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FLASHBACK: Wrestling Stars Talk About Roman Reigns’ Mega WWE Push

Roman Reigns - WWE Tag Team Champion

In this article, we’re gonna take a look at what various wrestling personalities have said about Roman Reigns, his mega WWE push & more during various interviews & podcasts.

Let’s get started:

Paul Heyman

“I think what happened to Roman is, and I said this on television, that he’s the right guy in the right place at the wrong time. Roman came in and he had all this momentum behind him.

And had they not announced Daniel Bryan’s return at the Royal Rumble and put that in the people’s minds that Daniel Bryan might make this miraculous comeback two years in a row and come back from this injury in which he had to forfeit a championship and had they not put Daniel Bryan out in front of the people who automatically becomes the sentimental favorite, then I think Roman Reigns would have been the person that everybody would look to win the Royal Rumble.

But once you put the sentimental favorite, the underdog, the undersized underdog, who has to fight back against all these giants and and win based on his sheer ability to perform in the ring, then all of the sudden Roman Reigns is the hand-picked successor to John Cena that the promotion is shoving down the people’s throats.

And the most hardcore and diehard of the of the audience will be so loud that other people say, “What are you talking about?” And then it becomes the conversation piece: “They’re gonna put this guy into WrestleMania when Daniel Bryan is available? Oh screw that!”

So, I think what happened was that by inserting Daniel Bryan into the Rumble at a time when the focus should have solely been on Roman Reigns, it took the focus and the fandom away from Roman.

He, all of a sudden, became the guy standing in Daniel Brian’s way. He became the chosen one by the promotion instead of being the one that did earn his way…fought his way to the top….stood out from everybody else and had the right look….the right moves…. the right charisma and was on the right path.

I don’t think Roman is really missing anything. I think he went through a period of time in which he went from being the hero of the audience to being the guy they resented the most and everybody tried to dig him out of that instead of just him staying the course and staying true to his character.”

Daniel Bryan (on Roman Reigns starting to get booed in 2015)

“I thought it was overreaction. I was thrilled with just the possibility that I might be in the main event again. You have some things with a grain of salt. I don’t necessarily agree with this direction.

Last year, I did agree with the direction as far as going into a three-way because last year fans did not get behind Batista, but this year, the Monday after the Royal Rumble was snowed out. So they did this awesome (angle) with Roman and Brock and Paul Heyman and that sort of thing. But the next Raw was in Denver and people were cheering Roman Reigns. They were going nuts for Roman and most of the TVs, going into Fastlane, were cheering Roman.

The only reason why maybe they didn’t is because they also really liked me. It wasn’t last year that we don’t want to see these guys, we want to see Daniel Bryan. They just were cheering for me because now we’re directly opposed to each other. I thought it was an overreaction.

Anyways, as much as everybody wants the main event WrestleMania, if this is the plan that they’re going with, I think they made the right decision. Like I said, Madison Square Garden is a notoriously tough crowd and especially after over three hours and they were there for him.

I also think that it’s good for Roman to have those kind of matches (at Fastlane) to go in there and just fight. For as inexperienced as he is, he’s really, really good.”

The Miz

“People, they all think they know everything about the WWE and what it takes to be a WWE Superstar. Everyone’s allowed to have their opinion, that is no problem, but the fact is Roman Reigns works hard.

A lot of things you read is like: “Oh the system is giving him the push and yada yada yada.” And it’s like who cares?

The guy is talented, the guy is good at what he does. If the WWE ignored him, they would love him even more. It’s like they like people that’s like: “We made him.” Daniel Bryan! “We made him.” When he was getting backhanded by the WWE (fans were like, “Oh they don’t like him. They don’t see him as a main event.” I was like…this is perfect for Daniel because the fans are just gonna group together and love him even more.”

X-Pac & Scott Hall (on Roman Reigns facing Triple H at WrestleMania 32)

X-Pac: “They (crowd) did (turn in Roman’s favor by the end of the match) and then they fu*king forgot that they were supposed to be mad and hate Roman. As the match started and when the people were sh*tting on him, I sent out a tweet.

I’m like, ‘I might be wrong about this but I’m just gonna say right now that by the end of this match the people are gonna be with him and they’re gonna fu*kin’ pop for him.’

And I got so much sh*t (from people). We didn’t know what they were doing in the match, but I just knew Paul is that fucking good. I’d seen him do it with Cena in Chicago.”

Scott Hall: “My feeling is just that there’s a always been a fan base that like to hate the anointed one.

I did an angle with this guy to turn me babyface when I was Razor and it was like a slow building angle. And then I was kinda like the people’s guy. And at the same time (with) Lex Luger, (because) he’s the chosen one, it didn’t work.

People were not with him and it didn’t work.”

Bob Holly

“This guy (Roman Reigns) wasn’t getting over for two years. They shoved him down everybody’s throat. They keep pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing him, people aren’t still buying.

You’re telling him to go out there and get over but yet he’s not getting over but yet you keep shoving him down everybody’s throat. And here you have Damien Sandow, who goes out, gets over and you let him go. And it’s like any of the other talents that comes up from NXT, they go out there, they give them a few weeks or couple of months or however long to get over. If they’re not getting over, it’s like, “Well, we’ve got to pull the plug on them. How come they didn’t pull the plug on Roman Reigns?

Because Roman Reigns is the guy that they want to be the guy to carry the company or to represent the company. That just baffles my mind. Again, that’s one of those things where it’ll drive you crazy thinking about it. And it just insults the fans’ intelligence.

When they say the talent creates their own push, well that’s the farthest thing from the truth. The office is the one that picks and chooses who we’re going to do things with and where we’re going to go with them.

Yes, some guys may end up standing out and then all of a sudden they were going to take this guy and run with him. That happens here and there every once in a while. But when you tell a talent like Damien Sandow to go out there and get over and he does exactly what you guys tell him to do and he surprises you because he’s one of the most over guys in the company, and then you release him. That sends a message like okay you’ve just confused everybody.

They have in their mind what they want to do with each person and they know exactly where they’re going to go with each person, come hell or high water. This is our guy, like Roman Reigns, come hell or high water, we’re going to push this guy until he gets over. And that’s what they kept trying to do.

They’ve got so much money invested in him and now they’ve got to keep doing something with him to get their money back out of him.”

CM Punk

“It’s me vs. The Shield, three on one. These are the most pushed three guys since like Bobby Lashley. They’ve pushed and protected all three guys. They’re like: ‘You’re going over’ and I was like: ‘okay, if that’s what you want’.

And then they grabbed me and they stressed, ‘But you got to make Roman look really, really strong.’ And I was like (sarcastically): ‘No, I was just gonna fu*king sh*t on him and beat him. I was just gonna tear through him and fu*king Superman the sh*t out of him and just GTS all three of them at the same time.’

I was like: ‘Yeah I get it, okay.’ So, while we’re putting the match together, every two minutes somebody new is coming up to me (and saying), ‘Hey you got to make him look really strong.’

I got so sick of Michael Hayes and everybody else coming up to me, people who aren’t even involved in the match. And finally I said, ‘You know what would make him look really strong? If they beat me. Because three guys can’t beat one guy. That’s fu*king dumb.’

They are like: ‘No but Vince wants you to go over. But you gotta make them look.’ (I went) ‘God dammit! I fu*king get it. I know how to do the job. Shut the fu*k up!'”

Rikishi (On Roman Reigns losing at WrestleMania 31)

Rikishi: There’s so much against going towards Roman Reigns. I think that it’s probably a lot of haters out there. I don’t know I think Roman might be in the wrong business. He might be headed for Hollywood or something like that where you don’t have to take too many bumps. But I think, due time, I’m sick of jokes already. I think people just need to kind of give them a chance.

Interviewer: Did you spend any time with Roman behind the scenes around the time of WrestleMania? Did he confide in you about the fans rejecting him and how he felt about that? Did you give him advice?

Rikishi: No, we just hugged each other. (Told him to) just enjoy the moment. (We didn’t) talk anything about negativity but just to be safe, go out there and enjoy the moment and cease it.

Interviewer: Was it true that the Samoan contingent almost rioted during WrestleMania when Roman didn’t win that World Title? Who was the most upset?

Rikishi: Jeez hell, I was mad! I didn’t know any of the Islanders riding out there. If there was, you damn sure would have seen it on the news.

Bret Hart

“They keep pushing him (Roman Reigns) the wrong way. I really don’t think it’s his fault. I think it’s the way they push him. They’re going to do everything humanly possible to get him over instead of letting him do his thing and get over.

They build ridiculous scenarios all the time where 10 guys are beating up on him. None of that made any sense to me. Seems like there’s no real governing board. It’s that corrupt that Vince can just bring in whoever he wants and they can just destroy guys. This doesn’t make any sense. It actually hurts the credibility of the industry.

Poor Roman Reigns, it’s like they could have cut his head off in the middle of the ring and nobody would have cared. If anything, they would have cheered. If you look at Roman Reigns, he was really over on his own. He was really over when he was with the group that he was with, The Shield.

He was really over on his own. And as soon as Triple H or whoever or Vince decided they’re going to make this guy, they completely destroyed him. And then he rebuilt himself, he came back and he did it all by himself. He earned it again. People kind of started to like him again. He started to get over and I thought they totally killed him off last night. They ruined him last night.

It’s thoughtless booking. Have I been in a room where they come up with all the ideas to get him over? I wish I would have said that’s going to kill him off and that is going to make people not like him and they’re gonna crap on it. And you know what they did.

They should leave that guy alone and let him get over on his own. If you ask me what’s wrong with Roman Reigns, it’s like he doesn’t seem to get anyone to feel sorry for him. It’s almost like he’s been turned into a Triple H type of wrestler. I don’t mean that in a bad way but like he’s got the long hair and he really never sells anything. Triple H was kind of the same way. He can’t get sympathy.

When Bret Hart used to wrestle years ago and somebody threw me into the front turnbuckle, I hit it so hard and collapsed on the mat and I was riding and rolling on the ground. People felt sorry for me right away like oh my god he will get killed.

I went crashing through the table it’s like oh my god, you know, there was sympathy all the time. I was able to make the crowd feel the pain that I was going through and they would immediately respond and start cheering and get with the match because it was so real.

And there’s a lot of wrestlers like that. Even Shawn could make the crowd come with him right away. But like I said about Roman Reigns, it seems like you’d cut his head off in the middle of the ring and nobody would really care.

He’s got to learn how to sell pain like he’s in real jeopardy, that he’s really hurt, that something really bad happened to him.”

Stone Cold Steve Austin (On Roman Reigns defeating Dean Ambrose & Brock Lesnar at Fastlane 2016 to earn a WWE World Title Match with Triple H at WrestleMania 32)

Interviewer: What’s your reaction to (Roman) Reigns headlining Mania? Yes, Reigns held his own in this match, contributed to it. It was a really good match. He looks like he belongs in the ring with (Brock) Lesnar. It doesn’t look like that he’s just tripping over his own feet or anything like that.

But the rejection of him, I mean when they introduced him and his music played, there were boos. When he won, it didn’t work. It didn’t get over and you could read it on Roman’s face. I’m starting to feel sorry for him. He’s not clicking for the position that he’s in.

We did tons of polls last 24 hours at our website. One of them was how do you react to what happened at Fastlane at the main event with Roman Reigns and 88 percent voted for frustrated and angry and only 12 percent said some combination of satisfied, excited or understanding.

I don’t think that’s entirely reflective of a hundred percent of the audience but I think it’s a significant part of the WrestleMania audience. I don’t think they’re buying Roman as a babyface headed into that show. And they’ve done everything they can and it’s still not there.

Austin: Well, I get a lot of emails saying Roman needs to learn more moves, add more things to his repertoire. He’s doing the same things over and over again. Well, I kind of did the same things over and over again. Maybe I had one or two more tricks up my sleeve. But I just, I was over. So there’s a difference. He’s trying to get over.

Interviewer: It’s not the number of moves. He just hasn’t connected with the crowd the way that top babyfaces do like you did, like Hogan did, like Bret Hart in his own way did. He just isn’t connecting with the crowd and I think the limited move-set is the symptom of not connecting.

Austin: To me it’s just like Vince chose his guy and and he’s sticking with him. Whatever the fans think whether it’s the smart marks or the casual fans, he’s sticking with this guy.

Interviewer: If you’re angry as a fan, you have to also be sort of fascinated with how this journey ends or where it goes.

Austin: It’s fascinating to watch it play out. It’s also been fascinating to watch what happens or whatever the finish is in that match at WrestleMania 32 between him and Triple H.

Because I’m thinking for a match of this caliber or magnitude because this is make or breakdown for the kids, so that’s why I say magnitude and he’s on the biggest stage. You’re gonna have a well thought-out match that’s gonna take some time to build. And they will. And it’s gonna have a crescendo and then it’s going to explode and we’ll see what the explosion is.

(Roman as heel) that’s what’s gonna make it fun again because everybody’s gonna be so on board with booing him. I’m telling you once he goes through that process whether it takes one year, two years or whatever. Then they’re gonna end up loving him again. But he’s gonna have a monster run.

It just has to happen. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take for Vince to turn him. I’ve predicted (long back) that the kids gonna have a heel run before he’s gonna be universally loved because that’s just the way I see it.

If Vince can get him over as a baby first, more power to him. I talked to Roman Reigns every time I go to do a podcast, dude is a great guy. Everybody on the roster supports that guy because he’s a good dude. So everybody loves him.

Whatever’s happening ain’t his fault. It’s just his personality, his looks, the way he’s been pushed. He’s a tremendous cat but sometimes in the business of pro wrestling you’ve got to walk through that fire first. And I still think that he’s gonna have to do. But if Vince could get that kid over as a monster baby, more power to him.

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