Now that he’s become the number one contender to the WWE Universal Championship, Jey Uso has found himself in a gratifying role between his career, and his personal life. In his interview on WWE’s The Bump, Jey says that even though his main priority is helping his son out in school, he’s also splitting his time preparing for his big match against his cousin, Roman Reigns, at Clash Of Champions on Sunday. He even adds that his son is rooting for his uncle to retain his dominant reign as champion.
“Oh man, it ain’t’ nothing new,” Uso chuckled. “You know, I have to put one hat on, and take the other hat off. I’m an art teacher/P.E. teacher. You know, if I brought [my son] over here, he’s going to say that he’s picking his uncle for Sunday.”
Coming from the Anoa’i bloodline, Jey is no stranger to Reigns’ new advocate, Paul Heyman. In fact, Heyman, once upon a time ago, managed Jey’s father, Rikishi, while he was part of the Samoan Swat Team. In his own words, Jey explains what kind of relationship he has with the “Special Counsel” then, and now.
“Yeah, man, I was chopping it up with Paul, you know, real talk, backstage stuff, man. And he was telling me, the first time he met me and my brother, we were four years old at this time,” he recalled.
“Yeah, personally, I have a friendship with Paul now, but as a young boy, back at that time, no because my dad and Paul and them, they were on the road months at a time, two-three months at a time, so it was always when Pops is coming off the road, we would be quiet the first day and let him sleep. And then the next day, we turning up.”
Even though Heyman has a very close relationship with his family, Jey is not too keen on seeing him weasel his way into his cousin’s comeback story.
“Hey, when Uce came back with Paul Heyman, I was like, ‘Whatchu doing, bro?’ Like, what, for real? You can stand on your own two feet, Uce. You don’t need this leach with you, you don’t need this parasite. You’re Roman Reigns and now you’re coming out of left field,” he shouted. “Bro, you were doing good all on your own, but now it takes family to set you straight.”
This past Friday on SmackDown, Heyman broadcasted a mini-documentary narrating the history between Jey and Reigns. At one point, Heyman brought up the fact that The Usos and Reigns’ relationship is much more than just being first cousins. Instead, their relationship is closer to what some might call an immediate brotherhood. Jey can attest that their bond is more like a brotherhood than anything. In fact, he recalls how their interactions were growing up, by telling a story of how he and Reigns use to play fight when they were kids.
“It was crazy,” he laughed. “One time, no lie, I fought Roman and Jimmy at the same time in my front yard. They slammed my ass a little too hard. I had a rattail back in the day, and he always clinched on to that real hard. As soon as they got ahold of my rat tail, I was done.”
In four days, Jey’s fate could change drastically if he can dethrone Reigns’ legacy. But for now, he wants to take it all in on how he got to where he is now, especially since it’s taken him almost 11 years to achieve this career-defining moment as a singles competitor.
“Man it’s about to be Sunday, man. Like I said, these last four or three weeks have been crazy. Right now, I’m in the number one spot for the Universal Championship, the most prestigious title in our business right now, and my cousin’s holding it. And I’m very humbled and I’m proud,” he exclaimed. “This is Josh talking man, we get to go out there, we took it from the backyard, from the pool to the field, now we get to do it in front of millions, in a WWE ring to get paid. We used to do this for free. Now, I’m about to take the biggest payday of my career.
“For me, it’s very emotional and I’m just proud because I remember where he started from, when he first came here, how we had to scramble money just to get him to Tampa, how I got evicted on my first apartment trying to hustle. And now we about to go head to head, superkick vs. Superman Punch, cousin vs cousin, family vs family. It’s Reigns vs Uso.”
As a tag team competitor, Jey and his brother Jimmy, have solidified their careers as tag team champions. If he becomes the new champion, Jey wants him and his brother – once he returns from injury – to work towards becoming the seven-time WWE Tag Team Champions. He doesn’t believe his current singles run will drive a wedge between his tag team accolades and future accomplishments.
“Man, you just made me smile thinking about that. We’re always hustling for the tag titles,” he informed. “When people start asking me what I’m going to do as the new Universal Champion, I’ll be like, ‘man, who are you talking too? Oh, it’s me!’ I’m gonna go get that Universal Champion, and then, I’m going to turn right around and my brother and I are going to get that seven-time tag team championship. How come we can’t be the tag team and Universal Champion?”
Before their big matchup on Sunday at Clash Of Champions, WWE will debut WWE Chronicle: Jey Uso on the WWE Network. In this documentary, fans will get a behind the scenes look at Jey’s rise towards becoming the number one contender to the Universal Championship, and how his life has changed because of this. His documentary will premiere this Saturday at 10 AM EST.
You can watch Jey Uso’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.