Part of being a top WWE superstar is media appearances and Roman Reigns had a busy day speaking to several people at ESPN earlier this week to promote tonight’s Royal Rumble.
Reigns’ first stop was at ESPN First Take with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman to discuss his current role in professional wrestling. The former three-time WWE champion — who will face Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship tonight — made a bold assertion, referring to himself as one of the industry’s leading faces.
“I love it. I feel like I’m leading the new generation at this point. And that’s what life’s all about, is growing and changing and growing pains,” Reigns said.
“Right now, I like where we’re at. I’m a family man. I have kids. And that’s what we are. We’re a family product. We’re a PG product and that’s our goal. Well, that’s the goal, to put smiles on people’s faces, especially the kids, and to bring families together.”
Later on, Reigns appeared on Face To Face with Hannah Storm to discuss his football background; Reigns spent three years as a defensive tackle at Georgia Tech and enjoyed stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. Reigns also compared both genres and how a football background helped him.
“I don’t know what it’s like to win the SuperBowl but I have a small, small imagination of what it would be like,” Reigns said in reference to performing at Wrestlemania.
But Reigns’ issues winning over a demanding WWE audience has been well documented. Despite his accolades, fans generally receive the Samoan Superman with a mixed reaction with the boo’s usually overpowering the cheers. With that in mind, ESPN decided to help Reigns win over the audience by altering his look and/or character.
SportsCenter handed Reigns pictures depicting numerous changes to his on-screen character and Reigns reacted accordingly.
With the Royal Rumble filled with popular superstars, we pitched Roman Reigns on some ideas that might help get the fans behind him. pic.twitter.com/wj6p0sUzcf
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2017
“I thought I looked pretty cool already but with lightsabers? You can’t beat that,” Reigns said about taking on a Star Wars gimmick. “I like the whole idea of being a Jedi.”
A picture of Reigns holding up sacks of money prompted an honest response.
“I don’t like this, I’m not giving y’all any money. I’ll throw my body around but I’m not giving you any money.”
A photoshopped poster of Everybody Loves Raymond and photoshopped CD cover of Prince’s Purple Reign drew mixed reactions from Reigns. Reigns also admitted that while he loves his fans, the picture of him holding a puppy would result in him taking the puppy home.
All told, Reigns’ assessment of ESPN’s suggestion was that he wouldn’t take any of their ideas but that he’s inspired to watch the new Star Wars film, Rogue One.
It hasn’t been easy for Reigns to consistently win over the fans, especially being booed while he’s trying to portray a babyface (good guy). However, Reigns recently addressed that issue on ESPN’s Cheap Heat podcast, stating that he doesn’t want to turn heel (bad) but continue going with the current response the WWE Universe gives him.
“The one thing I like about my situation and if I think I were to commit to one, ‘I’m a bad guy now, I’m pissed and I’m going to try to take everybody out’, then it’s only one, like, ‘boo’. Do you know what I mean? But when I’m out there, there’s all kinds of noise. All kinds of chants. It’s pandemonium, man. That’s how I like it.”
[Featured Image by WWE]