Roman Reigns and John Cena will clash in the main event of SummerSlam this coming Saturday. But, as some fans will likely remember, this isn't the first time the 16-time world champion and "The Tribal Chief" crossed paths. The two first feuded back in 2017 when Reigns was still be positioned as the company's top babyface, though Cena ridiculed him at the time for struggling in the role and not be accepted by fans. Reigns admitted in a new interview with The New York Post this week that, at the time, he was still trying to grasp the character WWE wanted him to portray.
"[I] was still trying to figure that stuff out, still living under the label of what WWE wanted me to be," Reigns said. "And now with me turning that completely upside down, and doing what I feel is right and doing what I want to do, and what makes sense to me and what's logical to me and showcasing the layers of the personality that I want to display."
Reigns also talked about how he's changed the interpretation of what it means to be the "top guy" in WWE compared to how Cena handled the same role.
"I think I've absolutely changed up the dynamic of the top guy," Reigns said. "Being the face of WWE, and the way I've displayed it and the way that we've betrayed it. As opposed to lying about it and being this superman, bulletproof character who's got these flamboyant colors on. And come running out to the ring [and] everything's happy go lucky and saying a whole bunch of stuff with this loud charisma that doesn't really make that much sense, but sounded good because he had great energy. I did it differently and I made it very real and authentic. I've showcased the burden of what it's truly like to be the face of a billion-dollar company."
In a separate interview with the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Reigns confirmed that he hasn't been scripted since returning from hiatus at SummerSlam last year.
"You know there was a portion of my career where I'd either read a script or I would try to adjust the script as much as possible," Reigns said. "But, you know, for a while now, especially since I've come back from my little leave during the beginning of the pandemic since SummerSlam, I'm not scripted. I say what I want to, I say what I feel. And if it comes out of my mouth, it's my verbiage. I come up with it, I deliver it and that's why it's been the way it's been because it's mine."