ring. They only allow who they want to get over. It’s so hard to get over organically in WWE and most of the time if someone does get over they get pushed back down

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I debated going 60-70% booking, 10-20% mic, and 10% in ring. In ring is by far the least important in WWE. But if you cannot cut a half decent promo you won’t get the booking for long in the first place. I think in any company booking is #1 because the others don’t matter a ton if you get booked terribly.

True, mic work is definitely more important than in-ring but it’s more so making the most out of scripts. I’d say look/size is also incredibly important but I guess that relates to how you’re booked

Yes but how over can you get being booked like a geek?

Classic example

Ricochet killed the MITB ladder match. Since that amazing performance he has been on zero TV shows and recently was on Main Event. This is a guy who killed himself and delivered an amazing match stealing the show at a PPV. What else can he do to follow that up if they put him on main event ?

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You’re right. Problem in WWE is to be booked well, most of the time you need to be able to cut a promo, and unfortunately in Ricochet’s case he is one of the worst talkers in the company. I get that he can never be “the guy” with his lack of mic skills, but there is no reason why he cant be much much higher on the card.

You largely can’t that is why booking is the most important part of getting over. The only thing you can hope for is to become the guy fans want and eventually gets pushed like Daniel Bryan or Kofi. But more commonly bad booking ruins fan interest if guys at least until they leave.

I mean he could be a top star with his mic skills, he just needs a manager and for his speaking roles to be less scripted but happen in curated situations.

Prior to his WWE main roster run, absolutely nobody questioned Ricochet’s ability to be a star. He did it in on the indies. He did it in Japan. He did it in Lucha Underground. He did it in NXT. He will do it again whenever he leaves the WWE system.

It’s almost as if main roster WWE (Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, Kevin Dunn, Stephanie McMahon) is totally inept and a broken system for presenting people as stars…

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Exactly. A guy like Jinder Mahal can be a main eventer and world champion but not Ricochet? Come on lol.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that needs to watch anything the guy has done outside of “main roster” WWE

He could be a top guy, I just don’t think you could build the show around him. For the record, I don’t mean he couldn’t be a champ or that he could be in the main events, I mean he couldn’t be what Roman is right now, that being a guy that 75% of the show revolves around week after week for years. I think to have the show revolve around you for months/years you need to have some speaking ability.

I think a lot of you are overestimating the ability of booking, it’s like you’re implying that if you’re booked well it doesn’t take skill to get over at that level. I believe that in a place like WWE or even AEW the performers have to have a certain skill set to be a top guy. I don’t look at them as interchangeable parts where anyone can be a top guy at anytime, I think that doesn’t give proper credit to the performers.

There have been countless examples of guys being booked as even just top guys who have flopped. Just off the top of my head as main eventers, Great Khali and Jinder are perfect examples of failures. Of course with these flops the theme is usually bigger guys that Vince is in love with, but the point is that they didn’t get over despite being pushed. We’ve seen it at the mid card level as well with guys like Heidenrich, Stitsky, Nathan Jones (though loved the vignettes) Nailz etc.

Even “legends” who were booked at times to the moon were bad TV as champs. IMO Kane, Show, and Mark Henry for example didn’t get over to the same level they were pushed. Now especially with Show and Henry early you can point to bad booking at points in their careers, but ultimately they were boring in the ring which matters.

Being booked well guarantees nothing is my point.

But we have also seen how detrimental bad booking is to a performer. Just look at the difference between Dean Ambrose and John Moxley. The booking and scripts killed Dean Ambrose, turned him into a joke. Moxley, even if you don’t enjoy his work, has been undeniably successful.

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Oh for sure, of course booking matters. But even in WWE with bad booking, he was still over because of his ability to speak. I’ve said many times I’m not a fan of him in the ring, but his delivery when it comes to promos is without a doubt one of the best in the business.

Even his ability to talk could not help with some of the stupid crap they had him do. That Lesnar match? Getting needles in his butt? Wearing a gas mask because the fans stink? Nobody could make that stuff work

I totally agree that you can be booked well and still not get over if you suck.

However in the case of ricochet they don’t even put him on TV. He went out and had the match of the night at money in the bank and now he’s on Main event. How exactly is he supposed to get over? What is he doing wrong?

Yes he can’t talk we know that and he should work on that. But they could easily pair up with somebody who can speak and get him out there. His performance got him over on a pp and he can’t even get on the TV show.

That’s at least mostly on the company

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