We’re coming up on the anniversary of Roman Reigns return to WWE at last year’s SummerSlam.
Reigns transformation into and ownership of his Head of the Table character has become such an indelible part of WWE’s programming, it’s hard to remember that prior to last year’s Biggest Party of the Summer, we weren’t sure when we’d ever see him again. Roman exited the stage at the start of the pandemic, in the middle of the build to a WrestleMania match with Goldberg. He kept his reasons close to the vest (pun semi-intended), later revealing that it was out of concern for his family - especially his newborn twins.
So what got him back? Satisfaction with WWE’s COVID protocols was probably first and foremost. And somebody had to save the company by establishing the Island of Relevancy. Aside from that, the Tribal Chief recently told Sports Illustrated Media Podcast (h/t Post Wrestling) he had two things he wanted before he made his way back to spear Braun Strowman and The Fiend last August:
“I had two requests. I wanted to work with Michael Hayes, that’s my guy. He’s been with me from The Shield days and even before that with my family and a lot of the people around me have been in relations and in close contact with my family, even before my time as a performer, back when I was just a kid. So they have a great history with my family and they’ve taken to me like family, like blood and those are two guys who are critically in my process – Michael Hayes and Paul Heyman.”
Heyman is no surprise, as Roman’s spoken before about his connection to and trust in Paul E. The Freebird isn’t a name I’ve heard associated with Reigns, but it makes sense. He’s been in the business, and with WWE, forever - creating the connection Roman speaks of. The wrestling industry Bloodline is real.
Whatever conditions Romey had, I’m glad WWE agreed to them. It’s hard to imagine their current product without him.