WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns talked to Fox Sport’s Ryan Satin ahead of this year’s Royal Rumble and talked about his recent heel turn and how it was delayed due to a positive response from the fans themselves.
Satin pointed out to Roman that fans were clamouring for his heel turn for a long time and were already boo’ing him when they were supposed to be cheering. Roman replied that he always wanted to be the heel. “I didn’t feel like I should have been the babyface out of the Shield group. We all agreed, we thought it should have been Seth, and then keep me as a bad guy,” Roman said.
He continued, “But, you know, it just happens the way it happens, the numbers lined up the way they did. Things were starting to work as a good guy for me. Then, obviously, it took a toll here and there. There were some nights where there were some loud boos. People take that response and they run with it, because sometimes, it was at the shows that were big and that were seen. The pay-per-views – the Royal Rumble in Philly.”
The Royal Rumble in Philadelphia mentioned by Roman was the 2015 Royal Rumble where he ended up winning the men’s Royal Rumble match. The Rock also endorsed him at the event, but the crowd turned on Roman at the event and booed him heavily.
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The reaction then forced WWE to not crown Roman as the WWE Champion at WrestleMania 31 against Brock Lesnar. Seth Rollins ended up cashing in the Money in the Bank contract to win the triple threat match by pinning Roman in a moment that is called the “Heist of the Century.”
Roman also added that it was not every week or every event that he was boo’ed upon by the fans.
Roman was asked whose idea it was for him to turn heel. He then detailed how he wanted to tap into another aspect of his character, but the reaction from the crowd and the numbers never let WWE turn him. He also added that with the empry arena shows during the pandemic gave them the perfect chance to try out the heel, but Vince McMahon was needed to be convinced for that.
Roman Reigns turned heel upon his return to WWE at SummerSlam 2020. He won the WWE Universal Championship just one week later at Payback 2020 event. Since then, he has been at his villainous best in his feud with his cousin Jey Uso, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and recently against Kevin Owens, whom he will be facing at Royal Rumble 2021 PPV.