WWE NETWORK SPECIAL – Straight to the Source: Roman Reigns talks with Corey Graves about crowd response, getting the mumps, retiring Undertaker, more

By Jason Darling, PWTorch contributor

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AIR TIME: 15:35


“Want the answers to the most burning questions surround The Big Dog… like what’s the deal with The Shield Reunion? Or those crowd reactions? Is there any unfinished business with John Cena or The Undertaker? Find out all this and more when Corey Graves goes Straight to the Source himself, Roman Reigns!”

This is the description of the special that chose Roman Reigns as their first wrestler to showcase.

Corey Graves voice kicks off the show with a video package of Roman Reigns walking backstage. He gets in the yard with the Big Dog himself, Roman Reigns. Corey asks the tough questions, the video shifts to his interview asking Roman, “Is Roman Reigns WWE’s top guy?” and Roman says, “Every day of the week.” He continues with “You were ill? What happened?” and the video edits out Roman’s response, however leaving in “I’m not even sure you are going to be able to use this.” Coreys says nothing is off limits and everything is on the table. Find out the truth while Corey takes you Straight to the Source.

Interview Begins, Shield reuniting

Corey starts by welcoming everyone and introducing “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns. Corey says he isn’t quite sure what this show is yet and they are still trying to feel it out. They are sitting in the arena before a show with the stage being built in the background behind reigns.

First topic was about coming out of Survivor Series, and the much anticipated return of the Shield. Going from the most televised guy on WWE to nowhere, Corey asks “What happened?” Roman says he was infected with the mumps. He had pain in his jaw and ears, but the biggest problem was with the loneliness, because it was such an old and rare thing that even the nurses did not know what to do or how to treat him. His immune system was so bad he caught it and was out for about three weeks. Roman was stuck in a hospital or hotel room. Corey asks what it’s like from being on TV to now being stuck in a room by yourself for weeks. He said at first it completely sucked, but after being in there a while it gave him a whole new perspective on things. One small misstep can take you out of your routine or even your career.

A video package plays of Raw in November where Dean and Seth come out through the crowd with Roman coming out not long after to a loud crowd reaction. Due to Roman being ill, Corey says for one night we got Kurt Angle as a “pseudo” member of The Shield. You could plug different people in, but it didn’t feel the same to Corey. Roman says when its the three original members its something special. You can plug different people in but its “top guys only.” A video package shows Triple H accepting a Shield vest from Seth at a house show.

We cut back to Corey and Roman talking about what it is like for Roman to be back with Seth and Dean. Roman says it has been a little crazy and he hasn’t been able to take it all in. Roman says it felt like they were together for years in their initial run when they debuted, but it was only a year and a half, which Corey agrees with and says that they did so much in that year and a half. Roman says yes and all three of them did a lot after the Shield as well.

A video package shows, starting with Roman, the world title victories that each member experienced during their singles run. To bring these top guys back together it’s almost like a different group. Corey says at first it was just kicking ass and taking names, and that even now in the short time they have been together it’s almost the same vibe. Roman  says he has noticed that Dean also seems to be flexing a lot more since they reunited and isn’t sure what is up with that.

During a match the trio do the super powerbomb off the top rope and Roman looks over and Ambrose is flexing, a video package follows showing the match with the New Day. Roman says Seth was just yelling at Dean to cover Kofi since he was the legal man but Dean was standing there flexing and going crazy. Corey came up with the three of them and it’s fun for him to see the evolution of the men.

Crowd Reactions

Corey asks if the crowd reaction bothers Roman at all. To Roman, sometimes he gets a 50/50 reaction, sometimes he is considered the fan favorite, and other nights he is booed out of the building. Roman says he loves it. He says when he goes to walk out onto the ramp, he wants the fans to know that he puts his everything into it and wants the fans to do what they want. He promotes the “as long as they are making a reaction” line. He goes a bit further and says he’s been broke before and knows that fans are spending their hard-earned money to come watch so they can react however they want to react. Corey says at the end of a Roman match everyone is on their feet, and Roman says that is how he gauges the match. As long as they got invested and are giving a reaction, it’s a win for him. Roman then goes onto to relate to Kurt’s entrance and getting the “You Suck” chants. The crowd isn’t doing that because he sucks, but the fans are doing something. Roman can have a love/hate relationship with the crowd. He just wants the respect from the crowd and isn’t going to leave until he gets that respect, which is why he puts in everything he can to every match and promo.

A brief video package plays from his Intercontinental Title win from several weeks ago and the celebration the week after. A member of the crowd is chanting you deserve it and Roman’s face lights up. To Corey Graves, the reaction reminds him of another polarizing figure in WWE, John Cena. He asks if the build up to their match bothered Reigns at all because it got pretty heated at times. Reigns says no, and that he has always had thick skin. Even when he was new to the business, he was able to keep himself in check and could take a verbal beating. He was never worried about what John would say, he only ever cares if someone will punch him in the face.

Another video package plays of one of their first promos where it appears Roman forgets a line and John calls him out. Roman thinks it was just a cool situation for the two of them to be in. Two alpha males, able to mix and match their styles not only in the promos but the match. A video package plays the highlights of the match and the win being picked up by Roman. Hopefully in another 5-10 years Roman is able to do the same for someone new and bring them up to his level. You never work down, always work on bringing someone up. Another video shows Cena raising Roman’s hand and embracing him for a quick hug after the match was over.

WrestleMania last year was the last time we have seen the Undertaker in 2017. Corey asks what it’s like to be the one who potentially retired Taker. Roman’s face gets somber and he says it’s funny to see the progression of his emotions as the day goes on. From when he first gets to the stadium before the event, to being out in the ring with him. They never taught Roman how to process retiring the Undertaker. It was emotional to Roman and way more than he expected. It was the aftermath for him, it was heavier than he expected to be. A video package plays showing the ending to the match and Taker putting his gear in the middle of the ring to close out WrestleMania. The next night it seemed to all translate over to the crowd chanting for Taker. For a solid five minutes there was an Undertaker chant, according to Roman. The only other chant before Raw was “Roman Sucks.” The opening of Raw is shown where Roman comes out to a chorus of boos and he simply says “This is my yard now” and drops the microphone.

Corey asks Roman “Point blank, is Roman Reigns WWE’s top guy?” to which Roman says “Of course, everyday of the week.” He is the top of the mountain and if you go back over the last year, he has the best matches. Fans can either look at him and say he’s an idiot, or see that he’s not. Roman didn’t come into WWE for any other reason other than to be the best and have the best matches. His brother once said that in order to be successful in this business you have to put your foot down on people sometimes. He said normally he is a light-hearted person.

What is next for Roman Reigns? Roman is “swimming in the pool he wants to be in,” he’s feeling good, he’s got his family, and has the twins. Roman goes on to explain that it’s crazy to think that a year ago he was being pulled off tour and everyone thought things were going on politically and it was just him having the twins. He’s not like The Miz and announces every little thing going on in his life. Corey and Roman say their goodbyes and Roman says good things happen when you put “The Guy” on “The show.” He makes a cheesy smile and tells the editing team to give his smile a glimmer.

On the next episode we will get one of the most polarizing figures in WWE, Enzo Amore. A quick video package plays of their conversation with Enzo eating an apple and asking Corey Graves if he is mad. Corey said that it was a bit of a low blow to which Enzo replies, “That’s how I won my first title, bro.”

Darling’s Final Thoughts: This is an interesting series to show up on the heels of “WWE 365” just two weeks ago and provides a nice little spot for current stars. The next episode involving Enzo seems like it could be a lot more entertaining if you go off the sneak peak alone. The show did seem to pander a bit to the Roman story we have heard many times before. It seemed to further blur the lines between kayfabe and reality with a lot of what was discussed and how. In a series that is seemingly suppose to be a show to watch and add to the story of WWE, it was weird they talked about retiring Taker and the night after very loosely. When on TV, Roman just portrays a guy who didn’t seem to think twice about that match. It would have been a little different if something like Shawn Michaels super kicking Ric Flair could have been recreated but a little more subtle. Again since this is just a feeling out period for the show it is possible it will have a more concrete structure in future episodes, but for now I am not holding my breath.

NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REVIEW: WWE NETWORK ORIGINAL – “TABLE FOR 3 – RIVALS”: Ric Flair, Sting, Rick Steamboat reminisce about their matches, traveling together

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