Roman Reigns has been the top champion in WWE for over 1000 days, with no end in sight to his current all-time great run as the Tribal Chief.
During an interview on Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin, Paul Heyman discussed what was going on behind the scenes roughly three years ago when Reigns made the move from being the Big Dog to the Tribal Chief.
Roman took time off from WWE at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 due to health concerns, which caused him to be pulled from an advertised match with Goldberg at WrestleMania 36. However, per Heyman, Reigns was also fed up with the very bad creative that WWE had for him after wrapping up a terrible dog food angle with Baron Corbin just a few weeks before that. Reigns knew that the Big Dog character was finished, and he needed to come back as someone different.
Here is how Heyman explained it:
“The feud/rivalry/story with Baron Corbin over dog food, and the infamous Sufferin’ Succotash promo had weighed on him enough to where he said, I’ve had enough. I’ve reached the cap. I can’t go any further as the Big Dog. I’ve peaked. And as an athlete, I haven’t peaked. As a performer, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I have so much more to offer. And since I’m taking time off, I’m not coming back as the same person. This is where I make my move...something has to become my defining moment and then propel forward from there. The catalyst to something completely different.
Four WrestleMania main events to his credit, a run on top since 2015...but something has to be generational here. Something has to define him as Austin, Rock, Sammartino, Hogan. A transformative personality that can then ultimately make the case, ‘I, Roman Reigns, am the greatest of all-time.’”
Heyman went on to agree that the Big Dog character was nothing close to an all-time great despite all the WrestleMania main events, primarily because “it was inauthentic.”
Given that WWE just created a new World Heavyweight Championship as something of a consolation prize for the rest of the roster (who can’t beat Roman) to fight over, I don’t expect that the Tribal Chief’s current run on top will end any time soon. At this point, I think the question is how many more years will it last, as opposed to how many more months.
Regardless of how that plays out, what cannot be argued is that Roman’s creative as the Tribal Chief is far more compelling than his creative as the Big Dog.
Do you think Roman Reigns has cemented himself among the all-time WWE greats alongside Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, and John Cena?
Let us know what you think in the comments below, Cagesiders.