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August 6th, 2019  | Posted by: | Filed Under: Articles,Interviews

Last fall, Roman Reigns shocked the WWE fans with the news that he suffers from cancer. Meanwhile, his leukemia disease is in remission and the 34-year-old is back in the middle of the show fight events.

A drug therapy has made Reigns fit again for the wrestling ring , his treatment of the disease has brought the previously notorious few critically regarded top star even new popularity.

At the WWE SummerSlam 2019 on Sunday, the second most important show of the year, he is likely to contest his next big match – a duel against the man who had scaffolded him on the SmackDown TV show last week (Read here whom WWE wants to reveal as the “assassin” of Roman Reigns) .

Reigns, who has just celebrated his Hollywood debut alongside Dwayne’s “The Rock” Johnson in “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw” , is now also at the center of WWE’s latest video game, joining forces with Becky Lynch the cover of WWE 2K20, which will be released on October 22, 2019 (for PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One family of devices, including Windows PC), and the centerpiece of a so-called tower mode that revolves around his career.

In the exclusive SPORT1 interview, Reigns talks about how the battle with the disease has changed his career in Vince McMahon’s promotion and why he would not be mad at the fans if they beat him up again. He also talks about the unwritten rules in the WWE locker room and why he continues to see his employer at the forefront of the wrestling landscape changed by the creation of the new AEW rival league.

SPORT1: Roman Reigns, you’ve been back in the ring since March, after a five-month break because of your condition. Is everything the same for you as before or has something changed?

Roman Reigns: I have a slightly different view of myself. Previously, I wanted to work as hard as possible, but I also put my own well-being behind my responsibility for the big picture, for my colleagues, for my family. My idea was: I always have to give 100 percent to live up to this responsibility. Now it’s a little different: it’s about listening to my body, taking care of my health, my diet. I’m not allowed to take any risks – and yet I want to use the potential that God has given me and make the most of it. I will not be athletic for many years where I am now and from what is still possible, I want to do the maximum.

SPORT1: You were booed by many fans before you were diagnosed. Would you be angry if it will be like before?

Reigns: No, the fans can do whatever they want. They pay for what we do with their money – their hard earned money. Everyone has their view of things and we enjoy every way that fans live out their emotions. Whether it’s cheering or booing: As long as it’s loud, everything is okay. Only if they are quiet and pick up popcorn while we are performing we have a problem.

SPORT1: They are – as the Undertaker used to be – a respectful person behind the scenes, a “Locker Room Leader”. Is this a correct attribution?

Reigns: Not everyone who is a leader has to call himself that in order to make it clear that he is one. But if you ask me like this: Yes, I think you can call it that.

SPORT1: How do you define this role?

Reigns:   Let’s put it this way: I am very proud to continue a certain work here that others have started: it’s about mutual respect in the locker room, the attitude of treating others the way you want to be treated. And also for respect for what we do and the principle of not taking anything away from others in one way or another.

SPORT1: Sounds like heart failure.

Reigns: This place has changed my life, given me many opportunities to grow, to become a better person. I care about WWE and I want to keep that. WWE took the risk with me, which the NFL did not want to deal with (Reigns had leukemia for the first time before his career, as it became known in hindsight, editor’s note)., I want to give something back and therefore I will make sure that nobody here will miss the respect for what we do. Who moves in our locker room and does not do that, I make my point clear, in one way or the other. I’m not afraid of anyone. My family has a history in this business and a personal one with the McMahons and I do not allow anyone to show any respect for what I do for my family. If that makes me the leader of the dressing room, call me that.

SPORT1: Becky Lynch, the other cover star of the game, ended her career early because of a ring injury in Germany and then fought for WWE and is now the champion and biggest female star there. What is it?

Reigns: Becky is an incredible fighter. It is carved from a different wood. She has brought here the fresh wind that the world has been waiting for. All the setbacks that she has put away over the years, injuries that almost ended her career, all this: you can see what passion she has for a fighter heart. I respect that immensely and as the father of a young daughter I find it all the more important to point out what they and our other women are doing. We also have in the women’s locker room main event material that lasts for days. Not just Becky, but the other three “Horsewomen” (Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Sasha Banks , d. Red.) , Ronda Rouseyand everyone else: you have created something special. I am very excited about how they will preserve it now, lead to new heights and pave the way for a new generation.

SPORT1: WWE has recently had to face the new competition league AEW, the most ambitious competition project since the end of WCW 18 years ago . Their friend Jon Moxley aka Dean Ambrose has moved there and has criticized WWE after his departure hard , her other old Shield colleague Seth Rollins has announced that WWE will also “steal” this competition. Is that your claim?

Reigns: I have said it before and stick to it: I think it’s generous of Seth to speak of “competition”. I do not want to talk too much about other leagues, it’s about us. Only so much: My ancestors were part of the Territorial era, as the wrestlers traveled from place to place and started where they could do the best business for themselves. In that sense, I’m absolutely in favor of that being possible again, it’s great that even if today’s wrestlers have their options, it’s also cool for the fans: all right. But: WWE is my home, which I represent, I do not want to be anywhere else. We are way ahead of the others, and I’m not just talking about the quality of the wrestlers.

SPORT1: What else?

Reigns: The quality of production is also eminently important, and what the crew does behind the scenes is unbelievable. Not everyone understands how many good people it takes to keep the store running. And for that you get respect only when you see how others do it less well. It’s easy to complain, complain, and write about what would make you better. But then to do it: that is a very different thing. Nobody will do better than WWE. Point.

SPORT1: WWE and Wrestling are in constant change, in the Nineties the league changed completely in the Attitude Era , even after WWE has changed and adapted to trends. What do you see as the next step in evolution?

Reigns: I would say we are in the process of making it, and indeed in the lead. We have perhaps the best social media platforms in the entertainment world, we do not study others, others study us. For me, what is especially important is the look at the little things, the details and we do it thoroughly. We have an incredible fanbase, every single one sitting in our locker room has fans all over the world – where else is it? We are all light years ahead.

Credit: Sports1 Germany

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