John Cena has long been the most polarizing wrestler in WWE, but Roman Reigns has given him a run for his money in 2015. At WrestleMania 30 as a member of The Shield, Reigns was emerging as a top babyface and seemed poised to become the company’s next big star. Heading into his WrestleMania 31 match with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the majority of the crowd might be rooting for the heel.
Reigns was showered with boos when he was the last man standing in this year’s Royal Rumble, but a large portion of the fanbase still supports him. For months, he seemed well on his way to winning the title at Sunday’s pay-per-view. But the crowd reaction, along with the recent news that Brock Lesnar has signed a new contract with WWE, has made the main event of WrestleMania 31 anything but predictable.
Reigns spoke to International Business Times, promoting Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, which is offering fans a chance to win $50,000. The WWE superstar discussed how the fans have reacted to his recent push, his upcoming match with Lesnar and Lesnar’s decision to stay with WWE.
After your match with The Shield at WrestleMania 30 did you think you’d be fighting for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just a year later?
At that time I didn’t. I didn’t know we were breaking up. It was as much of a shock to me as anybody else. But that’s the thing with WWE. You have to be on your toes. There’s going to be all kinds of things thrown at you. All kinds of opportunities pop up and I’m living proof of that. I’m doing pretty good for myself and I’m very proud and very humbled at where I’m at and I’m extremely blessed.
Were you surprised at the reaction you received when you won the Royal Rumble?
It was one of those things that with social media and all the different outlets that we have I was aware. I’ve seen the posts and things like that. But you can’t really prepare yourself for a moment like winning the Royal Rumble match. That’s such an incredible feeling and opportunity. So you want everything to be positive and you want it to be one of those moments that are just like a fairytale that you never thought would happen. But it is what it is and that was the moment and that’s how it went down. And I would never change it because it’s my moment. That’s going to be a big part of my life, and it was a huge opportunity and a great stepping stone for me, and I’m here today so I can’t complain.
How did you react when you heard Brock Lesnar re-signed with WWE?
For me, it wasn’t a big shock. It wasn’t anything I wasn’t prepared for. It’s the same preparation, same mindset for me. Sunday I’m coming to take what’s his. To be the man you got to beat the man. We’ve all heard that saying before, and that’s how I feel. I think it’s a great opportunity, not only for Brock and his family, but for the WWE and WWE Universe to have such a great competitor, such a great performer like Brock. It really boosts our roster up, and I’m proud that he’s going to be a part of the future. And when I beat him this Sunday he’ll have plenty of opportunities to try to get that title back.
How disappointing will it be if you don’t win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31?
It would be devastating, it really would. I’ve prepared and I’ve put so much hard work and focus and time into this and molded my whole life. Everything about me is favored towards wrestling. I’m a family man. I have a daughter and a wife, and I spend more time on the road with my wrestling family than I do with my actual household and my immediate family. So for me I put every ounce of focus, of my heart and my soul into this. So to not be able to seal the deal in the main event of WrestleMania, I don’t think there’s any way to prepare for that and that’s why I have to stay focused and stay positive and believe in myself, and that’s what I’m doing.
What has it been like working with Paul Heyman?
Paul Heyman has known my family from before I was even born. He’s seen me as a little guy, he’s seen me as a medium guy and now he’s seen me full-grown and competing on the same level. That’s the awesome thing about WWE is these interactions, these relationships, these opportunities and to be able to learn from a guy like Paul who’s seen everything.