Roman Reigns is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in WWE today, but back in 2006, he was rejected by the company. During the latest episode of Grillin’ JR, by way of WrestleZone, Jim Ross explained why the company turned down the chance to sign Reigns.
According to Ross, Reigns had been on their radar ever since he played football for Georgia Tech University. However, the company opted not to offer him a contract at the time as he was too focused on the end zone.
“He had football to get out of his system and I encouraged that, quite frankly. You don’t want somebody to come in and not be sure that they’re at the right place for them. So if he got a chance at football, and he didn’t make it for whatever reason, then he gets it out of his system and then here we go.”
Ross went on to equate the situation to Ken Shamrock, the UFC legend who worked for WWE in the late 1990s. The Hall of Famer claimed that Shamrock still had plans to compete in MMA, even though he was massively popular in sports entertainment.
During the conversation, Ross also talked about Reigns’ body transformation. He was a 300-pound nose guard when they discovered him. Over time, however, he slimmed down and built a physique that’s served him well in the sports entertainment industry.
Reigns eventually found his way to the promotion in 2010, immediately joining the developmental system. He was promoted to the main roster in 2012 as one-third of The Shield, which led to him becoming an instant player in the main event scene.
According to Ross, Reigns’ wrestling family lineage also made him an appealing prospect for WWE. He compared “The Big Dog’s” family to the Harts and other iconic units that have left their mark in the industry.
Ross stated that in-ring competition is in Reigns’ family’s blood, which is why they’ve produced a rich depth of performers. The bloodline includes Dwayne Johnson, Rikishi, The Usos and other notable success stories.
Some of the relatives are also heavily featured on Friday Night SmackDown at the moment. As The Inquistir previously noted, Reigns recently formed an alliance with Jey Uso, even though the latter was forced to join after losing to his cousin.
Jimmy Uso is expected to join when he returns from his injury hiatus, and there are reportedly plans in place to have the group hold most of the championships on the blue brand.