WWE has a need for something new, which is why the company is pushing some of their top young stars and all are becoming major names in the company. They want them to be part of the success of the WWE for years to come. The Shield happened to have three men that were not only at the highest point in their career thus far, but they were seemingly beloved by all of the WWE Universe. They were so over that anything they did was gold. All stood out, but clearly one man had the tap of golden nobility above the others. His name: Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns is the son of Afa of the Wild Samoans, a WWE Hall of Fame group. He is cousins with the entire Samoan heritage in the WWE, meaning he is related to people like Rikishi, Umaga, and The Rock. Having such a family linage in WWE makes him come across as a guy who was built from the ground up to become a WWE Superstar. He’s one of the best to ever step foot in the WWE.
Meanwhile, you have someone that he is closely related to bypassing the character. The Undertaker has been a force in WWE for quite some time. He was part of the golden age of the Attitude Era and one of the key members for WWE at the time. While he did not have wrestling in his blood, he loved the performance and all that came with it. He claims that if MMA would have been as popular as wrestling was when he was coming up, he may have done that instead. However, most do not see that, as The Undertaker was meant for the WWE and wrestling in general.
Roman Reigns could be this generation’s version of The Undertaker. Some will harp on how they are two different characters, which is correct. I am not talking about that sort of thing, however. Rather, I am speaking of what Reigns brings to the table which is similar to what The Undertaker brought in his generation at the same level Reigns is at currently. They are more alike than we really think. Here is how.
The Undertaker came up playing sports and was not bad. The thing is, when you’re a big guy in high school and other areas, you get noticed and obviously end up being asked by a coach to play if you didn’t already have interest in doing so. Being near 7 foot tall, he played basketball in high school and even played college basketball at Texas Wesleyan University. He first wrestled in random places before ending up in WCW in 1989 as Mean Mark Callous.
He was barely with WCW for a year before being contacted by WWE and Vince McMahon himself. The WWE went with a unique direction at the time that allowed for The Undertaker character to be born. WWE was using a lot of random, comic book-type characters at the time. Undertaker fit as a character because it was clearly in touch with the time, but it could also be messed with a bit to become even bigger than it was. So in 1990, Undertaker was born, coming in as a silent big man that was the muscle for Ted DiBiase as part of his Million Dollar Team at Survivor Series in 1990. At the time, he was debuted as Cain The Undertaker, but the Cain part was dropped to make him simply he Undertaker.
Cain would later be used as name the WWE gave Kane, a rival for The Undertaker down the line. Undertaker was seen as a company guy for the most of his career. A lot of the major names were either fired, leaving, or retiring from full-time work with WWE. That meant the younger guys had to carry the WWE. That made The Undertaker step up not just on TV, but in the locker room as well. He had respect that no one else could demand, and even those older than him respected his leadership. He made sure that when business needed to be taken, it was taken. This made even Vince McMahon respect him as the leader of the WWE along with him. It was McMahon #1 and Taker #2; Taker had a say in a lot of ideas because of how well Vince knew he could do business and help others understand the reasons when Vince could not get things across.
No one was going to mess with a 7 foot, 300 pound monster, and those who tried found out why. On top of that, he had respect, which meant others would back him up. He showed himself as a force in WWE and was popular due to the matches he could have at such a big size. He was about the moment and the performance. WWE loved that about him, and so did the fans. He had respect with fans as well, which was amazing to see. He captures your attention, and doesn’t have to speak much to do it. For most of his early career, he had a manager named Paul Bearer. Eventually he would part from Paul, but would go on to have a very successful WWE career. The performance was all he needed to bring, and the badass that he was made him over, and he stayed there due to it.
Now that The Undertaker is out of the locker room 95 percent of the time, others leaders have risen such as John Cena. However, like in Undertaker’s period, most of the top guys were there originally. After a couple years though, it was only the younger guys really with very few veterans. The same is happening now, many vets are leaving or are close, cannot be leaders, or need a lighter schedule. Reigns has stepped up in many ways backstage.
Reigns played football in high school and was eventually a stand-out defensive player for the ACC’s Georgia Tech. He tried playing professionally, then ended up in Canada playing for the CFL. It didn’t work out, and Reigns wasn’t having fun. So he finally decided to give in and join the family business if you will, something he always loved but never thought he would do originally. When he arrived, he had everything WWE wanted: size, lineage, look, etc. He picked up the wrestling part well, but his mic work left a bit to be desired. The WWE was able to mask that when he joined The Shield as he’d simply say a few words, which allowed his character to come off as badass.
Roman Reigns is all about the performance and doesn’t have to talk to show you anything. In fact, most love it when he says little and just kicks butt. It makes him come off far better and it shows how awesome his character is. Basically, Reigns is The Undertaker of his day because of how he can do this better than any other. Some say Bray Wyatt is the next Undertaker. In some areas, yes. Character wise, potentially. He does not bring what Reigns does, and is mainly a version of something different.
Another thing Reigns has on his side is that he is 2-0 at WrestleMania. Meaning, a new streak could start for his singles career next year. We may never see a streak like Taker’s duplicated, but something of a new streak would be fun to see for fans. WWE sees Reigns as the next top guy, which is something Undertaker served as for a period. Undertaker had a successful stable during his high run, where as Reigns came in with one and was part of it, not it’s leader. WWE sees the skills that Reigns brings to the table, and knows that this business seems to be inside him more than any other currently on the main roster.
Reigns is not the best wrestler in WWE or the most athletically gifted. However, his performance skill, look, and abilities make him a key part of the main roster and easily someone we can compare to The Undertaker in his time at this exact period in his career. I do not foresee Reigns wearing a trench coat and coming down the isle with the slowest walk of all time and music that sounds as if someone died. I do see him getting more and more locker room respect and serving as the next generation’s version of an Undertaker figure. Every generation needs that type of character that is so dynamic both in and out of the ring that he draws you in. Undertaker had this in WWE, and Reigns does now. We will see what the future holds however.
[IMG Credits: Google]