MR. TITO: Top 10 Reasons why Roman Reigns and the Bloodline Are Successful for WWE

Through July 2023, the Bloodline storyline involving Roman Reigns, the Usos, and Solo Sikoa is RED HOT and WWE Smackdown is becoming consistently above 2.5 million viewers. In addition, WWE attendance for shows featuring the Bloodline has increased and WWE’s merchandise numbers have increased thanks to this stable/storyline. It has been a remarkable change of fortune for the WWE, as they were in serious decline of viewership, attendance, and merchandise from 2015 through 2020, with many worried about how much COVID-19 would hurt WWE’s business model. Furthermore, the scrutiny over the the WWE’s leadership changes during 2022 and now 2023 also worried fans about the WWE… However, Roman, Jey and Jimmy Uso, Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, and a little help form Sami Zayn has given the WWE some much needed drawing power.

The Bloodline stable & storyline is the BEST thing in Professional Wrestling right now and the numbers don’t lie. The remarkable thing is how it has turned around Roman Reigns’s career, boosted the individual careers of Jey and Jimmy Uso, created a brand new star with Solo Sikoa, possibly boosted Paul Heyman to the BEST manager of all time, and saved Sami Zayn’s career. Everything came together perfectly and now everyone in the Bloodline storyline is going to collectively benefit from it for years.

In today’s column, let’s talk about what makes this Bloodline stable and storyline so great and why Roman Reigns is seriously thriving in it as a Main Eventer.


Top 10 Reasons WHY the Bloodline and Roman Reigns Are Successful

#1 – Roman Reigns HEEL Turn – August 2020
If you’re going to be honest about assessing Roman Reigns’s career, you have to be honest about the success of his 2014-2020 babyface push. You just have to… John Cena’s career was winding down and thus Vince McMahon tried and tried to make Roman into a John Cena clone. This included wrestling matches with many trademark moves (spear, driveby, Superman punch, etc.) and reading scripted lines that Vince McMahon and his failed Hollywood writers wanted him to say. By 2014 when the mega babyface push began, he only had a few years’ experience under his belt. Roman became a wrestler in 2010 under WWE’s developmental system only.

For YEARS, wrestling fans were damn near begging Vince to turn him heel because they were SO SICK of Roman as an overpushed babyface. This resembles the fan rejection of Rocky Maivia during late 1996 through early 1997. Then, Rocky returned from an injury to join the Nation of Domination stable as a heel and found himself to become “The Rock”. Except in this case for Roman, he remained a struggling babyface for 6 years instead. I personally thought the right moment was the Undertaker match for a heel turn and the fans were primed for it, but WWE didn’t pull the trigger.

The bigger issue was Roman lacking in-ring experience. When they started really pushing him during 2014, he only had a few years in the wrestling business. If you look at the all-time greats, besides freaks like Kurt Angle or the Rock, they worked for years developing their craft to become Main Eventers. He just didn’t have the in-ring experience to look great when winning cleanly and headlining Wrestlemania or other big events to get clean wins over CM Punk, Triple H, Randy Orton, Undertaker, John Cena, and many others, and he just struggled in his many attempts against Brock Lesnar. However, by August of 2020, Roman now had over a decade of experience and could begin to understand why he should SLOW things down with psychology instead of being too reliant on trademark moves or spots. Now, from August 2020 and beyond, he’s consistently having great matches and that’s a HUGE draw with him as a Main Eventer.


#2 – Time off before August 2020
From March 2020 through August 2020, Roman Reigns was absent from WWE programming. Why? Remember, it was the COVID-19 year and Roman Reigns was fresh off of recovering from a 2nd bout of Leukemia. When COVID spread through the Performance Center, there were immediate worries about Roman and they wisely sent him home. To quote Jim Cornette, “how will they miss you if you don’t go away“. Roman spent 5 months away and returns as a heel rather than continuing his struggling babyface career. Perfect timing, along with teaming up with…

I will also say this about other time off, such as recent vacation time for Roman… I am 100% perfectly fine with Roman Reigns wrestling less and appearing less. It doesn’t over-expose him as a wrestler, which was the problem he had from 2014-2020. You saw him every week, winning often, and you got sick of it. Now, with limitations, your demand to see him perform goes up.


#3 – Paul Heyman.
By August 2020, Heyman had done everything he could as Brock Lesnar’s advocate and he was now at the side of Roman Reigns. It was shocking to see him sitting beside Roman Reigns on that Smackdown just after SummerSlam 2020, but it worked. Heyman’s work with Lesnar was legendary and he had a chance to enhance Roman’s career as his advocate, too.

But Roman needed Heyman, as Roman was going to be performing his own promos and just needed a brain to teach him how to work heel, how to approach matches as a heel, and how to use heel psychology. With them together, there’s lots of time on the road to talk about the wrestling business, how to connect with fans, and how to communicate. Roman’s promos became instantly better, as did his matches. From there, Roman took off because he finally had a good coach with him instead of what he lacked previously.

Great thing about Heyman is that he can cover for Roman so that he’s not over-exposed on television and also for when Roman needs time off, just like Lesnar. He’s an effective substitute speaker and helps keep the presence of his managed wrestlers alive. Anytime you see Heyman on screen, you know that the words coming out of his lips are 100% in support of the wrestler that he backs.

And the CRAZY thing about Paul Heyman managing the Bloodline is that it links Heyman’s managerial duties of the Samoan Swat Team during 1989 with WCW and the Usos/Solo’s real life father, Fatu or Rikishi, was a member of that team. Over 30 years later, Heyman is managing Fatu’s kids. That is bonkers, but it adds just a little extra ounce of credibility to Heyman managing this group.


#4 – The Usos
Before, they were just a tag team and honestly, many fans couldn’t tell them apart. That’s sounds horribly racist, but Jimmy and Jey are TWIN brothers and the WWE really didn’t give much effort to distinguish which wrestler was which. For years, they were dressed alike, had the same haircut, and virtually wrestled the same. However, within the Bloodline, Jey and Jimmy have personality, their individual swagger, and both have greatly improved on the microphone. They look different now, which in my opinion, is very important. Remember when Nikki Bella got “enhanced” (by her own admission) and everyone worried that would ruin the Bella Twins? Nope, it enhanced them because now they were individual personalities instead of being robotically the same.

As luck would have it, Jimmy Uso got injured at Wrestlemania 37 and that allowed Jey Uso a chance to thrive as a singles wrestler. Boy did he ever, as in my opinion, pushed Roman Reigns to his BEST WWE match through that point at Clash of Champions 2020 and then followed that up with a rematch at Hell in a Cell. While Jey and also Jimmy would join Roman to officially form the Bloodline group, it was a showcase of how talented both Jey (especially) and Jimmy had as individual talents and not just a similar looking tag team by WWE’s choice. While it’s easy to be critical of the WWE’s past use of the Usos, the fact is that they are experienced veterans now and they are easily pulling this off because of that. They were ready to take off during August 2020.


#5 – Solo Sikoa – BEST WWE Call-up Prospect since the Shield
Yep, I said it… Solo may need some more in-ring work to polish up his skills, but he fits perfectly and they are carefully protecting him in the group. I love how he has the spike and that move is sold like it devastates any wrestlers who receive it. He’s only 30 years old and started wrestling just 5 years ago… Sky is the limit with this kid and by being around Roman and the Usos, experienced veterans, he’ll grow just as Orton and Batista quickly grew when hanging around Ric Flair and Triple H for Evolution.


#6 – The Bloodline has great chemistry as a group (or now as opponents)
Take a look back at the “League of Nations” stable from a few years ago that featured Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Rusev, and Wade Barrett. All 4 wrestlers, at their peak, were good talents but as foursome, they just didn’t gel well together. They lasted like 5 months and were quickly made into a mockery. You gotta have chemistry as a group… Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were best friends in real life for the NWO, as were Triple H and Shawn for DX. League of Nations was just 4 dudes placed together.

For the Bloodline, they are FAMILY and thus have been speaking to each other for years and can thus play off each other well with promos. Furthermore, Paul Heyman managed the Uso’s and Solo’s father in the past, so he has known Rikishi’s kids since they were little. On top of that, the Usos and Roman are now seasoned veterans and can combine their experience acting with their communication abilities with each other. Even though it is fully scripted, the animosity shown between Roman and the Usos feels real. Again, it’s simply because of having great chemistry. THAT MATTERS with a stable and subsequent storylines.


#7 – Branding of the Bloodline
First of all, if you’re going to have a stable, get a cool name. “Bloodline” is perfect and again, alludes to the family ties between the Usos/Solo and Roman Reigns. Plus, again, Heyman managed the father of the Usos and Solo. That’s why Sami Zayn was eventually going to lose his spot on the squad because he didn’t have their “blood” flowing through them and always caused friction inside the group.

Beyond that, Roman has developed catchphrases that absolutely work:

– “I’m the head of the table!”
– “Acknowledge Me”

Simple, and right to the point. Go look at the greats in pro wrestling and they all had simple catchphrases that worked and they said them repeatedly. Roman is no different and the phrases fit his heel personality.

Bloodline merchandise is easy to make, easy to sell… It just looks cool.


#8 – The Rock not appearing is a GOOD thing.
I don’t mind that the Rock hasn’t showed up yet… It creates doubt that he doesn’t want to return and the more the Rock doesn’t show up, the more convincing it is that Roman is truly the “head of the table” for their family right now. I still say that WWE, and probably Endeavor, will eventually want that Roman vs. Rock match, but it’s perfectly OK that the Rock hasn’t showed up yet.

It’s the easiest way to get Roman over… Fans were heavily expecting The Rock for the Los Angeles based Wrestlemania 39, but it didn’t happen. Then, when Cody couldn’t beat Roman, it added to the heat because it appears that the Rock may be the only one able to defeat Roman for his WWE World Titles. Yet, that position is strengthened because the Rock hasn’t showed up yet and Roman keeps adding more and more days to those title reigns. Speaking of that…


#9 – Lengthy Title Reigns
Remember throughout the 2000s & 2010s, everyone was complaining about the LACK of lengthy title reigns (besides CM Punk). Well, the Usos and Roman Reigns dominated both RAW and Smackdown titles for a long time. IN MY OPINION, this built up the credibility of both titles and was much needed. However, the drive-by wrestling marks who cannot make up their mind on what satisfies them have been complaining about lack of title changes. You cannot have it both ways, guys.

In my opinion, it adds nothing but credibility to the title belts and whomever defeats Roman should see serious elevation (though I worry that Cody will have to scrub harder to get that “AEW stench” off his body).


#10 – Sami Zayn
Months before he joined the Bloodline, everyone was talking about how his career was “ruined” because he let the Jackass stars walk all over him. Then, he joins the Bloodline and he breathes some life into the group but also eventually caused conflict between the Usos and Roman Reigns. It was a conflict to add Sami to the group, but then it became a conflict to kick him out of the group. He was a major disruptor to the group and helped create an amazing storyline ending to Royal Rumble 2023.

Easily, Triple H’s best idea since he was granted more power during July 2022. This saved Sami’s career and took the Bloodline into a whole new direction. Look at the Usos and Roman Reigns right now… They drew 3 million viewers on a Friday Night to watch their segment at Madison Square Garden on Smackdown.


And here are a few additional reasons why the Bloodline and Roman are successful…

#11 – Triple H and Vince McMahon agree on the Bloodline storylines
With Roman now heel, both of them know what is successful and are probably pouring additional creative resources, each, into keeping the Bloodline/Roman Reigns story going strong. Vince pushed it strongly from 2020-2022, and then Triple H kept that momentum going and added Sami Zayn to the group to enhance the storyline ideas. They may disagree over other storylines or talent, but both know where the bread is getting buttered right now.

#12 – Bloodline storyline has been given time to breathe
Because Vince loves Roman so much, he’s has given the Bloodline storyline additional time to breathe. Normally, Vince McMahon and his ADD will destroy a storyline weeks into it and many wrestlers have suffered from this ADD style of booking. Vince changes his mind frequently… But because he has always wanted Roman to get over, he’s patient and is giving the group time to develop their storylines.


You cannot deny facts right now… 2.5 million viewers on Smackdown, consistently now, with the Bloodline members colliding between Usos and Roman/Solo. It was a perfect storm of everything coming together, but it all hinges on Roman Reigns finally becoming HEEL after years of being shoved down our throats as a babyface and giving him reasons why he became a heel and why he’ll remain a heel (Heyman at his side, for example). They ongoing conflict with the Usos has been brilliant, by the way, and made 2020 interesting for the group and also late 2022 through 2023. Jimmy and especially Jey have brought their A-games and are now known more as individual personalities in addition to a great tag team.

Michael Cole recently said that Roman and the Bloodline members deserve Emmy awards for their storyline. Great idea, but Roman, Usos, Heyman, and Solo would have be members of the Screen Actors Guild in order to qualify for those awards. Does Vince McMahon want his wrestlers to be a part of a labor union? Heck no… Come on, Michael, you should know better.

If only the WWE could present this type of care, patience, and creativity to the REST of the roster besides just Roman and his close family members. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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