Roman Reigns: Love Me Or Hate Me, People Always React, And I Have The ‘It’ Factor
Photo Credit: WWE
For several years, Roman Reigns has been “the guy” in WWE. Dating back to roughly 2014, the company has used Reigns as its golden goose, as he was quickly pushed to the main event scene and given practically every accolade imaginable. For years, many fans resisted the way WWE leaned on Reigns as its top star again and again; a sizable portion of the WWE Universe even turned on “The Big Dog.”
But Reigns’ battle with leukemia forced him to step away from the company at the end of 2018. After a relatively brief return to prominence, the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic also kept him off WWE TV. But once Reigns came back and introduced fans to “The Tribal Chief,” he quickly became WWE’s premier star in a genuine way, as this new heel gimmick has allowed the reigning WWE Universal Champion to have the best run of his career.
In an interview with Michael LoRé of Forbes, Reigns explained that throughout his career, the fans have always responded to him, and he also argued that he’s one of the few WWE stars who truly has the “it” factor.
“There’s never a time when my music hits, where it’s ‘Oh, I don’t care,” said Reigns. “It’s either ‘I love this guy’ or ‘I hate this guy.’ I’ve always been able to really pull on the emotional strings of our crowd. For me, that reaction has always been an incredible strength of mine and it’s always been something I’ve been able to rely on.
“Yeah, you say you like this person or think this person should be in my position or this person deserves it or they’ve been through a greater journey or more adversity, but when it comes down to it, who makes the crowd louder? I’ve always, always been that guy. There’s only a handful of guys in the history of our company and the history of our business that can say they have it—that factor that registers with the people, that makes the people stand up and make noise, and I’m in that group.”
In the past, Reigns’ booking and character work has been the source of heavy criticism, but in the interview, “The Head of the Table” explained how the pandemic era allowed him to improve as a performer. He also described how he has come to appreciate the nuances of storytelling and noted the importance of these small details for a product that doesn’t have the luxury of an offseason.
“For me, not having that portion of the performance to lean on really showed me how important the bridges of continuity are, the small details, the nuances of storytelling and the subtle pieces of information that can bridge the gap between huge moment to huge moment,” said Reigns. “…Especially for a weekly product, something without an offseason—we don’t have a 3-5 month break where we go back to the drawing board and craft this narrative to put on for the rest of the year—this is something that is continually evolving and being hashed out in real time.
“It’s really important to be able to rely on those basics—the detailed portions of the storytelling to be able to create and craft a very complex, sophisticated but still very entertaining narrative.”