Many years before Roman Reigns ever made his way to the WWE, his brother was wrestling for the company in a couple of high-profile gimmicks. That gives Matthew Anoa’i a nice outlook on what it takes to be a WWE superstar. In an interview with Wrestling Inc., Anoa’i said that he feels that his brother, Roman Reigns, should be a heel in the WWE.
From 2002-2003, Matthew Anoa’i wrestled in the tag team 3-Minute Warning with Umaga, and then from 2003-2006, he worked as the superhero Rosey alongside Shane “Hurricane” Helms. With 3-Minute Warning, Anoa’i worked as a heel and with Hurricane Helms, he was mostly a face.
When it comes to Roman Reigns’ career at this point, Anoa’i made it clear what he thinks would be most interesting.
“Me personally, I’d love to see him be a heel, but that’s just me.”
Roman Reigns’ family has a long and storied history in the WWE. He and Rosey are the sons of Sika, one-half of the Wild Samoans tag team with his brother Afa. They were mostly heels in the WWE as well as Mid South Wrestling from 1979 to 1994. They held the Mid South tag team titles three times and the WWE tag team titles three times. In all, the tag team enjoyed 18 different tag team title reigns over their careers and entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. It was almost always as heels.
Roman Reigns’ uncle Afa had five children with Samu, Manu, and L.A. Smooth as wrestling sons and Lance Anoa’i as a wrestling grandson. While Manu had a chance in the WWE as part of Legacy with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr., he didn’t last very long. However, Samu enjoyed a similar success as his father. Samu teamed up with his cousin Fatu to form the Samoan Swat Team in the NWA, renamed the Headshrinkers in the WWE. He was a seven-time tag team champion with Fatu, two of them in the WWE. He was a villain most of his career.
Fatu is Roman Reigns’ cousin and when he finished his tag team as the Samoan Swat Team and Headshrinkers, he became best known as Rikishi and was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. Of course, everyone knows that Rikishi is the father of The Usos, another popular tag team that is enjoying a resurgence as villains in the WWE now. In an interview with Fox Sports last year, Rikishi basically said the same thing that Rosey just said — he wants to see Roman Reigns turn heel.
“To me, you don’t want to go against the WWE Universe. You never want to do that. To me, what works is to go with the flow. If you hate me so much like that, had it been me, I’d tell Vince, switch me heel right now. Let’s give it to these people. I’d be the baddest frickin’ heel that they’d ever see.”
Of course, if you want to see a perfect example of what a heel turn might do for Roman Reigns, look at another cousin — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When The Rock debuted in 1996, he was labeled as a blue chip athlete and was sent out as the ultimate plucky babyface. Just like with Roman Reigns, the fans wanted nothing to do with being told who they should cheer for, so they all started booing The Rock. They even started chanting “Die Rocky Die.”
The WWE listened and turned The Rock heel, putting him with the villain stable The Nation of Domination and had him refer to himself in the third person with complete arrogance. The role fit The Rock like a glove and when he finally turned face, he was the biggest face in the company outside Stone Cold Steve Austin.
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While Roman Reigns did not come to the WWE as a face, the fans fell in love with The Shield despite their evil ways. They cheered them more and more. However, when The Shield broke up, the fans didn’t want to see Roman Reigns suddenly become a babyface and have resisted it. As far as two of his cousins believe, the best thing for Roman Reigns is a heel turn. If it works out like his third cousin, it could be a perfect move.
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