At WWE Payback tonight, the crowd in San Jose, California was very much on the side of the over-the-top villain character who beat the hero into submission and caused him to bleed internally.
The April 30th pay-per-view concluded with Braun Strowman defeating Roman Reigns clean, but even after the match ended, Strowman continued to physically dominate Roman Reigns. This concluded with Strowman driving the steel steps into Reigns.
In the subsequent minutes, Reigns could be seen coughing up blood into the ring. It was at this point that the crowd in San Jose began to chant “Thank you Strowman!” A few minutes later, as an injured Roman Reigns began to limp out of the arena, they could be heard chanting, “You deserve it!”
This was yet another example of WWE crowds being openly hostile towards Roman Reigns, even as he is booked as the hero in storylines.
However, the crowd at Payback was noticeably less hostile towards Roman Reigns than the crowd at Orlando on the Raw after WrestleMania, which was the last time that Roman Reigns was in a WWE ring live. That night, Roman could not even get a word in over all the boos. Tonight, there was a somewhat even divide between the “Let’s go Roman” and the “Roman sucks” chants.
Braun Strowman also received a decent amount of boos when he first entered the ring, which was an improvement compared to earlier this month, when Strowman attacked Roman Reigns but received nothing but universal cheers from the live audience.