WWE superstar Roman Reigns was a guest on CBS Sports' In This Corner podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc) in an effort to hype this past Sunday's WWE No Mercy pay-per-view event. In that interview, Reigns revealed that one of the things that he was told early on by Fandango is that you have to have thick skin in order to be a successful professional wrestler.
"If you're going to be in the squared circle and be a part of sports entertainment, you have to have thick skin. I mean, it's just the way of the business. Do you know what I mean? Like, sometimes it's funny. I've heard Fandango say this before, who I've been around a long time. He was one of the top guys of developmental when I first broke in and he said, 'you've got to be a tough guy to run around like a sissy and wear tight pants' and I didn't think about it and it slowly set in. I was like, 'do you know what? He's right. He has thick skin: he's willing to do this about anything; he doesn't get embarrassed - he's able to wear egg on his face and be fine with it because obviously we all have a passion for this. If you can't handle something as simple as somebody saying something to you, then you can't handle sports and you'll never be able to handle the physicality."
Reigns went on to say that any harsh comments from fans haven't bothered him, but he has cried over the sport of wrestling.
"No, [negativity about his in-ring work] doesn't bother me because, like you said, you have to believe in yourself and I know that kind of sounds corny, but it's true, do you know what I mean, especially when you have people telling you this and that, and critiquing you, and telling you what you're not good at and what you probably shouldn't be doing. But I know the time I put in. I know the sweat, the blood, even the tears. I've cried over this stuff. Do you know what I mean? As a grown man, I've cried over wrestling before. I'm man enough to say it."
Reigns continued, "it means that much to me and I think that's why, especially my family, that's why we're so good at it, is because we really care about it and it's something we can connect to. Do you know what I mean? It's just if you don't have confidence in yourself, you're going to have a terrible time when you walk through that curtain. Do you know what I mean? For me, it [has] been a while since I've heard the 'you can't wrestle' chants. It really [has] been a couple of years. But, at the end of the day, if they're making a lot of noise, if they're standing up, that means they're interested and that's all I care about."
Reigns explained that he cried for the first time as a wrestler during the developmental portion of his career.
"The real time that I've honestly cried was a late night with my cousin, Jey. And I was still in developmental and he was up on the road. He had taken me out and at this point I had no money. He was kind of helping me out. He was the one that bought the dinner for us and everything. And we were just sitting there talking and stuff and he was just kind of laying it out there."
"I was so green and he was trying to get me to think on my feet. Do you know what I mean? And then, he may have said something that irritated me and the whole situation because I knew I wasn't ready and I didn't know what to do and it was so frustrating and I want to be the best. I want to be the absolute greatest to ever do this and I had that mindset since day one."
Reigns ended up defeating Cena at last weekend's No Mercy event. With the big win, he has certainly solidified himself as one of the faces of the WWE. There have been reports that Cena will likely take a long hiatus from the WWE after losing to Reigns, since he has many other things going on in his life and career. This could lead to Reigns' character taking off even more than it has since he signed on with the WWE in 2010 as a developmental wrestler.
While Reigns has been sitting walking a line between face and heel within the WWE, we wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the near future he turns into a fan favorite. It's actually very easy to draw comparisons to The Rock first came into wrestling as a face fans wouldn't accept. WWE switched his alignment, and before you knew it, the fans loved him and worshipped him as a premier wrestler.
Reigns defeating Cena is certainly a monumental time in his career. It now looks like he could become one of the poster boys of the sport with Cena possibly passing the torch to him. During his post-match interview at No Mercy, Cena showed nothing but respect for Reigns by admitting that he's grown a lot as a wrestler.
Reigns is only 32 years-old, which is very young for a wrestler when you compare him to Cena who is 40 years-old. Of course, we've seen wrestlers compete well into their 50's and beyond.
Comment below and give us your thoughts on Reigns' future with the WWE.
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