Roman Reigns' new heel persona has quickly become one of the most captivating aspects of WWE programming. The former babyface returned from a months-long absence at SummerSlam, only to align himself with Paul Heyman and cheat to win back the WWE Universal Championship at the Payback pay-per-view. He then decimated his cousin, Jey Uso, in a title match at Sunday's Clash of Champions — refusing to end the match until Jey acknowledged him as "The Tribal Chief." In a new interview on the Load Management podcast, Reigns explained that the persona wasn't inspired by another wrestler, but rather Daniel Day-Lewis' character Billy "The Butcher" Cutting in Martin Scorsese's 2002 film Gangs of New York.
"I can't say that I really built it around anyone within the industry," Reigns said. "If anything, more [from] movies. It's hard because in a weird way, I'm sure you guys have seen Gangs of New York, The Butcher. In his mind, there is a bad element to him. but he's the native, he's the one that's from America. I like those type of characters to where there's a justification, in their own mind at least, to what they're doing.
"For me and the character that I'm trying to portray going forward is not everybody on our roster is going to be able to understand where I'm coming from and the reason that I'm doing it because they're not in the position that I'm in," he continued. "They're not in that boss role, that top-of-the card role, and if they are they haven't been there as long as I have. So of course they're not going to be able to understand. But there are some justifications and a lot of rationalizing that this character is going to go through to convince himself that he's right, even when he is wrong. I'll have conviction going forward."
Check out the full results from Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view in this list below. WWE will return to the WWE Network with another pay-per-view event this coming Sunday in NXT TakeOver 31.
- WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns def. Jey Uso
- WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre def. Randy Orton (Ambulance Match)
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Asuka def. Bayley via DQ
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits def. Andrade & Angel Garza
- United States Championship: Bobby Lashley def. Apollo Crews
- Raw Women's Championship: Asuka def. Zelina Vega
- Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn def. Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles (Ladder Match)
- (Kickoff) SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro def. Lucha House Party