WWE legend The Undertaker recently made headlines when he appeared on Joe Rogan's podcast and made the allegation that current wrestlers are more "soft" than wrestlers of his generation. He mocked today's generation playing video games in the locker room and pined for the days of hard partying on the road that he experienced.
Then, Bill Goldberg followed up on that by agreeing with The Undertaker during a recent interview on WWE's After The Bell podcast hosted by Corey Graves. He alleged that younger wrestlers should grow thicker skin and accept criticism. He also pushed back on resentment that he feels like he gets when he comes back for one or two matches per year, usually in an elevated position on the card.
Enter Roman Reigns. The current WWE Universal Champion was able to stand-up for his generation of performers. In doing so, he seemed to give The Undertaker an out, saying that he respects Undertaker as a "really good guy" and believes that he might have "misspoke." Reigns was harder on Goldberg, though.
"We do the same job," Reigns told the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. "It's not like the bumps got any worse or any better. You're always hearing 'a drop kick was a finish back in my time.' A dropkick is like the second move you see in a wrestling match nowadays. We're doing a lot more. And sometimes I think we're a lot more physical. And because the audience has seen so much more, we have to do a little more in order to peak their interest, in order to show them something different.
"What we call a false finish, a pin that people believe will be the final move of a match, we go through those like Steamboat-Savage. You'll see that on a SmackDown. You'll see 15 false finishes on a SmackDown."
Reigns then went on to throw The Undertaker a life line.
"It's strange. I really feel like he misspoke," Reigns said. "Because Mark is a really good guy. He's very knowledgable. Obviously, he has a ton of respect for the business. Goldberg is just Goldberg. Who cares? But he's talking about guns and knives in the locker room. Come on. You guys travel just like we did. Did you really get that stuff through security? TSA was just letting everything happen back then? I choose to play video games sometimes on my own time. I don't do it at work. As you can see, some of my character is based around it. I've always been one that networked and politicked and tried to communicate and work while I'm at work. Some guys choose to stay in the locker room. And for guys like the New Day who are überly talented, they can get away with that.
"I hope the younger guys in the locker room don't fall into that because we're not all the same. I have to put my whole mind into work as I come to work on a Friday. Sometimes my wife has to tell me to shut it off. She'll be like, 'Stop, be at home, be present.' Because I can't turn it off sometimes and I think to be at the highest level of anything, you have to be borderline obsessive. So, yeah, I don't always think there's room for video games in the locker room, but when we're running our regular touring system and it's a live event and there's nowhere to go, you got kicked out of the hotel because you couldn't get the late check out, you already hit the gym, you already picked up your food and you're sitting in the locker room, I'd rather my guys be playing video games than breaking into a bag of some sort."
Reigns then alluded to some of the issues that the past generation has had in retirement in defending the current generation of wrestlers.
"It's a different time and I think we're smarter," Reigns said. "I think you're gonna see that from the financial side of it, from how we save our money, how we prepare for the future, having a life after the business when we can't fall down anymore to our actual health."
Reigns wasn't the only person recently who spoke out for the current generation of stars. Mick Foley took to social media and said that he believes today's generation are every bit as tough as his generation was.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.