Paul Heyman has spoken out on his belief that Roman Reigns could not have pulled off his current ‘Tribal Chief’ gimmick last year or any time before his return at WWE SummerSlam 2020.
Despite the call of the fans for WWE to turn Roman heel before now, the company have always resisted the urge for one reason or another. According to Paul Heyman, not pulling the trigger was the correct thing to do prior to 2020.
Appearing as a guest on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Heyman answered the question of why it has taken so long to get this version of Roman Reigns:
“I wanted it to happen for a long time, Roman Reigns wanted it to happen for a long time, Vince McMahon wanted it to happen for a long time, but the timing was never right. Roman Reigns could not pull off this portrayal of the top star in the industry, even a year ago. He wasn’t weather or seasoned or experienced enough. He still worked too young. Now, you look at his face and see some seasoning and weathering. He was beating the crap out of his cousin inside Hell in a Cell and he says, ‘I did this to you when we were kids and here we are 35 years old doing this.’ He looks 35. He looks like a badass 35, but he looks 35. Before, he looked late 20s, early 30s and he was still too young. He wasn’t grizzled and didn’t have any scars. Now, you see the wars on his face. You see the pressure and obligation and responsibility and accountability and the sheer burden. That’s the core word when it comes to being the top star in WWE. The burden and the weight and what it’s done to Roman Reigns. Four WrestleMania main events, it would have been five if he appeared this year. It will be five when he appears at next year’s WrestleMania.”
Roman Reigns has arguably been doing his best ever work as WWE Universal Champion and ‘The Tribal Chief’ since his return to the company this summer and his partnership with Paul Heyman has revolutionised his character and career.
Now the feud with cousin Jey is over after the Uso brother bowed down to ‘The Head of the Table’ on last Friday’s SmackDown, Reigns will set his sights on WWE Champion Randy Orton at Survivor Series on November 22 which is sure to be a thrilling, if slightly brutal, encounter.
Credit for the interview: Sports Illustrated Media Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Fightful