WWE News WWE NEWS: Big Roman Reigns Interview - Reigns address criticism of his skills & WWE placing him in top position, jabs C.M. Punk's "voice of voiceless," talks getting rich, but not famous, more
Jan 30, 2015 - 11:00:11 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Prior to the Royal Rumble PPV, where Roman Reigns won the Rumble to advance to the WrestleMania 31 main event, Reigns talked to radio host Sam Roberts about all of the big topics related to his ascension to the top of WWE.
Throughout the interview, Reigns framed himself as a performer doing the best he can in the position that WWE has placed him in. He noted that as opinionated as some fans are against his position, WWE is just as opinionated about placing him in the position. Reigns also jabbed C.M. Punk's tagline being the "Voice of the Voiceless" when Reigns believes people's opinions - positive or negative - resonate with WWE.
"I see all my criticism. I'm in a position now where I get a ton of love, which is great, and a ton of criticism, which is great. As long as people are talking about me, that's all that matters to me. The people who are critiquing and bashing me, they're making me more relevant. I would think if you didn't want me around, just don't talk about me. But, they make it even more overwhelming. Noise is noise. That's the thing," Reigns said.
"I'm all about being opinionated and speaking up for what you like, which is what we have now with social media. I don't believe in like C.M. Punk 'I'm the voice of the voiceless.' That's crap. People are talking and being heard all over the world. You put something on the Internet and people will read it - whether you're a famous celebrity or Joe Schmo. I read all these stuff, but people have to consider that I'm not writing or don't go out there and create the whole show. I'm a performer. I go out there and perform to the best of my abilities."
A heavy dose of criticism has been levied against Reigns related to his final line - questions about Reigns's abilities both in the ring and on the mic. Reigns said he's not worried about, but performing as the company has called him to.
"My goal is hopefully make everyone happy and be satisfied with the product that I've created. People don't realize is I created a product - a Superman punch - and taken a spear and made it my own. There's a lot of things that I've done that I've created, so there's a lot of opinions that I have that I'm not going to budge on," Reigns said.
"I have to live with my career. And when I'm done, the WWE Universe and the company is going to move on and there's going to be another guy and they're going to keep going, so I'm trying to get everything I can out of this experience possible."
Reigns was mild-mannered and "Scott Hall-like" throughout the interview, but became agitated when discussing "critics" without identifying who he was talking about.
"The majority of critics are people who have no clue what they're talking about, been in a wrestling ring, been a public speaker, and wouldn't even lock up with me. They would have no clue what to do. So, for them to critique or ever say anything about any performer is asinine and just blows my mind," Reigns said.
"I'm aware of all these things. But, you have to look at it from many different perspectives. For me as a provider and as a man, I have a responsibility to provide. I can't look at it and get down on it because this is what they're thinking and what they're saying. To be honest, I really don't care. I can only do my thing and do the best that I can."
Reigns also talked about his goals in WWE. Notably, he said he's "not doing this for the fame," but he later said he's "trying to get rich," which was in the context of providing for his family.
"I'm doing this strictly from an artistic standpoint as far as performance and entertaining people and bringing them happiness and putting smiles on people's faces. It's never been about being famous or anything like that," Reigns said.
Later, Reigns said about WWE getting behind him: "It's one of those situations where obviously the company does what the company does and the fans do what they do. And that's what's so great. So, the fans have to realize as opinionated as you want it, the company is the same way. The company is going to do what they want to do, fans are going to do what they want to do, and hopefully at the end of the day I'm just the guy getting rich."
Reigns noted that "things have gotten a little crazy" since the WWE machine got behind him, including walking through a casino in Las Vegas with woman calling out to him. He said he felt like a piece of meat, so now he knows what Hooters girls feel like.
Reigns said it can be "pretty cool" stirring up all of these emotions, but he has to be careful because everyone has a cameraphone taking photos of him giving a basic hug to female fans and it being taken the wrong way.
Reigns added that he got married while he was off TV with his major hernia injury in 2014. Reigns said they decided to get married since he had time off and could not rehab because of the type of injury that required him to limit his motion.
Caldwell's Analysis: Very revealing interview. Reigns came across somewhat like a jock, somewhat like a cool guy to hang out, somewhat defiant and unaware of what the real criticism is against his work, and also a company guy presenting WWE's defense for placing him in the main event of WrestleMania before his skills have matured to be ready for the position.
Reigns using the argument that people who have never being in the ring are unable to criticize him is invalid and a fallacy from decades ago. As Reigns said a few times, he's a performer and doing a performance. It's performance art, which also has an important business aspect. Outside perspectives from knowledgeable people watching the performance and evaluating the business side are just as valid as someone who has been in the trenches. It's why a podcast like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and PWTorch editor Wade Keller is important to dissect a changing time in the wrestling business.
Reigns presenting that argument is a "tell" that he's repeating what someone in WWE has said around or to him to downplay criticism, or that he truly believes the fallacy. This, and other examples, point to Reigns's under-developed all-around skills that make him not the best choice at this point in time as a top act in WWE. Now, WWE sees Reigns as a guy that can "grow into the shoes" of a main event player, while also molding him into the type of guy they want on top. Not a "C.M. Punk" who, in their opinion, thinks he already knows everything and will challenge authority. Rather, a guy who is "thankful for his position" and will ride the wave until WWE says it's time to get off and let the next guy have a turn.
Yes, Reigns appeals to a big segment of the audience - as I saw two weekends ago at a basic Sunday night house show and Reigns was glad to point out in the interview - but WWE could have brought everyone on-board if they were patient and waited for Reigns's all-around skills to mature and for fans to invest in a singles journey with clear markers along the way that bonded him to all segments of the audience. Instead, WWE chose a path of making it obvious they were getting behind Reigns before his skills developed to the main event level when there was another guy named Daniel Bryan available, which has led to many informed fans deciding they don't want to ride the Reigns wave, but stay on the Bryan wave.
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