New United States champion Roman Reigns is the guest on the latest edition of Michael Cole’s weekly sitdown interview on WWE.com and the company’s YouTube channel.
A few things become clear in their five minute chat.
1. Roman’s reign is intended to be a sequel to John Cena’s 2015 run with the red, white and blue belt, and pick up where that left off in terms of elevating the importance of the title.
2. Don’t expect much in the way of a change in Reigns’ character. Like late aughts Cena, he’s a babyface with an ego, so cheer or boo him accordingly.
As evidence of both points, he calls holding the title “a huge blessing” and the end point of soul searching he’s done over the last six months, time to “not necessarily humble myself, but kind of get back in the shop and re-evaluate things... spend some time at home and see what I’m fighting for”. Wearing the belt has given him “a purpose... a new responsibility”.
Cole mentions the Big Dog’s “wild Summer” (without mentioning his Wellness suspension), and the champ’s response integrated how grateful he is to be a WWE Superstar and how the U.S. championship gives him direction. They also play up a patriotic element to the belt, so Reigns is now defending life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in addition to a scripted championship:
I’m proud of that. That means something to me. I’m not only going out there and putting a title on the line. I’m putting my livelihood on the line. What I represent as an American, as a man, as a family man, someone who pays their taxes and provides and puts shelter over people’s heads.
3. The Guy’s issues with Rusev aren’t over.
Cole both prompts some answers about how the Bulgarian Brute didn’t represent the title in the right way, and how Monday’s double countout means their beef will continue. Roman’s ready, and not worried.
I’ve made him pretty mad over the past few months, but he can keep bringing it. As long as I go out there and do me, he can’t touch me. I can see what he’s gonna do way before he’s gonna do it, but he’s gonna continue to come and I say bring it man. Come on. Cause, uh [looks at belt], we’re not going anywhere no time soon.
Sounds like a guy who could use some humbling. But don’t hold your breath for it to happen in kayfabe any time soon.