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In an interview hyping this Saturday’s SummerSlam event, Roman Reigns told Ariel Helwani that he believes C.M. Punk “was not good or as over as John Cena, wasn’t as good or as over, didn’t move the needle like The Rock. It’s just what it was.” He added that “as a full-time performer, I understand the frustration.”
Before speaking on Punk, Reigns discussed many topics with Helwani. He first spoke on having the fans back in attendance, saying they’ve been able to maintain that negativity toward his character, but admitted there are those Reigns fans who will support him no matter what. He also said there is that group of naysayers who have grown to respect his performance over the last year.
He added he knew he needed to grow as a character and sharpen his tools, and that he’s “never had more fun” during his career than now. He noted that his “glass half-full” mentality came with his first cancer scare and the relapse several years ago just reinforced that mentality, which has helped him have more fun in professional wrestling.
He deflected Helwani’s question on nepotism, asking if WWE has been so behind him because of his family lineage. Reigns said, “No. I would definitely say- day one, my dad [Sika], he told me, ‘It’s about money. It’s about selling tickets.'” He added if he didn’t have potential or wasn’t equipped with the things he’s learned or been able to showcase that there wouldn’t be that support. He analogized himself to Cena’s long run as the standard and template that he’s working from now.
He spoke on his respect for Cena’s longevity while putting himself over as better skilled than Cena. Unlike Cena, Reigns said he isn’t going to go “down the road” and say WWE is his only home in relation to movies, adding he likes the creative process and that eventually, that day will come.
Regarding his former brethren in The Shield, he noted that Cena’s quip about him “running Dean Ambrose” out of the WWE and “ruining Seth Rollins” was just Cena pandering to the crowd, a professional being a professional. He said he believes “Dean” is happy in AEW, but both “Dean” and Rollins couldn’t be the man in WWE because Reigns is the man in WWE. He noted he has yet to reach out to Ambrose/Jon Moxley to congratulate him and Renee Paquette on the birth of their first child.
When discussing the heel turn, Reigns said if it wasn’t his decision, it wouldn’t have happened, but added Paul Heyman was a big voice in the brainstorming process. He said Heyman was putting “quite a bit of equity on the line” after his run with Brock Lesnar, so the decision to pair them had to be made once the decision to turn heel was finalized. He said he’s thoroughly enjoyed the pairing, and that Heyman “just knows how to make an elite performer feel comfortable in their skin.”
He also discussed the decision to change his entrance music; Big E needing to “take off the training wheels” and go from being “one of the boys” to flying solo, saying Triple H wouldn’t have become Triple H had he stayed in D-Generation X the whole time; his belief that anyone on the roster can “break out,” naming E and Sami Zayn as examples; refusal to reveal if he earns pay-per-view points; his favorite SummerSlam moments; the chances on him vs. Lesnar and him vs. The Rock, saying he’d prefer The Rock because there hasn’t yet been that history; and Heyman siding with him against Lesnar should it happen.
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