If you take one look at Roman Reigns, it’s pretty easy to tell where he comes from. Reigns certainly hasn’t tried to hide the fact that he comes from a long line of Samoan wrestlers — having recently spoken in-ring about his wrestling family (including Uncle Rikishi and his cousins, the Usos) — and that he’s very proud of his Samoan roots. So why exactly were Vince McMahon and Triple H trying to hide Reigns’ heritage shortly after The Shield was formed in WWE?
Ex-WWE writer Kevin Eck posted a blog on SportsBlog.com where he talked about an angle he pitched for The Shield shortly after they debuted, which was shot down by Triple H and Vince McMahon.
The angle involved Rikishi, who is Roman Reigns’ uncle, returning to the ring with his sons, Jimmy and Jey, the Usos, and the three of them would be attacked by The Shield, and the highlight of the attack would be Rikishi getting triple power-bombed through the announce table.
After the attack, it would be revealed that Rikishi was Reigns’ uncle, and the Usos were Reigns’ cousins, and that, in recent years, Reigns had become estranged from the family because he fell into the wrong crowd, and made some bad decisions. But, both Vince McMahon and Triple H weren’t fans of the idea.
According to Eck, the angle was shot down because Vince McMahon and Triple H felt that if they revealed Reigns’ ethnicity, it would hurt his career and his mystique. McMahon believed at the time that the WWE audience had a preconceived notion of what a Samoan wrestler was, and that acknowledging Reigns’ family history would pigeonhole him into being “a guy in a grass skirt who wears a puka shell necklace.”
“Vince [McMahon] and Triple H were in agreement that we absolutely should not acknowledge that Reigns is Samoan. Their belief was that it would pigeonhole him and damage his mystique. The inference was that the audience had a preconceived notion of what a Samoan wrestler is. You know, a guy in a grass skirt who wears a puka shell necklace.”
Roman Reigns’ ethnicity hasn’t, and probably won’t ever hurt his mystique. In fact, it’s been WWE’s booking of Reigns since WrestleMania 31, not his Samoan lineage, that has hurt his mystique.
WWE wanting to hide Reigns’ family history with wrestling is a bit puzzling, especially because there have been plenty of Samoan wrestlers, with The Rock being the most famous one by far, who weren’t pigeonholed into being a guy in a grass skirt.
[Image via Jason Merritt / Getty Images]