Corey Graves had on WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns on the WWE After The Bell podcast where Reigns opened up about his return to SummerSlam as well as the difficult decision to miss out on WrestleMania this year. Reigns also opened up about the grind it takes to be the top star in WWE.
“It’s everyday. All day long,” Reigns pointed out. “You don’t turn it off. You’re that guy every single day and it has to be that way, and everybody wants to be on top. Everybody wants that push. ‘Man, if they just pushed me, if this this and that,’ but when the work comes, they start b–ching and moaning about it. They start complaining, and it’s like, you said you wanted to be the guy but you don’t want to work on Tuesday, Wednesday [and] Thursday. You don’t want to work on the Saturday. You don’t want a double shot. You don’t want to do the media before and after the show. You don’t want to have to catch the flight all the way across the country to do the hit for ESPN.
“There’s a lot of different things that keep you away from home that make this a 24/7, 365 days a year job. It’s not even a job. It’s like a life. You become it. You are it, and it’s not something you can just put off to the side for a while and be like, I want to be normal for a little bit. I don’t think everybody, as far as talent, understands that, and whenever they do get a bit of a taste of it, it’s shocking. I’ve seen some of the boys go from, ‘man, I want to be pushed. I want to be the guy I want to have the responsibility’ to being in the locker room like, ‘I think I kind of like it right here doing what I’m doing, be on TV this one week, make a good living [and] be with my family for the rest of the week.
“But they don’t want to be in a situation, and not all of them, I’m not saying that this is everybody, that’s what makes our locker room special as we do have a lot of hungry performers, but it’s very rare for someone to taste the idea of doing everything, being on every single show, being dead tired all the time and enjoying it and being willing to do it year in and year out. It’s one thing to do it for a year or two, but when you’ve done it for like six or seven, that’s when you are it. You don’t got it. You are it.”
Reigns recalled the night Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31 to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He remembers Rollins having to fly to New York the next morning for interviews and continues about the sacrifices that Superstars need to take.
“That was Dallas. I got lucky that year,” Reigns recalled. “It was like a bitter-sweet situation because Seth, he cashed in so someone who does understand the landscape. He does understand the very tippy top of the mountain. He’s the one who had to jump on the flight to New York and do the morning show and then come right back, and I remember when I saw him, I want to say we were at the SAP Center in San Jose, he looked dead tired.
“And in my head, I was like, ‘phew. I feel like you look right now because I just wrestled Brock the night before. That match was brutal.’ So that’s the thing, even if you don’t have to go and do the the flight and go do Good Morning America, The Today Show or whatever, it may be the next morning it doesn’t matter. You’re making the sacrifice. You’re having the Super Bowl moment and you want to party like you’re 21. You want to go hard. You want to just rage essentially and just have a great time with the people that you just cashed this huge check for, but you can’t because it just starts over.
“It’s not like, I might have the day off. Hell no. You’re going to be the main event. You’re going to be the front and center of the show of Monday Night RAW. You’re going to have to go out there most likely Seg 1 and deal with the most hostile crowd of all time, but it doesn’t turn off. It’s just you have this huge kind of cool moment, the best moment of your life, outside of having children, and there’s no time to celebrate it. It’s literally right back to it. No offseason.”
Reigns said that consistency is key to maintain staying power at the top of WWE. He also noted that while putting in a good performance on camera is important, there are many other outside factors that are important as well.
“It’s consistency man. I mean, there’s a lot of different things that create the algorithm,” Reigns noted. “There’s like different pillars, but really, it’s you gotta hold onto the ball man. When they tell you that that analogy of ‘don’t drop the ball’, you got to take it and really run with the ball, and it’s got a show in every way. It’s got to show, obviously, through the performance. It’s got to show backstage with how you handle it, how you handle working your way up, how you treat people and then, I think huge one, it’s a popularity contest.
“So the numbers have to back it up. The numbers have to be behind you. You have to be able to draw that attention. You got to be a ‘like machine’. They got to be hitting that button on the internet. There’s a lot of things, especially nowadays, where the top executives, they’re all looking at these spreadsheets of this this and that, social media likes and how much attention this is getting, how many views [and] all of this stuff.
“But at the same, when it’s about the numbers, it’s got to be that substance behind it when it’s you on camera, when it’s all on you, when we put all our resources and we spend all that money for those seconds of time to broadcast you whether it’s FOX or USA, it has to be there. That ‘it’ has to be there, and it can’t just be the one night.
Graves had brought up Braun Strowman as an example of someone that has built themselves up. However, Reigns noted that doing it for a short amount of time is one thing. It’s doing it for an extended period of time that separates one Superstar from the other. Reigns then talked about the new level that he is on after his consistent run over the past couple of years.
“I love him to death. Braun, he was at top for a little while, but in order to really prove yourself, you got to do it over and over and over and main event main event main event,” Reigns explained. “I mean 20-30 PPVs, you got to show not just our locker room, but the whole world that you can do this, you can be trusted with that amount of time, that amount of investment year after year, and that’s something I think that I’ve done. We have guys who are around the top, but nobody’s shown it like I have, and I’m just now starting to show a different layer.
“I was able to do it in the same mode and keep numbers, and I said it like the old Roman Reigns is still money. I could still throw in the best and go out there and still do it, and I’ve proven that I can keep doing that in the same mode and do it. I can do it sick, tired, off the plane or on the plane, it don’t matter. I can do it in my sleep. That’s how repetitious and conditioned I am at this game now.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.