The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is the biggest star in professional wrestling today and it’s not even close. How did Reigns go from being one of the most hated superstars in the industry to being the biggest star of them all?
Roman Reigns journey to becoming a top star in WWE really kicked off when he debuted alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at Survivor Series 2012. The three men who would become ‘The Shield’ attacked Ryback during a WWE title match against now AEW superstar CM Punk. At the time it was an interesting prospect but no one could have foreseen just how dominant the group would become.
For months after debuting The Shield destroyed everyone in their path in search for justice. All the destruction they caused would lead to match at WrestleMania 29 against three big names in Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show. Having a marquee match at there first WrestleMania showed that WWE trusted the group and saw huge potential in Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose as a trio.
At Extreme Rules 2013 The Shield continued to prove themselves as Ambrose became United States champion while Rollins and Reigns defeated Team Hell No to become Tag Team Champions. At this point the shield had become an absolute powerhouse trio with no end in sight.
For a while it seemed like Dean Ambrose was likely to become the breakout star in the group when the group eventually disbanded but that all changed at Survivor Series 2013. Before the show rumors went wild that Reigns would be receiving a huge push the next year with higher ups viewing him as a future star for the company. This turned out to be true when Roman absolutely dominated the 5v5 traditional survivor series match. Reigns eliminated four of the five superstars on the opposing team and was the sole survivor in what was a career changing performance.
Roman Reigns continued his hot streak at the 2014 Royal Rumble where he eliminated 12 superstars and was the runner-up to Batista. At this moment there was no doubt that Roman would become a big time player in WWE for years to come.
After great success as trio The Shield split up with Seth Rollins stabbing his brothers in the back and joining The Authority.
2014 Singles Run
Seth Rollins destroying The Shield couldn’t halt Roman Reigns momentum with The Big Dog picking up a pivotal win against established star Randy Orton at the second biggest PPV of the year SummerSlam. That same night Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena in dominant fashion to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. ￼
2015 Royal Rumble
As the 2015 Royal Rumble started getting closer it became increasingly obvious that Roman was going to win the whole thing. Overly scripted promos and cringe moments directed by WWE creative led to the fans ultimately turning on Roman Reigns at said Rumble. Reigns won the Rumble after some assistance for his cousin The Rock, which was accompanied by a sea of boos. Most of the blame goes on WWE for including a recently returned and extremely over Daniel Bryan. Bryan was eliminated very early on in the match and the Philadelphia crowd was not having it. Almost every entrant after was crowded with boos. Even The Rock couldn’t save the night but regardless the match was set for WrestleMania 31, Roman Reigns VS Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The build to Roman Reigns Vs Brock Lesnar for the first time ever wasn’t a great one. Fans just didn’t care especially after WWE made it clear they wouldn’t change course for the fans like they did the previous year with Daniel Bryan. The match itself is underrated with Reigns taking a beating from Lesnar for most of it before a strong BabyFace comeback to leave Lesnar and himself stunned. Then out comes Seth Rollins to cash in his MITB contract turning the match into a triple threat. Rollins would eventually hit Reigns with the stomp to pull off what Micheal Cole dubbed as “The Heist Of The Century.” With Rollins becoming champion what was next for Reigns?
Part 2 coming soon