Reigns relishes pressure of representing proud wrestling family
He’s not a bad guy. He’s not a good guy. He just thinks he’s the guy.
Roman Reigns said that his iconic promo the night after WrestleMania is a reflection of what he’s been feeling throughout his career.
“For me, I don’t try to think I’m a good guy, I don’t try to think I’m a bad guy. I’m just thinking I’m me,” Reigns told INQUIRER in an exclusive interview before WWE Live Manila last September 9. “When I walk into a building and in that ring, I know I’m the guy. I know I’m going there and do my thing and nobody could deny that.”
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Though presented as a babyface (good guy), the crowd has been vocal in their displeasure of Reigns, even booing him in the greatest moment of his young career when he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at WrestleMania 32 last April.
But the Samoan powerhouse doesn’t mind all the negative reaction, saying, “For me, it’s just been a crazy roller coaster.”
“It can appear to be however it appears to be, but the only thing I remember after beating Triple H at WrestleMania is that everybody is standing up. I have great pictures of such a huge moment, the biggest WrestleMania of all time,” he said. “Some people get too caught up with my reactions. It’s a mixed reaction, but everybody has some sort of feelings towards me. For whatever reason, I rub people a certain way, there’s a reaction, some form of expression I’m pulling from these people.”
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With him enjoying contrasting fan reactions, some people can’t help but compare Reigns to John Cena, one of the WWE’s most polarizing superstars. But for the third-generation superstar, he’d rather not make the comparison and trek a journey of his own.
“I think John Cena is John Cena. He’s had such a great career and such a long career. That longevity and consistency, that’s what makes superstars a superstar,” he said. “I’d like to think I’m a little bit different. I don’t know if it’s because the fans have been prepared because they’ve had John for so long and they knew that another guy, another alpha male who is going to compete is going to fill that spot. I think our fans are smart to the process on how we do this year-in and year-out. I’d like to think it’s a great situation, you have two guys who are going out there to compete and give you the best show possible with John Cena and Roman Reigns.”
And it’s the biggest thing that matters for Reigns, to have the health to continue wrestling all year round.
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“For me, as long as I’m healthy and I get to do what I love, that’s going to make my day. It’s all about keeping my head down and sticking to this grind and sticking to this same drill I do everyday, and that’s what’s going to make me better than anybody: that consistency to be able to go out there every single night and do it night after night, 52 weeks a year. If I could just continue to do that, it feels like I’m hammering it down. If I can stay healthy and stay in that ring, good things are going to happen,” he said.
Coming from a decorated wrestling family, Reigns sees it as a responsibility for him to represent his
heritage whenever he steps inside the squared circle.
“I like to look at it more as a responsibility,” he said. “Everything I do, especially when I step in the ring, I represent my family. For me to represent my bloodline, my heritage, and continue to push the legacy that my family has, it’s an honor. That’s the main thing when you have such a competitive family and a family that has done so much in this business. The only thing I want to do is to push that standard. I want to take that bar and continue to lift it. The pressure is more of a responsibility and I love it.”
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He also didn’t discount the possibility of fighting The Rock at WrestleMania, but said that it could only happen if the two of them would be fighting for the company’s biggest prize.
“I’m out here representing my family, and I don’t think a better way to represent our family than us going at it in the grandest stage of them all which, if that would be the case and I have to wrestle The Rock, I would have think the WWE Universal Championship or the WWE Championship would be on the line,” he said. “If there is one thing that get some family members going at it, it would be that, but also, it’s just paying great homage to our family and what we’ve done.”
Reigns, though, said that if he has a choice on who he will face in a dream match at WrestleMania, The Undertaker will always be on top.
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“Most people would say The Undertaker and I have to go that way,” he said.
Reigns is hopeful to get a crack at the Deadman before he calls it a career, as he seeks to deal another loss in The Undertaker’s famed 23-1 record at the grandest stage of them all.
“I’ve been in the ring with him for a couple of times and everybody has heard the legend, not only of his character but also behind the scenes, just being the locker room leader he used to be, and he still is to this day. I think it will be incredible to share the ring with him,” he said.
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Already a three-time WWE World Champion and a Royal Rumble winner, Reigns can say that he has already accomplished a lot in his career. But the biggest accolade he thinks he could get isn’t any hardware or trophy, but rather, the respect of his peers.
“I’m fortunate enough to do a lot of cool things. I enjoyed many great achievements, but for me, I still take it pretty personal, the art that I go out there and I paint,” he said. “For me, at the end of the day, I just want to know that I had the best career that I could possibly could have had. I did everything to stay healthy and continue to stay in the ring, and when it’s all said and done, there’s a lot of appreciation for the things I did in the ring, and that’s all I could ask for.”
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