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Roman Reigns: The Tribal Chief’s Rise to WWE Dominance

Early Life and Football Career

Roman Reigns, whose real name is Leati Joseph “Joe” Anoaʻi, was born in Pensacola, Florida in 1985. He comes from the famous Anoaʻi wrestling family.

As a young man, Reigns was a standout football player. He received a full scholarship to play defensive tackle at Georgia Tech. During his time with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, he was named First-Team All-ACC.

After college, Reigns signed with several NFL teams including the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. However, his football career was cut short by injuries and he was forced to retire before ever playing a professional game. This paved the way for his transition into professional wrestling.

Transition to Professional Wrestling

After a successful college football career at Georgia Tech, Roman Reigns was signed by the WWE in 2010 and started training to become a professional wrestler. He was sent to WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling to hone his craft.

Reigns debuted on WWE’s main roster in 2012 as part of the faction The Shield, alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The Shield became one of the most dominant groups in WWE history, utilizing a brutal three-man powerbomb as their finishing maneuver. Reigns quickly stood out for his size, intensity, and explosive in-ring style.

While Reigns was initially positioned as the “powerhouse” of The Shield, he demonstrated versatility by growing into an accomplished performer capable of having great matches with a variety of opponents. His time in The Shield prepared him for singles stardom down the line.

The Shield

Roman Reigns joined WWE’s main roster in 2012 as part of the dominant faction The Shield, alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The trio made an immediate impact, ambushing top stars and using their numbers advantage to dominate matches.

Reigns quickly established himself as the powerhouse of The Shield, utilizing his hard-hitting striking style and explosive spears to defeat opponents. He and Rollins captured the WWE Tag Team Championship twice during their time together.

The Shield was a force in WWE for nearly two years, feuding with top stars like John Cena, The Undertaker, Kane, and Evolution. Their black-ops style gear and entrance through the crowd made them fan favorites despite their villainous tactics.

Eventually, cracks began to form within The Shield, stemming from tensions between Reigns and breakout star Ambrose. Rollins turned on his teammates in 2014, attacking them with a steel chair and effectively dissolving The Shield. This kicked off a rivalry between the former allies that led to excellent matches over the next year.

Singles Career and First WWE Title

After The Shield disbanded in 2014, Roman Reigns rose to main event status as a singles competitor in WWE. He was positioned as the next big star of the company. At the 2015 Royal Rumble, Reigns eliminated Rusev to win the 30-man over-the-top-rope match, earning a title shot at WrestleMania 31.

Reigns went on to headline WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar in the main event. Despite Lesnar dominating most of the match, Reigns was able to rally and hit a spear on Lesnar to win his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This surprise victory established Reigns as a top star and cemented his position as the new face of WWE.

Multiple WWE Championship Reigns

Roman Reigns is a multiple-time WWE Champion, having held the prestigious title 4 times. His first reign came in November 2015 when he defeated Dean Ambrose at Survivor Series to capture the gold. However, his title run only lasted 5 minutes and 15 seconds before Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to win the belt.

Reigns would regain the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 32 by defeating Triple H. This kicked off his longest and most dominant title reign, holding the championship for over 3 months. During this time, Reigns successfully defended against AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and others. He elevated the importance of the WWE Championship with his commanding presence as champion.

After losing the title, Reigns recaptured it on multiple occasions by defeating stars like Brock Lesnar and King Corbin. Across his 4 championship reigns, he has held the title for over 500 days. Roman Reigns’ multi-year dominance and ability to regularly reclaim WWE’s top prize cements his legacy as one of the greatest WWE Champions of the modern era.

Feuds with Top Stars

Roman Reigns has been involved in some of WWE’s biggest feuds and rivalries throughout his career. His impressive physique and wrestling lineage have led him to main event programs against the company’s biggest names. Some of Reigns’ most memorable feuds include:

Brock Lesnar

Reigns and Lesnar have had a heated on-again, off-again rivalry dating back to early 2015. Their hard-hitting clashes highlight the intensity both men bring to the ring. At WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to make the Lesnar vs. Reigns main event a triple threat match, which Rollins won. Lesnar and Reigns finally had a one-on-one WrestleMania match at WrestleMania 34, where Lesnar retained the Universal Championship. Their rivalry continued into 2018 when Reigns won the Universal title from Lesnar at SummerSlam.

John Cena

As the face of WWE, Cena was an early rival for the rising Reigns. They feuded throughout 2015 and 2016, including matches at Payback and SummerSlam. Cena passed the torch by endorsing Reigns after losing to him at No Mercy 2017. Their rivalry reignited when Cena returned in early 2018, leading to a singles match at WrestleMania 34. The back and forth promos between veteran Cena and newcomer Reigns created an electric atmosphere.

The Undertaker

At WrestleMania 33, Reigns defeated The Undertaker in what was likely The Undertaker’s final match. The controversial decision to have Reigns end The Undertaker’s storied WrestleMania streak generated intense heat for Reigns. Their intense buildup and the shocked crowd reaction made it an unforgettable WrestleMania moment.

Leukemia Diagnosis and Return

In October 2018, Reigns relinquished the Universal Championship after announcing on Raw that his leukemia had returned after 11 years in remission. Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoaʻi, was originally diagnosed with leukemia at age 22 in 2007.

Despite the devastating news, Reigns vowed to beat the disease again. He took a leave from WWE to focus on treatment, receiving huge support from both fans and colleagues. After months of treatment, Reigns announced in February 2019 that his leukemia was once again in remission.

Reigns made an emotional return to WWE on the February 25, 2019 episode of Raw, where he updated fans on his condition and confirmed his full-time return. He received a raucous ovation in his first match back in March, defeating Drew McIntyre at Fastlane. Reigns later said his battle with leukemia brought perspective and maturity that made him a better performer.

Tribal Chief Persona

Roman Reigns returned to WWE in 2020 after his leukemia went into remission, and he debuted a new character that would propel him to the top of the company. Aligning with Paul Heyman as his special counsel, Reigns embraced his Samoan heritage and referred to himself as the “Tribal Chief” of WWE.

As the Tribal Chief, Reigns took on a cocky, arrogant persona and exerted his dominance over the rest of the roster. He joined forces with his real-life cousins, The Usos, to form the faction known as The Bloodline. Together, they have controlled the top titles on SmackDown and asserted themselves as the most dominant group in WWE.

Reigns’ Tribal Chief character quickly established him as the top heel in the company. His smug attitude, flashy suits, and vicious in-ring style made him easy to boo, despite his popularity as a heroic character earlier in his career. As a heel, Reigns has had memorable feuds against fan favorites like Daniel Bryan, Edge, and Brock Lesnar. He continues to hold the WWE Universal Championship for over 800 days, the longest world title reign of the modern era.

The Tribal Chief gimmick allowed Reigns to fully embrace his heritage and unleash a more aggressive wrestling style. It propelled him to the peak of WWE as both its top villain and undisputed face of the company.

In-Ring Style and Legacy

Roman Reigns is known for his powerhouse wrestling style and devastating spear-fishing move. At 6’3″ and over 250 pounds, Reigns uses his size and strength to overwhelm opponents. His moves consist of punishing strikes, slams, and throws.

Reigns adopted the spear as his finishing maneuver, using the impactful spear to put away many opponents over the years. His spear is regarded as one of the most powerful in WWE history.

Despite his impressive power moves, Reigns has also shown athleticism by diving over the top rope onto opponents outside the ring. His blend of strength, speed, and agility make him a formidable foe in the ring.

Over his WWE career, Roman Reigns has defeated many top stars and won multiple world championships. He is regarded as one of the top stars of his generation in WWE. Reigns has headlined multiple WrestleManias and consistently delivers in big-match situations.

His unique look, wrestling style, and championship accomplishments have cemented Roman Reigns as a modern WWE legend with a lasting legacy. Reigns remains a focal point of WWE programming and one of the company’s most prominent superstars. Visit our Website Time Speed Magazine.

Life Outside WWE

Roman Reigns, real name Joe Anoaʻi, has a life outside of WWE as well. He is married to Galina Joelle Becker, whom he met in college, and they have five children together.

In addition to wrestling, Reigns has dabbled in acting. He had a supporting role as the brother of Jason Momoa’s character in the 2016 film Countdown. He also starred alongside The Miz in the 2020 action film Muscle and Fitness. Additionally, Reigns voiced the character of Koba in the 2016 animated film Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania.

While Reigns keeps his personal life fairly private, it’s clear he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids when he’s not in the ring. He has achieved an impressive work-life balance between his WWE career and family life.

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