Is Roman Reigns a worthy successor to the Undertaker? | The Tylt
Is Roman Reigns a worthy successor to the Undertaker?
The Undertaker's fans are furious that Reigns is the Undertaker's successor. The two couldn't be more different. The Undertaker built his reputation through his actions—unlike Reigns. He shunned the spotlight despite his success and that's what made him so essential to WWE.
None of us ever get to really know wrestlers, but especially Calaway, a man whose dedication to his gimmick was a large part of why his mystique sustained itself over multiple decades. The Undertaker wasn't going to show up on The Tonight Show to gab with Jimmy Fallon. He's the Dead Man, and dead men don't have a whole lot to say.
Reigns represents a new era of WWE—one that's more focused on the spotlight and publicity. A lot of fans don't like that. They think Reigns is pure marketing. He's no John Cena or the Rock, and he absolutely does not hold a candle to the Dead Man. He's undeserving of his status.
His opponent, Roman Reigns, is the guy who does go on talk shows to smile and charm the mainstream. He's representative of a new breed of pro wrestler, the kind who interacts with fans on social media, appears on TV fully admitting that wrestling is work and publicly exists as a slightly hyperbolic version of his everyday persona when there's something to promote (which there usually is).
To his detractors, Reigns is a one-dimensional good-guy superman figure, even if the reality is that his character is often cocky, cold and violent. They despise the fact that he's the guy on the front of the cereal boxes, at the front of the posters and built up to be virtuous by the announcers.
But despite the criticism, Reigns gets the views. According to Forbes, Wrestlemania 31 and 32 owe their record-breaking sales to Reigns and his ability to attract an audience. He might not be anything like the Undertaker, but he does embody the new WWE.
Reigns, for all the hate he receives, has main evented WWE's two must financially successful WrestleManias, WrestleManias 31 and 32. According to WWE.com, WrestleMania 31, main evented by Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, "became the highest grossing live event in WWE history and broke the attendance record for Levi’s Stadium," grossing a live gate of $12.6 million to break the previous record of $12.3 million held by WrestleMania 29, which was main evented by The Rock vs. John Cena. A year later, WrestleMania 32, main evented by Reigns vs. Triple H and co-main evented by Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, demolished that live gate record with an astounding $17.3 million.
While WrestleMania, the brand, has become a draw in and of itself, WrestleMania 32 wouldn't have drawn so well had the two headlining matches been Reigns vs. Titus O'Neil and Undertaker vs. Mojo Rawley. Even the biggest Reigns haters can't deny that.