Taz has performed a variety of roles for a variety of wrestling organizations, from wrestler to commentator to everything in between. He knows the business inside and out and has been involved with it in some form or fashion for pretty much his entire adult life.
And he thinks that the WWE is doing Roman Reigns a major disservice.
“I’ve been very critical of the WWE – not Roman, but the WWE (for the) way they’ve been promoting him as the quote-unquote ‘good guy’ because they’re painting him in a very bad spot,” Taz said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Hence, why people are booing him and he’s the good guy. It’s the truth.”
Reigns will take on Triple-H for the WWE Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at WrestleMania 32.
“They should have turned him what we call ‘heel,’” Taz said of Reigns. “They should have turned him bad guy probably about three or four weeks ago. It’s not Roman’s fault, but he’s just lacking a little bit of a connectivity to the audience verbally.”
Think of The Rock. Think of Ric Flair. Think of Steve Austin. Those guys connected with the audience. Reigns doesn’t – at least not to the degree some of his predecessors did.
“Do you teach that?” Taz asked. “No. How do you teach guys to do radio or TV? You can’t teach charisma. You can’t teach comedic timing. You can’t teach your inflection on a word. You can try, you might help, but you got to have that ‘It’ factor. I think Roman Reigns has what we call presence. The way he looks in the ring, he’s got presence, he’s got size, former football player at Georgia Tech – he’s a legit guy. His family, his legacy, great family history in the business, he’s a big nasty Samoan dude, he’s tough as nails – he can work. He can go in the ring and wrestle. He’s very good. That’s not the problem. He’s just not connecting. So a guy like that, you make him a bad guy. Then he’ll find that charisma, maybe. They didn’t do that with him. They took a well-loved bad guy like Triple-H, who’s part of the creative process, and make him the bad guy and the champion – and now this kid is fighting an uphill battle. I called (WWE) out on it and they don’t like it.”
Reflecting on his own time in the ring, Taz said that turning heel changed his career. It allowed him to have a chip on his shoulder and say whatever he wanted to say. That, in turn, allowed him to connect with the audience.
“It’s organic,” Taz said. “And it’s real.”