Roman Reigns is one of the most dominant and successful wrestlers in WWE history. He is the current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, having held the title for over 1,000 days. He is also the leader of The Bloodline, a faction that includes his cousins Jimmy and Jey Uso. However, Reigns has been absent from WWE television since August 2021, when he defeated Jey Uso in a Tribal Combat match at SummerSlam. Fans are eagerly awaiting his return and wondering what challenges and surprises await him.
In this article, we will explore the early life and football career of Roman Reigns, his professional wrestling career in WWE, and the recent rumors and updates on his return.
Early Life and Football Career of Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns was born as Leati Joseph Anoa’i on May 25, 1985, in Pensacola, Florida. He is a member of the Anoa’i family, a renowned Samoan-American wrestling dynasty that includes legends like The Rock, Rikishi, Umaga, and Yokozuna. Reigns grew up with a passion for sports and excelled in football during his high school days. He was named Defensive Player of the Year by Pensacola News Journal in his senior year.
Reigns continued his football career at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he played for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as a defensive tackle. He was also a team captain in his senior year and earned All-ACC honors. After graduating with a degree in management, Reigns pursued a professional football career and had brief stints with the Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) in 2007. He then played for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2008, before retiring from football due to injuries.
Professional Wrestling Career in WWE
Persona and Reception
Reigns decided to follow his family’s footsteps and pursue a career in professional wrestling. He signed with WWE in 2010 and trained at their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He debuted under the ring name Leakee and later changed it to Roman Leakee. He won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Dalton (later known as Tyler Breeze) in 2012.
Reigns made his main roster debut in November 2012 as part of The Shield, a faction that also included Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. The Shield was a rebellious group that claimed to fight against injustice and corruption in WWE. They quickly became one of the most popular and influential factions in WWE history, winning multiple championships and feuding with top stars like John Cena, CM Punk, The Undertaker, and Triple H. Reigns was the powerhouse of The Shield and received positive reactions from fans and critics for his impressive performances.
The Shield disbanded in June 2014, when Rollins betrayed Ambrose and Reigns to join The Authority, a heel stable led by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Reigns then embarked on a solo career as a heroic character and was pushed as the next top star of WWE. However, this push was met with mixed to negative reactions from fans, who felt that Reigns was being forced upon them by WWE management. Some of the reasons for the fan backlash included Reigns’ perceived lack of charisma, mic skills, moveset variety, and character development.
Reigns faced several obstacles and controversies during his rise to the main event scene. He suffered a hernia injury that sidelined him for two months in 2014. He won the 2015 Royal Rumble match but was booed by the crowd due to his predictable victory and Daniel Bryan’s elimination. He won his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31 but lost it to Seth Rollins, who cashed in his Money in the Bank contract during the match. He regained the title twice in 2016 but lost it to Triple H at Royal Rumble and to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. He also faced a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy in June 2016.
Despite these setbacks, Reigns continued to be pushed as a heroic character by WWE, often overcoming multiple opponents and interferences to win his matches. He also received endorsements from legends like The Rock, John Cena, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels. However, this did not change the fans’ perception of him as an undeserving and overrated wrestler. Reigns was voted as the Most Overrated Wrestler by Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers and the Most Hated Wrestler by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers in 2016.
Reigns’ fan reception did not improve much in the following years, as he continued to headline major pay-per-view events like WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. He also faced some of the biggest names in WWE history like Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, and John Cena, often defeating them or coming close to doing so. Reigns was criticized for being booked too strongly and overshadowing other wrestlers who were more popular or talented than him. Reigns also faced accusations of being favored by WWE chairman Vince McMahon, who reportedly saw him as the face of the company.
Reigns’ persona and reception changed dramatically in 2020, when he returned to WWE after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He turned heel for the first time in his solo career and adopted a new persona as the Tribal Chief, the leader of his family and the WWE. He also aligned himself with Paul Heyman, a notorious manager and advocate who had previously worked with Brock Lesnar. Reigns won his second WWE Universal Championship at Payback 2020 by defeating Braun Strowman and The Fiend in a triple threat match. He then feuded with his cousin Jey Uso, whom he forced to acknowledge him as the head of the table and join his faction, The Bloodline.
Reigns’ heel turn was widely praised by fans and critics, who felt that it suited his character better and gave him more depth and edge. Reigns also improved his mic skills, charisma, and storytelling abilities, making him more compelling and entertaining to watch. Reigns also became more dominant and ruthless as a champion, defeating challengers like Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Edge, John Cena, and Finn Balor. He also unified the WWE Universal Championship and the WWE Championship by defeating Bobby Lashley at SummerSlam 2021, becoming the first Undisputed WWE Universal Champion in history.
Legacy and Accomplishments
Reigns has established himself as one of the most successful and influential wrestlers in WWE history. He has headlined numerous pay-per-view events, including seven WrestleManias (31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 38, and 39), more than any other wrestler in history. He has also won multiple championships, including the WWE Universal Championship twice, the WWE Championship four times, the WWE United States Championship once, the WWE Intercontinental Championship once, and the WWE Tag Team Championship once (with Seth Rollins). He is also a Grand Slam Champion and a Triple Crown Champion.
Reigns has also broken several records and achieved several milestones in his career. He has the longest reign as WWE Universal Champion in history, having held the title for over 1,000 days as of October 2021. He is also the first wrestler to hold both the WWE Universal Championship and the WWE Championship simultaneously. He has won the Royal Rumble match once (in 2015) and has eliminated a record 12 wrestlers in a single Royal Rumble match (in 2014). He has also won several awards and honors from various wrestling publications and websites, including being ranked No. 1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s annual PWI 500 list of the top 500 singles wrestlers in 2016 and 2022.
Reigns has also made an impact outside of wrestling, as he has appeared in several movies and TV shows as an actor. He made his film debut in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), where he played one of Luke Hobbs’ brothers. He also voiced himself in an episode of The Simpsons (2019) and appeared in an episode of Cousins for Life (2019). He also starred in The Wrong Missy (2020), a Netflix comedy film where he played himself.
Recent Rumors and Updates on Roman Reigns’ Return
Reigns has been absent from WWE television since August 2021, when he defeated Jey Uso in a Tribal Combat match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title and Tribal Chief status at SummerSlam. The match was brutal and bloody, as Reigns used various weapons and tactics to punish his cousin for betraying him. Reigns eventually won the match by choking out Jey with a guillotine choke.
Reigns’ absence has left many fans wondering when he will return to WWE and what challenges he will face next. There have been several rumors and updates on Reigns’ return date and potential opponents. Here are some of them:
LA Knight’s challenge
One of the most recent rumors about Reigns’ return involves LA Knight, a former NXT star who recently made his main roster debut on RAW. Knight has been vocal about his desire to face Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title, claiming that he is the only one who can dethrone The Tribal Chief. Knight even suggested that he could win the 2024 Royal Rumble match and challenge Reigns at WrestleMania 40.
However, this rumor has been met with skepticism by some fans and critics, who doubt that Knight has enough star power or popularity to face Reigns on such a big stage. Knight is still relatively new to the main roster and has not established himself as a credible threat to Reigns yet.
Some fans have suggested that Knight should prove himself by winning some matches and feuds against other top stars before challenging Reigns. Knight has not responded to these criticisms yet, but he has shown confidence and charisma in his promos and interviews. Knight has also claimed that he has a secret weapon that will help him defeat Reigns, but he has not revealed what it is yet.
The Bloodline in turmoil
Another rumor about Reigns’ return involves his faction, The Bloodline, which consists of his cousins Jimmy and Jey Uso. The Usos have been loyal to Reigns since they joined him in 2020, but they have also shown signs of discontent and frustration with his leadership. The Usos have often been used as pawns and scapegoats by Reigns, who has demanded their obedience and respect at all times. The Usos have also been overshadowed by Reigns, who has rarely given them credit or praise for their accomplishments.
The tension within The Bloodline reached a boiling point in August 2021, when Jimmy Uso betrayed Reigns and sided with Jey Uso at SummerSlam. Jimmy claimed that he was tired of being treated like a servant by Reigns and that he wanted to be his own man. Jimmy also accused Reigns of being selfish and arrogant, saying that he did not care about his family or the WWE. Jimmy then helped Jey attack Reigns during the Tribal Combat match, but they were both defeated by Reigns.
Since then, The Bloodline has been in turmoil, as Jimmy and Jey have been at odds with each other over their loyalty to Reigns. Jimmy has tried to convince Jey to leave Reigns and join him, while Jey has tried to persuade Jimmy to return to Reigns and apologize. The Usos have also been involved in several matches and brawls with other tag teams, such as The New Day, The Street Profits, and RK-Bro, who have mocked them for their family drama.
Some fans have speculated that Reigns will return to WWE soon and confront The Usos over their betrayal and disunity. Some fans have also predicted that Reigns will punish The Usos for their actions and kick them out of The Bloodline. However, some fans have also suggested that Reigns will forgive The Usos and reunite with them, saying that he needs them to maintain his power and authority in WWE.
Potential appearances at upcoming events
The final rumor about Reigns’ return involves his potential appearances at upcoming WWE events. There have been several reports and hints that Reigns will return to WWE before the end of 2021 or early 2022. Some of the events that Reigns could appear at are:
- Survivor Series 2021: This is one of the most likely events for Reigns’ return, as it is one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year and it will take place on November 21, 2021. Survivor Series is known for its traditional elimination matches between teams representing RAW and SmackDown, the two main brands of WWE. Reigns could return to lead Team SmackDown against Team RAW, which could include some of his former rivals like Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Finn Balor. Reigns could also face the WWE Champion from RAW in a champion vs champion match, which could be Big E, Drew McIntyre, or Randy Orton.
- Royal Rumble 2022: This is another possible event for Reigns’ return, as it is one of the most popular and exciting pay-per-view events of the year and it will take place on January 29, 2022. Royal Rumble is known for its namesake match, where 30 wrestlers enter the ring at regular intervals and try to eliminate each other by throwing them over the top rope. The last wrestler remaining in the ring wins the match and earns a world title match at WrestleMania. Reigns could return to enter the Royal Rumble match as a surprise entrant and try to win it for the second time in his career. He could also face some new challengers or old enemies in the match, such as LA Knight, Edge, John Cena, or Brock Lesnar.
- WrestleMania 40: This is the most anticipated event for Reigns’ return, as it is the biggest and grandest pay-per-view event of the year and it will take place on April 2-3, 2022. WrestleMania is known for its spectacular matches and moments that showcase the best of WWE. Reigns could return to headline WrestleMania for the eighth time in his career and defend his Undisputed WWE Universal Title against a worthy opponent. He could also face some legendary wrestlers or celebrities who could challenge him for his title or status. Some of the potential opponents for Reigns at WrestleMania are:
- The Rock: This is perhaps the most dreamt-of match for Reigns’ return, as it would pit him against his cousin and mentor, The Rock. The Rock is one of the most famous and successful wrestlers and actors of all time, and he has not wrestled in WWE since 2016. The Rock has expressed interest in facing Reigns at WrestleMania, saying that it would be an honor and a privilege to share the ring with him. The Rock has also praised Reigns for his heel turn and his performance as the Tribal Chief, saying that he is proud of him. However, The Rock has also teased that he could challenge Reigns for his title and his leadership of the family, saying that he is the original and true head of the table. The match between Reigns and The Rock would be a blockbuster clash of generations, cultures, and egos, and it would draw a huge amount of attention and revenue for WWE.
- Brock Lesnar: This is another highly anticipated match for Reigns’ return, as it would renew his long-standing rivalry with Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is one of the most dominant and destructive wrestlers in WWE history, and he has faced Reigns several times for the WWE World Heavyweight Title or the WWE Universal Title. Lesnar has usually had the upper hand over Reigns, but Reigns has also managed to defeat Lesnar on some occasions. Lesnar has not appeared in WWE since WrestleMania 36 in 2020, when he lost the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre. Lesnar has been rumored to return to WWE soon and challenge Reigns for his Undisputed WWE Universal Title, saying that he is the only one who can beat him. The match between Reigns and Lesnar would be a brutal and intense battle of strength, skill, and will, and it would settle their score once and for all.
- John Cena: This is another possible match for Reigns’ return, as it would pit him against one of the greatest and most beloved wrestlers of all time, John Cena. Cena is a 16-time world champion and a Hollywood star, and he has faced Reigns once before at No Mercy 2017, where Reigns defeated him. Cena has not wrestled in WWE since SummerSlam 2021, when he lost to Reigns for the WWE Universal Title. Cena has congratulated Reigns for his victory and his reign as the champion, saying that he respects him and admires him. However, Cena has also hinted that he could challenge Reigns again for his title and his legacy, saying that he still has one more world title win left in him. The match between Reigns and Cena would be a clash of icons, values, and eras, and it would determine who is the best wrestler of their generation.
Roman Reigns is one of the most prominent and influential figures in WWE today. He is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, the leader of The Bloodline, and the Tribal Chief of his family and the WWE. He has been absent from WWE television since August 2021, when he defeated Jey Uso in a Tribal Combat match at SummerSlam. His absence has sparked many rumors and updates on his return date and potential opponents. Some of the events that he could appear at are Survivor Series 2021, Royal Rumble 2022, or WrestleMania 40. Some of the opponents that he could face are LA Knight, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, or John Cena. Regardless of when or how he returns to WWE, Roman Reigns will surely make a huge impact and continue to reign supreme as The Tribal Chief.