Roman Reigns is the person WWE desires him to be: The highest attract all of professional wrestling.
Within the newest version of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the Undisputed WWE Common Champion was named professional wrestling’s greatest draw for 2022. This marks the fifth time since 2016 that Reigns, who has held the Common title for practically 900 days in what has turn out to be the longest world title reign of WWE’s trendy period, has gained the award as the highest attraction contained in the squared circle.
The only other stars to win the award throughout that span are New Japan Professional-Wrestling’s Kazuchika Okada and WWE’s Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman, who shared the respect with Reigns in 2017. Whereas Reigns has undoubtedly established himself as probably the most must-see star in professional wrestling thanks in largely half to his enthralling storyline because the chief of The Bloodline, the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer says that Reigns isn’t fairly on the identical stage as the person he’s typically in comparison with his, his predecessor because the face of WWE, John Cena:
In 2017, wrestling statistician Brandon Thurston carried out an in depth evaluation (h/t Fightful) of Reigns’ drawing energy versus that of Cena, and it was clear then that “The Champ” was a much bigger draw than Reigns regardless of the large push of the latter as WWE’s desired inheritor obvious to the corporate throne. Since then, nonetheless, quite a bit has modified with reference to Reigns, Cena and the way in which WWE pushes its stars.
Cena is a far larger title exterior of the world of professional wrestling, and as evidenced by his latest SmackDown return, he’s one of many few stars who truly draws throughout an period during which it’s the WWE model that attracts extra so than any specific star. Nonetheless, what Reigns has finished over the previous few years is spectacular. He’s developed into the kind of mega-star that professional wrestling has largely did not create throughout that span, and the WON has ranked him because the twelfth greatest attract professional wrestling historical past.
In 2022, Reigns headlined a few of WWE’s most profitable exhibits, together with the record-breaking WrestleMania 38 and the particular UK pay-per-view Conflict on the Fortress, which appeared to have topped an $8 million live gate, making it a momumental success and one other feather within the cap for Reigns.
After all, it’s value mentioning that the upcoming WrestleMania 39—which has precisely zero confirmed matches—has already broken WWE’s reside gate report, a end result each of the truth that it’s a two-night present and the fact that the present attracts, properly, as a result of it’s WrestleMania.
In a manner, Reigns, although he’s positioned as WWE’s unquestioned prime star, is benefiting dramatically from the marked variations between this period and WWE’s earlier ones.
When Cena—and “Stone Chilly” Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan earlier than him—had been the highest stars in WWE, they had been relied closely upon to promote out arenas and drive TV viewership. That technique, nonetheless, is a factor of the previous. Prime stars, starting from Brock Lesnar to Ronda Rousey to Cena, come and go sometimes with little to no long-term impact on WWE enterprise.
WWE continues to shatter revenue records every year thanks largely to large TV offers with FOX and NBCUniversal in addition to WWE Community’s transfer to Peacock, which all give the corporate regular income streams no matter which stars are featured or how good WWE’s TV product is.
That’s not a knock on Reigns by any means. His character growth, in-ring work and enhancements as a talker over the previous few years have helped him develop a famous person aura that’s unmatched by anybody in WWE. That’s a giant motive why he’s held WWE’s prime title for therefore lengthy, why the 2 world titles have been unified and why nearly nobody—not even Lesnar—has posed a viable risk to his title reign.
There isn’t a much bigger title in professional wrestling proper now, no less than not by way of stars who seem semi-regularly for his or her respective firm. The excitement Reigns creates, the way in which crowds reacts to him and the storylines he’s been aside of since 2020 exhibit that he’s in a league of his personal.
As Reigns continues to make strides as a personality and turn out to be a star who’s poised to be larger than professional wrestling, there may be little counsel that he gained’t be professional wrestling’s No. 1 draw for years to come back.