WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns recently spoke with CBS Sports to hype his title showdown against Braun Strowman on this week's edition of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX.
During the interview "The Tribal Chief" reflects on his time away from WWE during the pandemic, how he enjoys working hard for his family and more.
Featured below are some of the highlights of the new CBS Sports interview with Roman Reigns.
On his time away from WWE due to the pandemic: “You know, it was tough, but I tried to just focus on things I could control and the time with my family. For a long time — and I think maybe the reason people consider myself a locker room leader is the dedication to my craft and to the performance and to our locker room and being there for those guys and not only being where I worked as far as my character but really being there in the locker room and being approachable and going through the grind with those guys. I think I was able to earn the respect when they saw how I carried myself and how I operated on a daily basis and the work output that I put in. But, for me, it was either dwell on the negatives because, yeah, I wanted to be there and wanted to help the team and help the product, but it was also very nice to be able to help my family and be there for my children and my wife and create a little bit of a solid foundation and structure in these crazy times.”
On how he enjoys working hard and providing for his family: “For me to be home when everything is in question and it’s scary just to go to the grocery store, I think that was something critical for my household to see that mom and dad are doing this together and they’re spearheading this thing and taking it on as it comes. But I won’t lie, there’s something very gratifying about going to work and doing your job at a high level and earning and providing for your family. Luckily, the work that I put in in the past and up to that point, it built a good equity with WWE all the way to the fact that nothing changed for me. I was still fortunate enough to receive my paycheck and take care of my family. We’re in a very blessed situation to be able to stay home and still operate as a household and family but have security and food on the table.”
On shifting into "The Tribal Chief" heel character: “I definitely think a lot of the stuff that we present is very factual. A lot of people want to say, ‘Oh, he’s a heel.’ And, ‘Oh, he was a babyface,” and this and that. I try not to look at it as that. I try to look at it as this being a character in a storyline and he has choices like anyone else. Some of his choices are going to be perceived as good, some of them are going to be perceived as bad and some of them people won’t understand because they won’t understand where he’s coming from. That might be because they’re not in the same field or on the same level, kind of like how I told my cousin that he wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be on top. I say it with love and respect, but he’s a tag team guy. He never has operate at the top. He’s never been WWE champion, he’s never been universal champion. I have … many times. I understand the grind and what it takes to maintain that, not only to get there but to maintain it. I think there are a lot of elements that are true and I think it’s important for a performer to connect to the character they’re displaying. There has to be shades of a real person in there. But, like you’ve heard every superstar all the way back to Bruno Sammartino say, you have to be able to take that to an 11 or 12."
On how he's added real experiences into his storylines: "I’ve taken these real-life qualities and experiences and put them in a storyline. That has been able to connect with our audience in a really cool way because they’ve seen me grow and they’ve seen my path and they’ve seen me operate on this top tier of WWE for a long time. For me to actually emote and explain the dimensions of it, I think they dig that and the feeling that the fourth wall is down from time to time. To me, this is Roman. He’s not Joe. I’m able to connect to everything I’m doing now way stronger than anything I’ve done before.”
Check out the complete Roman Reigns interview at CBSSports.com.
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