WWE eviscerated the Roman Reigns character on this week's RAW.
It was astonishing stuff. John Cena, ahead of their match at No Mercy, was directed to assassinate him. "[The crowd] go back and forth with you," Cena said, "because when they look at you they see what I see: a cheap-a**, corporately-created John Cena bootleg. This chump right here, he ain't The Guy. He's just a guy. A guy trying so desperately to fill shoes that you never will." Cena even buried the d*mn Undertaker to underscore the message. "Listen carefully, young man: I'm not the Undertaker. I'm not a battered veteran at the end of his career with a bad hip. I am the fastest, strongest and hungriest I have ever been in my entire life - and the reason you won't sign that [contract] is because you know, if you do, your Roman Empire"...
Cena then blew figurative dust from his fingers. It might as well have been Reigns' ashes. He didn't so much bury him as burn him alive.
Sympathy ploy? Pressure test? Involuntary, counterproductive fit? Regardless of the intention, it reinforced everything the fans think about the character. But how accurate is that perception?