On a recent edition of his “Hall of Fame” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T discussed Roman Reigns only working a handful of WWE events this year.
Reigns has only wrestled 11 matches in 2023 and fans have criticized him for his extremely light schedule as the reigning Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On the stat: “People are going to find something to complain about all the time. I think one of the biggest complaints was that the guys work too much. One of the biggest complaints is that they need a season. You know, they need to have an off-season, just like basketball. How many times have we heard that? Thousands. I mean, you might go back to the old days and just think how many times Hogan worked on television in a calendar year. I’ve been less than that. And nobody was bigger than Hogan.”
On Reigns cooling off: “Can you imagine a boxer boxing 22 times in a year? So I look at the pros and cons of it. If Roman wasn’t selling no tickets, we could talk if he wasn’t one of the hottest acts on television. And the thing is, is it cooling off? Of course, it’s cooling off. It’s been what now, almost four years? Larry Holmes had the world heavyweight championship for eight years. You don’t think it cooled off after some years? And the people were like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to see this guy get beat.’ You don’t think that? So, I look at the pros and cons of situations like this. And I’m not — the people that may have a beef with this have never done it. They’ve never done it. And they don’t know that, they obviously don’t understand the situations that are going on behind the scenes with Roman Reigns, with the WWE or this business. Roman worked 22 times over the year. Do you really feel like, ‘Man, I’ve missed seeing Roman on television? I think man, I should be seeing Roman more.’ Do you feel that way? I’m just saying, in hindsight, it is 2020. If you didn’t even know about this story right here. Would you be at home saying, ‘Man, where’s Roman at? Roman needs to be working.’ Would you like that?”
On the fan reaction to the stat: “So people can say whatever they want to say when they’re looking at it from the outside looking in. But I’m strategizing. I’m trying to make the fans want to tune in. And in this game, it’s very, very fluid. If we start trying to think like it was back in the day, you’re going to have a star playing in every role. So many of them that’s going to come out of that curtain, going to be stars. You gotta have people that Roman can actually go out there and work with. You have to try to build guys, to see who the fans are going to resonate towards and get them.
“So it’s so many variables, man. So many moving parts when it comes to this game. So, I guess I’ll look at it that way because I’ve been a wrestler. I’ve sat under the learning tree of so many great guys from a wrestling perspective, promoter perspective, and booker perspective, I’ve just seen it from so many different perspectives. I don’t think we’ve missed Roman at all. I think he’s played a role on television. If you said he’s only been on television 22 times, that would be one thing. But you just said he’s just worked 22 times. So my thing is that the fans sometimes just want to see you. I just got a guy from New York called me a minute ago when we were on break and asked me, ‘Hey, can you come? I got a show going down in February. We want you to come down. Do you think the fans want to see me work?’”
On whether the locker room resents Reigns for not working as many shows: “Guys are going to be envious of someone who’s got it like that, but who cares? Nobody cares about that. I mean, you get to my position however you got to get here. That’s just the way the wrestling business has always been. Like I said, do I care what people think? No, I don’t. And the thing is, if I got that spot, you better not come tell me you think that way. Because you might not have a job. Just that simple. It’s just the way it works. It’s a pecking order. And right now, Roman is the guy. He’s the guy. And until some — and the thing is, trust me. It’s going to be a time when there’s another guy. It’s just going to be a time when it’s always been that way.”
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Roman Reigns, the current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, has faced criticism from fans for his limited schedule this year. With only 11 matches under his belt in 2023, some fans have questioned his commitment to the sport and his role as the champion. However, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has come to Reigns’ defense, shedding light on the reasons behind his reduced workload.
Booker T addressed the complaints about wrestlers working too much and the need for an off-season in professional wrestling. He compared Reigns’ schedule to that of legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan, who worked even fewer matches in a calendar year. Despite this, Hogan remained one of the biggest stars in the industry. Booker T emphasized that Reigns’ popularity and ticket sales are proof that his limited schedule hasn’t affected his status as a top act on television.
Regarding the cooling off of Reigns’ character, Booker T drew a parallel to boxing, where boxers don’t fight as frequently as wrestlers perform. He pointed out that even long-reigning champions like Larry Holmes experienced a decline in popularity over time. Booker T acknowledged that fans may want to see Reigns more often, but he highlighted the importance of strategic planning and building up other wrestlers to create compelling storylines.
Booker T also dismissed the notion that the locker room resents Reigns for not working as many shows. He explained that envy is natural in the wrestling business but emphasized that it’s ultimately the pecking order that determines who holds the top spot. As long as Reigns remains the guy, he will continue to be the focal point of WWE programming.
While some fans may have concerns about Reigns’ limited schedule, Booker T’s perspective offers insight into the complexities of the wrestling industry. The decision to reduce Reigns’ workload is a strategic one aimed at maintaining his star power and creating opportunities for other wrestlers to shine. As with any entertainment industry, the wrestling business requires careful planning and adaptation to keep fans engaged.
In conclusion, Roman Reigns’ light schedule in 2023 has sparked criticism from fans, but WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has defended the decision. He highlighted the need for strategic planning, the importance of building new stars, and the natural ebb and flow of popularity in the wrestling industry. While fans may have differing opinions, it’s clear that Reigns’ limited appearances haven’t hindered his status as one of the hottest acts on television.