John Cena proclaimed that Roman Reigns is the GOAT, and he may be on to something.
Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns has been one of the biggest heels in pro wrestling since returning at SummerSlam 2020. According to John Cena, he is also the greatest ever to have stepped foot inside the ring.
After returning in August 2020 following a break during COVID-19, The Tribal Chief went on to win the Universal Title and also became the longest-reigning world champion in modern history. However, this is not the only accolade that Reigns has amassed over the years.
During a recent interview, John Cena, who is a 16-time world champion in his own right, stated that Reigns is the greatest of all time.
“But when I’m there as a performer, it’s Roman Reigns’ show. In my mind, he needs to be in the conversation, and in my mind, he’s the greatest of all time,” Cena said.
The Tribal Chief is undoubtedly one of the biggest sensations in the history of the business. He has been a part of two very successful stables, The Shield and The Bloodline, created numerous memories with fellow superstars, defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania, and has also been Universal Champion for over 900 days. In 2014, Reigns also held the record for the most number of eliminations in Royal Rumble history (12) but was later overtaken by Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar (13 each).
It goes without saying that the aura Reigns has created around himself is unmatched in the current landscape of WWE. Since his debut, it was a given that Vince McMahon and upper management viewed him as the next face of the company after John Cena. However, The Tribal Chief’s initial babyface run was a disaster. Getting booed out of the building even after The Rock endorsed him at the Royal Rumble in 2015, shows how much fans were disinterested in the character.
The former Hound of Justice took on the role of a good guy after getting betrayed by Seth Rollins. It is not to say, that his inability to cut compelling babyface promos put a damp on his in-ring acumen, but he would never be the star he is today if not for his foray into the dark side at SummerSlam 2020.
John Cena’s comments highlight one interesting fact about Reigns, he has certainly acquired the sense that whether it be RAW or SmackDown, it is The Tribal Chief’s show. The Undisputed WWE World Champion was largely in the shadows of the erstwhile Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley in AEW) and Seth Rollins while in The Shield. However, The Bloodline has really showcased his leadership skills. The stable has highlighted what many failed to see in the world champion, his impeccable promo skills.
What is all the more interesting about Reigns is that despite having a great talker in Paul Heyman by his side, his promos often overshadow the Wise Man. Whether it be a simple phrase such as “acknowledge me,” or telling Austin Theory that his “daddy” isn’t in WWE anymore, The Tribal Chief is not afraid to break the barriers that often shackled him during his babyface run.
Roman Reigns has played his part of being a movie villain-esque role to even force his cousins to take his side. He has not only been a master manipulator, but a remorseless beast who can go to any length to maintain his supremacy.
When he eventually loses all of his gold and his allies sometime in the future, it will feel to fans like a cinematic experience and the downfall of a mega villain. It will also pave the way for him to rise like a phoenix, from the ashes of defeat and into the embrace of becoming a hero once again.
What John Cena’s comments did not mention is how much Roman has evolved with the world title. Although he has not achieved 16 world title reigns like Cena or Ric Flair, Reigns has done one better. The Tribal Chief has gone on to have the longest world title reign in the company’s modern history. In an era where titles are almost always thrown around like a hot potato, The Bloodline’s patriarch has held onto the Universal Title for more than 900 days. Alongside this, Reigns is also a Grand Slam Champion, a feat, not even Cena has achieved.
Having given the fans enticing entertainment with the Sami Zayn storyline, Reigns has also proved that no one just feels bigger than him at the moment. Several high-caliber wrestlers such as Drew McIntyre, Brock Lesnar, and even John Cena himself have tried to dethrone The Head of The Table, but his Island of Relevancy remains intact.
Even in their heyday, several dominant groups such as DX or Evolution have failed to maintain the level of consistency and impact that The Bloodline has achieved. This in turn has happened thanks to the impact of Roman Reigns. The fire that he has ignited within Jimmy and Jey Uso has helped the twins become the longest-reigning tag team champions in history. A group of champions with Solo Sikoa as the ‘enforcer’ and Paul Heyman as the brains has only led to a superstar in Roman Reigns, whose presence and star power are unprecedented in WWE.
When he ultimately hangs up his boots, Roman Reigns has the potential to become a three-time Hall of Famer. He could go up on the wall as a Hall of Famer with The Shield, The Bloodline, and as an individual, a feat which not even legends such as Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino have been able to achieve. If anything, Roman Reigns could easily be among those who go up on the Mount Rushmore of WWE.