Ever since Roman Reigns returned at SummerSlam 2020 and turned heel, he has unquestionably been one of WWE's most captivating personalities. "The Tribal Chief" seems to be abundantly aware of this fact, going so far as to boast in an interview with CBS Sports this week that he carried the WWE over the past year while it was stuck inside the WWE ThunderDome while the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the company from touring in front of live crowds.
The reigning Universal Champion said (somewhat in-character), "The live crowd has always enhanced my presentation. My reactions have always been, if not the very best, certainly up there with the very best. I've now showcased the layers as a performer to be able to do it without a live audience. I've had a strong hold on SmackDown and SmackDown being the very best portion of WWE. It's shown me as the number one guy.
"That's my legacy coming out of the ThunderDome," he continued. " Hands down, without question, it can be debated for great content on social media and WWE.com to put these polls and try to make an argument. But there's no argument. There's been nobody to ever carry the WWE product like I have over the past year and I stand on that. You can throw anybody out. We can try and be nice and say, 'Oh, Bayley! She just got hurt. She was the best.' Come on, let's not lie to ourselves. The Tribal Chief has carried the WWE for well over a year now and there's no denying it."
Reigns also talked about things having to change now that WWE is going back on the road starting with tonight's Friday Night SmackDown. That includes Reigns shouting at both himself and opponents during matches, something that has become a staple of his character since winning the Universal title again.
"I don't think I can just be stuck in any mindset or any pattern," Reigns said. "Like anything, there's some greatness to being able to evolve and to change. Sometimes there's some growing pains that come with that mindset that you have to get through to find that promised land. For me, I don't think it's something I have to stay concrete with. There's some things I'd like to keep in mind and some of these tools, the ThunderDome was a challenge and you had to show different layers and you had to source different tools and sharpen those tools and work on different parts of the craft. There's a lot of positive things we can carry forward to a live crowd and there's other things we have to adjust and evolve in real time week-to-week.
"Things like the dialogue in-ring, with a live crowd is going to be different, but is also something that can be enhanced," he added. "There's different things, such as chants, that can happen within the moment and that's something I'll be able to use to my benefit and use as an interaction tool. The tech is still the same, there's ring mics and the cameras have microphones that can be turned up to pick up the dialogue for the fans at home. At the same time, we want to enhance that live experience and showcase that to people watching at home to influence them to want to come to the actual show. It's something you have to keep in mind but I don't think there are any negatives. It's nothing but positives."