While I was confident he'd get the hero's welcome he deserved after his battle with leukemia there was a small part of me that feared there would be some of the usual split reaction.
Fortunately, those fears were unfounded and Roman Reigns was universally embraced by the folks at State Farm Arena on Monday night. During one part of his speech he paused, and it was very quiet. One guy yelled "You suck!" and was immediately shouted down by the rest of the crowd.
Why? That night and that place wasn't the time for that, and I think most reasonable human beings understand that.
This does raise a question though...What should we expect going forward? What is appropriate?
My answer may surprise you because I say that whatever any given crowd wants to do is completely appropriate. (Just to be clear I will say that I think negative references to his illness are NOT appropriate, but I don't think there's any issue with booing him or anything like that.) The Big Dog is back, and as far as I'm concerned it is now business as usual. My take that the crowd should be respectful was tied solely to his return promo in that building on that night. My issue with that "You Suck!" guy had nothing to do with him not cheering Roman for example, I just felt like laying out and giving him that moment was the right thing to do if you weren't a fan.
As for expectation, I figure in the long run Roman will receive a more positive reaction even though it will still settle into a mixed reaction deal. That's fine with me so long as the WWE Universe responds to him as vocally as they always have.
While I will never understand the "I'm booing the character not the man"contingent (Roman's character isn't really designed to be booed anymore than any other face on the roster is my point there), I am 100% perfectly and completely OK with however they want to treat him.
Ultimately, I'm not worried about how the crowd reacts to him...I'm just glad he's back.