Since returning from his hiatus last August (due to COVID-19 concerns), Roman Reigns has put together a run that has a lot of fans asking where this version of “The Big Dog” has been.
While Reigns was never a terrible performer by any means, fans could often sense a lack of authenticity when it came to his promos — likely a result of him reciting overly-scripted, brand-conscious dialogue — and it contributed greatly to him struggling to get cheered as WWE’s lead babyface.
Now entrenched on SmackDown as the brand’s featured heel, Reigns has found what seemed to be missing for so long. His on-screen “special counsel”, Paul Heyman, shares the same opinion.
Paul Heyman on what has changed for Roman Reigns during this most recent run.
Speaking with Esquire Middle East, Heyman said this about Reigns’ evolution from a physical and mental standpoint (h/t to Fighful’s Gisberto Guzzo for the transcription):
“Roman Reigns is a subject and a category all unto himself. Roman Reigns had to main event for nine years, had to main event WrestleMania multiple times, consecutively, in order to find the best presentation of Roman Reigns. And he also needed some seasoning. He needed some age in his face. Roman Reigns could not have pulled off this presentation even two years ago, he wasn’t ready for it. He didn’t look the role. He was still—he still looked too young.
“Now, when you look in his face, you can see some of the wars that he’s been through. You can see the years of main eventing have presented a burden to the man behind the persona, that he has to carry not only his family, but as the top star in sports entertainment. He has to carry WWE, and indeed he has to carry the entire industry in terms of public perception. And you get to see that in his face now. And you couldn’t see that in his face, even if it was true, just a couple of years ago.
“So what allows Roman Reigns to resonate today? The reason why the connection to the audience and with the audience is so strong is because you’re seeing how this man actually feels. And he looks at the part when he says these words. He could have said these words with the same delivery and the same greatness two years ago, but it wouldn’t hit home as much because now he truly looks the part as well.”
Reigns returned following the conclusion of the Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt match at SummerSlam 2020, attacking both men with a steel chair. He won the Universal Championship a week later at Payback 2020 in a triple threat match against Strowman and Wyatt and has held the belt ever since.
He will next defend his championship against Daniel Bryan at Fastlane and if he wins that match, he will face 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble winner Edge at WrestleMania 37.
You can read the rest of the interview by clicking this link.