I don’t think people ever really hated Reigns because of who he is, they just hated the push he was getting when he clearly wasn’t at the level he needed to be at to (in our minds) deserve it.
Now that he’s doing his own thing away from the title, and has mostly lost the super-serious “Me vs Everyone” gimmick in favor of the far-superior Roman “Best Friends with Dean Ambrose” Reigns gimmick people are seeing that he has character and can be entertaining.
In 2003, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton were at their absolute best, character-wise. This era (post-drugs) HBK is phenomenal and he’s almost always been a top notch performer. Legend Killer Randy Orton was his best gimmick. Playing off all of his strengths and it’s a perfect gimmick.
This was easily my favorite HBK quote, his delivery & story telling of this promo was just exceptional & nobody in the WWE today even comes close. This feud & match was when you can see the overshadowing & potential of Orton as a main eventer in 03, & HBK made Orton look like a million bucks. Quote begins at 1:25 FYI in the promo vid.
Honestly, I’ve always felt Roman was a future star. My big problem with him earlier in the year was that WWE was trying to make him a present star, and he was nowhere near ready. He’s shown a lot of growth since then. Dunno if he’s ready to be The Man yet, but I wouldn’t immediately and vehemently reject him like I did earlier this year.