Roman Reigns talks turning heel, wants a feud with Daniel Bryan

Reigns reveals why he wants to face Daniel Bryan in the ring (4:15)

WWE's Roman Reigns reveals his dream match would be against Daniel Bryan and why he feels he shouldn't necessarily turn heel. (4:15)

LONDON -- Roman Reigns isn't concerned if he gets cheered or booed in whichever continent, country or city the WWE stops next. What matters most is that he garners a reaction.

"That's what I do," Reigns said during a media event ahead of WWE Raw in London, just a small cog in the company's extensive 2018 European tour. "As long as they're showing up and as long as they're making noise, then I've done my job."

Six years after making his WWE debut, Reigns, 33, continues to be pushed as the face of the company. However, following consecutive Universal championship match losses to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and the Greatest Royal Rumble, the man who has been the main event staple on pay-per-views now finds himself in unchartered territory.

On Sunday, he'll face Jinder Mahal, in a match at Money in the Bank. It's a match six weeks in the making and will likely be found midway through the card on Sunday night.

Consider Reigns' achievements during the past six years, though, and it makes the current uncertainty over his direction even stranger. This is a man who matched Hulk Hogan's record of main-eventing four successive WrestleMania's, held the Intercontinental, tag team and U.S. titles and won a Royal Rumble. As one third of The Shield, he formed one of the best factions to come out of the entire PG era and he continues to hold hero status among the WWE Universe's younger demographic.

But when you add Mahal to Lesnar, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, John Cena and The Miz -- all of Reigns' feuds since his historic WrestleMania 33 victory over The Undertaker last year -- it's understandable why some sections of the fan base are getting agitated. With crowd reactions becoming more and more adverse, many fans and past superstars believe Reigns should -- in their eyes -- fully turn heel.

"It's a weird question because aren't I already a heel?" Reigns said. "If I garner that reaction, what's the point? It's already happening. If I'm already being booed, then why try to get booed?

"I have a great opportunity -- because I'm a gray-area guy -- to do a little bit of everything. I'm in a good place to do whatever I want and just play with this character and not just be a heel or a face -- I feel my character can be so much more than that."

This is where the problem lies; as long as Reigns continues to be pushed, his character deserves a rivalry of equal magnitude. The two lopsided defeats to Lesnar, combined with the champion's persistent flirting toward a return to MMA, have completely exhausted their storyline. Similarly, Undertaker's shift to a part-time role would make it difficult for Reigns to reprise their feud with the commitment, stature and glitz it deserves. While Reigns indicated he would love a rematch with him, he talked about the "godfather" with such respect and vigor that anything less than full-throttle would be a travesty.

In an ideal world, Daniel Bryan would be the perfect feud and a potential rivalry between them would provide a desired injection of grandeur to both talent and company. Reigns would love to feud with Bryan, but with both superstars on opposing rosters, it could prove difficult to construct.

"Y'all wanna see me turn heel? Put me in the ring with him," Reigns said. "We can talk about so many different things, about wrestling and the different things that make up the art form and the performance, but when it comes down to it, it's about making people make a lot of noise.

"Obviously with the reactions and the way I stir up the crowd, I think it would make up for a pretty dynamic and electric atmosphere. Bryan is one of the best ever to mix it up in the ring, I have a lot of respect for him. To see someone like him on top and have it all taken away so fast, it's very scary."

That honesty and acceptance in not knowing what lies around the corner is why Reigns shows great humility and patience when it comes to his role. He understands the WWE's desire for workhorse stars -- athletes who will "pull the wagon" every night -- and that he might not be everyone's preferred flavor. He knows the WWE's biggest selling point is variety and catering for all tastes and ages, which is why he takes so much pride in his work.

His attitude and commitment to developing both himself and the talent around him is contagious. Take Strowman, for instance. Once the rose bud of the company, he came out of a feud with Reigns in a completely different light.

"My hat goes off to him because he trusted me," Reigns said. "He trusted the experience and the performer that I am. I thought we were able to make magic. I thought we were able to make a big star."

It's an outlook that Reigns extends to his biggest constant entwined both in and outside of the ring: family. His father and brother were professional wrestlers, he is cousin to Yokozuna, Rikishi and Umaga and is a first cousin once-removed to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and current superstars The Usos, who are now reaping the rewards of their spectacular heel turn in 2016.


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"They were tired of everything. They were ready for a change, they wanted more responsibility, and they wanted a bigger role," Reigns said. "What you've seen over the past few years, I've been seeing all my life. They really do have each other's back in every regard.

"I'm super proud of them. I'm excited to not only see where they go, but also where I go -- you never know. The story's there, it's easy. We all represent the same bloodline, we all represent the same family. It'd be pretty cool if, maybe one day, there was a Samoan 'Shield.'"

Persona aside, Leati Joseph Anoa'i stands equally as proud. He is a passionate family man who possesses bags of charisma and who, like everyone else, faced difficult adversities in his past. Having to make ends meet and provide for a young family after his football career came to an abrupt end -- Anoa'i dedicated 15 years to the sport -- helped harvest an already humble outlook. Now, with the addition of troublesome twin boys, family means everything.

"I love performing, I love WWE, I love my fans and I love going out to the ring and doing what we do," he said. "But I will not lose my family for it. Ever, for anybody."