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Roman Reigns says WWE needs ‘original characters’, not guys ‘doing Too Sweets’ and ‘acting like they are DX from... 15 years ago’

The question was about his frequent rival Braun Strowman, but in the course of his answer, Roman Reigns touches on several topics - and started an internet firestorm in the process.

His remarks come via a conference call that Inside The Ropes was a part of and has released on their YouTube channel. Here’s the full text of his answer so you can read what some are interpreting as shots at The Young Bucks and The Bullet Club (bolded below) in context:

“I think Strowman is a certified star. When you see him, you know what’s going on. If you see him in real life, you get it. And not to quote a little monster that we have running around our locker room but... you can’t teach that. You really can’t. You can’t teach a guy to be, you know, damn near seven feet tall and 400 pounds. It’s either genetics or work ethic. And, um, I think with the physical attributes Strowman has, along with my experience and my reactions, I think it was a perfect storm because not only is he - you can see what is going on with him - he’s a smart guy. As dumb as he looks, he’s not a dummy, you know what I mean? And he listens and he wants to learn and that’s the key. If he maintains that drive to be the best? And I know it. I know that’s what he wants to be. I know it. And that’s why it’s important that he continues to do what he’s been doing, because it’s working. And he’s learning and he’s getting a lot better and it’s gonna be scary how good he is in a couple years. Once he’s reached the experience level and worked with a bunch of different guys like I have, I’m gonna be really happy to work with him again and see what he’s learned and how much he’s progressed since then. But I mean, he’s been on the fast track, there’s no doubt, but I’m very impressed with his ability to comprehend everything and to translate it into his own and make it his own.

And that’s what we need. Guys who, and no offense to any of these guys, but we don’t need guys running around doing ‘Too Sweets’ and we don't need guys acting like they are D-X from, you know, 15 years ago. We need original characters. Guys who are them. I need Seth Rollins to be Seth Rollins. I need Kevin Owens to be Kevin Owens. I need Bray Wyatt to be Bray Wyatt. We need original Superstars who have no clue what was done 15 - 20 years ago. And no disrespect of our history and our past, but we’re trying to create something new here. And that’s the most important thing - that we’re true to our characters, we’re true to our originality and where we’re trying to go forward as a product. That’s why it’s important for Braun Strowman to be the first Braun Strowman. And that’s why it was important for me to tell Cena ‘I’m not the next Cena’. That’s burying me. I’m the first and only Roman Reigns. That’s all I can be, that’s all I want to be. And I think that if, as a locker room we maintain that mentality and we continue to have special people like Strowman come around, we’re gonna be able to pad and build this locker room and this roster up and we’re gonna have something special here soon. It’s brewing as we speak. It’s happening. But just like anything else, if you want a really good steak? You gotta wait a little bit. We’re not serving McDonald’s over here. No offense to McDonald’s, but I’d rather eat a nice filet as opposed to a Quarter Pounder.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. In general, this is a very good “locker room leader” statement. Folks who dismiss it as Reigns being egotistical or self-centered are exposing their own bias as Roman-doubters/haters.

He’s praising his squad, especially a major player who will be integral to the group achieving their goals in Strowman, while also attempting to motivate them to take things to the next level. Like him or not, all signs point to him being accepted by his peers in the role of team captain, and this is what people in that position say to the media.

As to the “Too Sweet” comments... he can say “no disrespect” all he likes, those are shots. But they’re shots many fans take at The Bucks and BC themselves. It’s a matter of opinion. Matt and Nick Jackson and their fans say they’re taking those elements of the past they enjoyed and remixing them for a new generation and to tell new stories. Detractors say they’re just aping the past and spamming superkicks. There’s no definitive answer other than that the Jacksons and New Japan are making money, so it clearly works for many fans.

But Roman making a dismissive comment about The Bucks is also his way of being a team leader and company man, roles he’s inherited from The Undertaker and John Cena. The Bullet Club “invasion” of Raw couldn’t have gone over well with everyone in the locker room, particularly Cody Rhodes bringing up WWE’s issues with selling out arenas or subtle jabs at Jinder Mahal. While there may be truth to both criticisms, Reigns has to respond on behalf of himself and his locker room, and he saw an opening to do so here.

Decide for yourself, and feel free to use the comments below to (respectfully) argue it out.

Whether or not we can agree on Roman and The Bucks, there’s one thing that’s clear. Regardless of how much truth is in the rumors of “backstage heat”, The Big Dog clearly enjoys taking the piss out of Enzo Amore every chance he gets.

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