“I wanna show my family, my friends, my children, and my wife that when life throws a curveball at me, I am the type of man that will stand in that batter’s box, I will crowd the plate, I will choke up, and I will swing for the fences every single time.” These powerful words came from the mouth of Roman Reigns as he courageously told the world he is battling leukaemia. He was honest and emotional. ‘The Big Dog’ also reminded the world that no matter what happens, he is a fighter.
The former Universal Champion’s career has been anything but an easy road, and the unfair criticism he has had to deal with would have broken a lesser man. He has given fans countless classic matches, memorable feuds, and promos. So as the wrestling world unites to wish him a speedy recovery, we take a look at the ten best Roman Reigns moments.
10. Double Spear!
In 2017, in the midst of the Goldberg comeback, Reigns and Goldberg shared the ring on RAW. No words, just an intense stare-down between the two. It’s always great when superstars from different eras come together and give you a taste of what could have been had they been wrestling at the same time. But what was special about this moment was not just two stars going face to face as our imaginations started to wonder, it was the fact the past and present spears united.
Both men are known for their use of the spear, and as Braun Strowman interrupted the stare-down, he paid the price. A double spear from Goldberg and Roman Reigns was a cool moment – something people could have only dreamed about a year earlier. In the larger scheme of things, this was not incredibly significant, but it gave us a nice clip to add to the highlight reel.
9. Champion in Philly
Coming off a TLC pay-per-view which was main evented by Roman Reigns and Sheamus, the WWE managed to capture lightning in a bottle in the most unlikely of places. On December 14th, 2015, RAW emanated from Philadelphia, the city that booed the former Shield member out of the building after he won the Royal Rumble earlier that year. However, on this night, he was the hero.
Not only was this the RAW that the perception changed (at least for one night), the company also brought out the big guns for an epic moment. While having the crowd on his side, Reigns fought off the members of The League of Nations, the blood on his face, and even the evil chairman of the board, Vince McMahon to beat Sheamus. Winning the title in front of a positive Philly crowd was special, and winning with Vince McMahon in the middle of the match made it an even greater night for ‘The Big Dog.’ When you work with the boss, you enter an elite crew of superstars.
8. Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles – Extreme Rules 2016
Every superstar has that match that takes them to that next level as a performer. For John Cena, it came against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 23. Stone Cold was taken to the top by Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13. And in Newark, New Jersey at Extreme Rules 2016, AJ Styles gave the former Shield member his degree for wrestling in main event matches.
AJ Styles was the ringleader that night. To elevate the young Samoan, he took some big, big bumps. Fortunately for Vince McMahon, this was also the night his golden boy proved his worth. He kept up with Styles and did not miss a step in this instant classic. Both men had the crowd in the palm of their hands the whole twenty plus minutes. After Extreme Rules 2016, Reigns was not only more consistent, but he went on to elevate future opponents like Braun Strowman and Rusev.
7. “I’ll see you Sunday, movie star.”
The entire John Cena feud gave Roman Reigns more attention and star status than anything he had done up until that point. From 2005 to 2015, undoubtedly, Cena was the number one guy in the company. Like all great stars before him, Cena continued the tradition of passing the torch by elevating the future superstar Roman Reigns.
Most notably, this program showed how far the future star had progressed in the promo department. The improvement was best on display in the go home promo for No Mercy 2017. After showing a clip from 2012 where John Cena called out The Rock for not being on RAW, Reigns claimed Cena was a hypocrite because he is now doing the same thing by not showing up. The segment was clever, and his words felt real. The promo did not feel like someone reciting words off a piece of paper. To cap it off, he even copied Cena’s line from 2012 when he said “I’ll see you Sunday, movie star,” and then imitated his mic drop as well.
6. Taking the Torch – No Mercy 2017
When we talk about big matches like The Rock versus Hulk Hogan and Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior, Cena versus Reigns from No Mercy 2017 deserves to be in the conversation. The match was this generation’s Hogan/Warrior. An electric crowd, back and forth action and it felt like they could do no wrong because of how big this battle of megastars was. Truthfully, it’s a crime that this was not on ‘the grandest stage of them all’.
However, despite missing the WrestleMania stage, the match did wonders for the career of Roman Reigns. He took the torch from “the man” by winning clean in the middle of the ring.
5. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family – Elimination Chamber 2014
Before having a singles career that divided opinion, Roman Reigns was a part of the unbelievably talented and popular group The Shield. If one match showed just how good The Shield was, it’s the six-man tag against The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber 2014. The match was a rollercoaster ride and showed the beauty of six wrestlers fighting all over the arena.
They all gave each other a chance to shine, The Wyatt Family won to continue building their momentum as the new team, and the tease of The Shield splitting up was also a part of the match. The wrestlers involved were able to squeeze so many spots and stories into the time they had, making it the highlight of The Shield’s incredible run.
4. The Shield’s Debut
Survivor Series 2012 was the main roster debut of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns. At the time the interference was fun and quite exciting because we were able to see young stars mix it up with main event talents like CM Punk and John Cena. After Survivor Series, The Shield was off and running, and we all know what happened next.
Considering the impact these three men have had since their debut in 2012, their introduction to the WWE fans will go down as a historic moment.
3. The RAW After WrestleMania 33
After beating and retiring (or so we thought) The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, ‘The Big Dog’ set himself up for universal hatred the next night. The rowdy post-mania crowd was in full force when they booed him, swore at him, and refused to let him utter a single word. The live crowd thought they were outsmarting Reigns. However, he was, in fact, the master puppeteer.
Every time he lifted the mic close his face as if he was about to talk, the crowd would only get louder. He soaked in the boos, and when it was time said five simple words, “This is my yard now.” It doesn’t get any cooler than this, as he owned the crowd with five words and dropped the mike.
2. Royal Rumble 2014
Remember that time when The Shield was the hottest thing, and everybody was on board with the good-looking guy taking the top spot in the company?
The 2014 Rumble is now known as the night Batista won while getting booed unmercifully by everyone in the arena. But it was actually a strong Rumble match that featured a record-setting performance from the muscle of The Shield.
Kane’s record of eleven eliminations in one Rumble lasted for thirteen years, and in 2014, WWE laid the groundwork for the man they were grooming to be “the guy,” as Reigns eliminated twelve men. It was a great performance and one that ended with fans screaming for him to win when it came down to him and Dave Batista. It is surreal to look back and see the positive reactions he gets that night.
1.Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 31
The WrestleMania 31 main event had a cloud of negativity that very few big Mania matches have ever had. Every step leading to the big show fans booed, questioned, and begged WWE to insert Daniel Bryan into the title picture. Roman Reigns was a talent with a lot of potential, but his performances at the time showed he was far from being a headliner of WWE’s grandest stage. Brock Lesnar was red hot after ending the streak a year earlier, so the mixture of the two superstars was quite interesting.
The match not only blew away expectations, but it will also go down as one of the greatest WrestleMania bouts in history, if not one of the best in wrestling history. Still, to this day, this is Roman Reigns greatest night because he silenced the doubters and proved his toughness. He went toe to toe with Lesnar like no one else before or after him. There was blood, drama, and physicality. It was professional wrestling at its finest.
Do you have a favourite Roman Reigns moment that didn’t make this list? Tell us about it @SteelChairMag