Vince McMahon’s retirement from WWE on 22 July left many shocked, Roman Reigns included – but not everyone can claim to have received a personal message from McMahon in the moment!
Friday, 22 July marked the end of an era, as Vince McMahon announced he was stepping away from his executive WWE duties. Though many believed his retirement was needed, it remained a surprising development that was believed to still be years away from happening.
Roman Reigns, a pet project of Vince’s since 2014, addressed his departure and the current controversy surrounding him in an appearance on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. ‘The Head of the Table’ revealed a private message sent to him by the McMahon matriarch, in addition to the general talent relations text that was sent out:
“You know, it was just hard to believe because I think, along with anyone who’s followed this business or been in this business, Vince is gonna be running this. I’m going to be long gone and I’ll be 20 years retired and Vince is still running the show. So I think that was just, ‘Okay, we’ll see in six months or something like that’, was kind of the mindset that I initially took. Then we received the talent relations text message, and then obviously a personal message from him and we talked a little bit.”
Roman Reigns has been the face of WWE since late 2014, effectively replacing John Cena as the next big thing in Vince McMahon’s eyes. This, however, didn’t click as well as he’d hoped, with Roman being deemed the Most Hated Wrestler of 2016 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
It wasn’t until ‘The Big Dog’ became ‘The Tribal Chief’ in 2020 that Roman Reigns became a well-liked WWE Superstar, which, ironically, has seen him portray a heel character. During this role, he’s held the Universal Championship since August 2020 and added the WWE Championship this past April, making him an overall six-time WWE World Champion.
Reigns’ next scheduled defence will see him defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Drew McIntyre on Saturday, 3 September at the much-anticipated Clash At The Castle event.