Winning the Royal Rumble to earn a WrestleMania main event spot is one to celebrate.
Roman Reigns did just that, even though the crowd thought otherwise.
“To be completely honest, it was confusing,” Reigns said. “The reaction. All you got to do is watch it, and it speaks for itself.”
Fans were cheering Roman Reigns, this strong 6-4, tough, no-nonsense, good looking athlete, but at the Royal Rumble in January, they booed when he won. Futhermore, tweeters erupted on Twitter with their childish ‘#CancelWWENetwork’ rant. Though, those jeers were not directly because Reigns won but rather because WWE underdog poster-boy Daniel Bryan did not.
WWE gave Reigns a chance. WWE fans did not.
“For me, personally, to nail it down — outside of the reaction from the crowd — it was the greatest moment of my life,” Reigns said. “I’m a father to a 7-year old little girl, so the greatest thing I can do is provide a future for her. That was a good moment in that process for me of being a provider. No matter what the reaction was, to be able to do that with my cousin, The Rock Dwayne Johnson, to share that moment and get some awesome advice and some good direction, it was great.”
That moment set a tone.
“It was a groundbreaker for what happened [after] for six, seven, eight months,” Reigns said. “I’m extremely proud of that night. I’m extremely proud of how I responded and turned things around. If I can stay healthy, and God favors me, the sky is the limit.”
WWE and its fans made Reigns defend that spot (the main event of WrestleMania) at the next pay-per-view, Fastlane, against their No.1 son Daniel Bryan. Reigns beat Bryan to still main event WrestleMania 31 in March against the WWE World champ and former UFC champ The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar.
The battle between those two intimidating forces at Mania lived up to the hype.
Was that WrestleMania 31 match with Brock Lesnar the most intense, physical matchup for Reigns?
“One hundred percent,” Reigns answered. “Brock Lesnar is a physical specimen. If you don’t match that intensity, he’s going to walk all over you…I visited Suplex City, and I returned to Pensacola, Florida safe and sound. Everybody’s got to deal with that situation in their own way, and I thought I handled it to the best of my abilities.”
Seth Rollins, who owned the Money in the Bank briefcase, cashed in, after the physical brutality displayed in the physically exhausting Lesnar/Reigns match to become the new WWE World champ.
“Obviously my former brother [Rollins] picked his spot correctly,” Reigns said. “He let the animals take each other out, and then he came out and stole the moment.”
The year prior at WrestleMania 30, Lesnar did something no one else did nor thought possible as he defeated The Undertaker to end the streak. More than a year in the making, the much anticipated rematch occured at SummerSlam on Sunday, Aug. 23 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Prior to SummerSlam, Reigns said: “It’s a different perspective of it coming from me, especially because I faced Brock at the next Mania. So to me it’s kind of weird. If I were to put one word on it — groundbreaking. This is a big draw. This is what it’s all about. These are moments that are only made after a lot of experience and a lot of time has been put in. These two guys have been wrestling for a long time. It’s exciting. This is history in the making.”
Reigns grew up with pro wrestling as his family tree is rooted into the business. His father is WWE Hall of Famer Sika the Wild Samoan. Rosey, Yokozuna, Rikishi, Umaga, The Tonga Kid, and The Rock are also branching on their tree. With that kind of lineage, the 30-year-old Reigns lived pro wrestling his entire life.
“Oddly enough, the Deadman [Undertaker] is a good friend of my family,” Reigns said. “He has a huge love and respect for my family members, and what we’ve done in the business. We’ve always had a great respect for The Undertaker, the Godfather of the business, and if any of us can follow in his footsteps, the business will continue to grow and get better.”
WWE Sunshine State Tour
Get your popcorn and your tickets.
WWE will be in Florida in late August and early September, and some events offer VIP meet-n-greet packages.
Here we go.
Just five days after SummerSlam, WWE visits the Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Pkwy., on Friday, Aug. 28 in Estero/Fort Myers. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. for this house show (no TV).
WWE continues its Florida swing on Saturday, Aug. 29 for a house show at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St., #200, in Orlando. Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
WWE travels to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St., at Florida State University on Sunday, Aug. 30 in Tallahassee. Bell time is 5 p.m.
WWE will also be at the Ocean Center, 101 N. Atlantic Ave., on Sunday, Aug. 30 in Daytona Beach. Bell time is 7 p.m.
WWE Raw is at the Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr., on Monday, Aug. 31 in Tampa. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. with the live television show beginning at 8 p.m. on USA Network.
WWE SmackDown is at the AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd, on Tuesday, Sept. 1 in Miami. Bell time is 7 p.m. The taped SmackDown will be broadcast 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 on Syfy.
Reigns said: “I’m all about Miami. I’m all about Florida. I’m a Florida boy. I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but I’m a beach boy. I’ve spent the majority of my time on the beach. I have a huge respect and a love and a lot of gratitude toward my state. I look forward to any time we can do a loop in Florida. It really brings a huge smile to my face and my heart because it takes me home; it takes me to my family. I get to be with my little girl and my wife, and they get to experience it with me.
“So bring the family out. We’re going to have a great time. There’s nothing like Miami. If you’ve been to Miami, you already know. Come check us out.”