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Wrestling / Roman Reigns

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The Tribal Chief.
The Head of the Table.
The Mountain.
"Acknowledge me."

Leati Joseph "Joe" Anoa'i (born May 25, 1985) is a Samoan-American professional wrestler. A former college Collegiate American Football player for Georgia Tech, then briefly a pro-football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Edmonton Eskimos, he signed a developmental contract with WWE in July 2010, and was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental promotion, using the ring name Roman Leakee. While in FCW, Roman and partner Mike Dalton won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship off of Corey Graves and Jake Carter in June 15, 2012, before CJ Parker and Jason Jordan won it off them on July 13, 2012. Renamed Roman Reigns when FCW was rebranded as NXT, he debuted on the main roster at the 2012 Survivor Series PPV as a member of The Shield alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

While a part of the group, Reigns was a WWE Tag Team Champion (with Rollins), tied the WWE record for most eliminations in a Survivor Series elimination match with four in 2013, and set the record for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match with 12 at the 2014 match. After the dissolution of The Shield in June 2014, Reigns became a singles competitor, winning the 2015 Royal Rumble, the 2014 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award, and becoming a three time WWE Champion, a one-time United States Champion, a one-time Intercontinental Champion, and a Grand Slam Champion. He is also a two-time Universal Champion. He won his first Universal Title from Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018 after an indirect distraction from Braun Strowman. On the October 22, 2018 episode of Raw, Reigns relinquished the Universal Championship after announcing that he would be taking time away from WWE to battle leukemia. On the February 25, 2019 episode of Raw, four months after that announcement, he revealed that his leukemia was in remission and he was returning to wrestling once more.

In the lead up to WrestleMania 36, he was going to be facing off against Goldberg for the Universal Title. However, due to COVID-19 and his compromised immune system, he was quietly replaced by Braun Strowman and didn't appear for several months. He finally came back at the end of SummerSlam 2020 by attacking both Strowman and Bray Wyatt after their match, finally turning heel and working with Paul Heyman as his manager, gaining the Universal Champion title for a second time at Payback.

Reigns has held that title for more than 3 yearsnote  now, defending it successfully at three consecutive WrestleMania events, including a title-for-title match at WrestleMania 38.

In September 7, 2021, the Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine declared him the second best wrestler of 2021, behind Kenny Omega, for their annual PWI 500 listing. He would go on to take the top spot the next year in 2022, becoming one of seven men to top the list more than once. note 

"Acknowledge these tropes":

  • Aborted Arc:
    • For a few weeks in NXT, he wore a suit while making promos about being "always dressed to impress" and viewing himself as "the most valuable commodity in WWE." Wherever this gimmick was going, it got dropped when he debuted with The Shield.
    • His feud with Seth Rollins in 2015 was cut short after Reigns required emergency surgery because of a hernia. They've had encounters since then but never a truly sustained feud like Ambrose and Rollins did after the break up of the Shield.
    • His feud with Bray Wyatt at one point involved having Wyatt making threatening remarks while showing a picture of Reigns' daughter. This particular part of the angle was quickly abandoned, as Reigns was understandably uncomfortable with it.
    • A second feud with Seth Rollins was also cut short. Reigns earned a title shot against World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins at Survivor Series 2015. Unfortunately Rollins got injured and had to relinquish his title.
    • His leukemia recurrence ended his feud with Braun Strowman and the larger feud of the Shield vs. Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre. Though the feud as a whole pretty much ended the week before with the Strowman team disintegrating, one has to wonder if WWE knew about Reigns' recurrence that far ahead.
  • Action Dad: He has five children. The oldest, a daughter named Joelle, appeared with him in a public service announcement in June 2014. He and his wife also had twin boys in 2016, but kept that under wraps until his appearances on Chris Jericho's podcast and Straight to the Source. They had another set of twins in 2020.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • When Rusev taunted him on the April 11, 2016 episode of Raw ("I'm bigger than you, I'm stronger than you... and yes, I'm better-looking than you too.") Roman visibly cracked up. To be fair, the comic timing of Rusev's delivery was pretty much perfect.
    • He was also visibly struggling to keep it together when the Raw and Smackdown Survivor Series 2016 teams faced off and Chris Jericho decided to put AJ Styles' Soccer Mom Hair on the List of Jericho...
    • During this segment of Kevin Owens jawing with an accountant fan he actually has to cover his face to stop the fans seeing him laughing.
    • During one of many Bloodline segments featuring Sami Zayn, when Jey Uso yells he doesn’t give a damn if Roman wants Jey and Sami to make peace, Sami tries to calm a clearly furious Roman by saying Jey just isn’t himself lately and isn’t “feeling... very ucey”. Roman, despite trying to sell being furious, can’t help but pause for awhile trying to comprehend "Ucey" while cracking a smile. When the crowd starts chanting “UCEY! UCEY!”, he just gives up any pretense and starts visibly laughing before just leaning into the ridiculousness of it all and saying Jey needs to find his “inner ucey” or Roman’s going to officially induct Sami into the actual family and rename him “Sami Uso”.
  • A God Am I: During his Tribal Chief run. This trope was subtly there at first, but really kicked in after he defeated Brock Lesnar to unify both the Universal and WWE titles at Wrestlemania 38, effectively becoming the top heel in WWE. As the man himself put it, he's in "GOD mode" (as in "Greatness On a Different level"). Once he reaches the 1000 days mark as Champion, he openly acknowledge that he is no longer human and has already ascended. When he is received his first pinfall loss for the first time in nearly four years at Money in the Bank 2023, the commentators highlight that Roman is indeed human.
  • Alliterative Name: Roman Reigns.
  • Always Second Best: As of 2018, he holds the record of most times a wrestler was the final entrant to be eliminated in a Royal Rumble match, a record he would beat two years later (he's a four-time runner-up to be specific). Of course, having already won said match (in 2015) before his second stint as a runner-up downplays this.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Roman appears to have met his in Braun Strowman. Braun's bigger, stronger, tougher, and just as fast as Roman. While Roman's shown that he can beat Braun, it's usually by the skin of his teeth, and he's come up short in most of their encounters, whether it be in matches or brawls, though as of this writing, Roman did ultimately, definitively beat Braun in their final encounter.
    • Brock Lesnar appears to be this as well. Their first encounter at WrestleMania 31 was inconclusive due to Rollins' MITB cash-in, but since then Lesnar has beaten Reigns twice, once in the Universal Title Fatal 4-Waynote  at SummerSlam 2017, and then again at WrestleMania 34 in a vicious one-on-one bout that saw Roman tank FIVE F-5's, an array of suplexes and Lesnar brutally cutting him open with stiff elbows and bare-knuckle strikes before falling victim to a sixth F-5 and the three count. Brock's sheer level of brutality has gotten the better of him each time. Even if he did get a clean win over Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018, it's because Strowman was there for the entire match and Lesnar is too distracted to fight back after beating up Strowman when Reigns knocked him out cold with a spear.
  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness: Originally, Roman's heel turn in 2020 is implied to be the result of years of setbacks, failing to keep the world title for prolong periods and poor fan reception. However, several of his promos, such as during his feud with Seth in 2022 suggests that Roman was always the worst member of the Shield since their formation and only goes along with the facade of a babyface that was presented to him by the WWE in order to become successful before showing his true colors in 2020 when he realizes that the path of a babyface isn't working for him. This is somewhat supported when Seth Rollins still has fond memories of the time when they and Dean were together while Roman does not.
  • Animal Motifs: With dogs. The Shield was known as the Hounds of Justice and was used as attack dogs by CM Punk and the Authority. During his initial singles run, he was known as the Big Dog, both to describe his size and his role as the next "top dog" in the company. Fitting as a dog, he was the most loyal member of the Shield and cares for his compatriots. As the Tribal Chief, he is often compared to a bulldog, a big brute who bullies others who are smaller than him and if he is being sadistic at the moment, he is likened to a rabid dog.
  • Anti-Hero: After The Shield turned face (and eventually disbanded), he continued displaying similar tactics to the ones The Shield used as heels, just now against different targets:
    • He pretty much tried to murder Seth Rollins with a cinderblock after Rollins curbstomped Ambrose through one, and tried to do the same to Reigns. After fighting Rollins and Kane off, Reigns picked up one of the cinderblocks and circled around Rollins so he would see it coming before hurling it at Rollins's head. Rollins got out of the way, obviously, but damn.
    • He tried more or less to play the straight hero for a while... then TLC 2015 happened, which was one screw-over too many, and he sort of lost it at that point. In a 24-hour period, he laid waste to (almost) the entire League of Nations (twice), put Triple H in a hospital, and punched out Vince McMahon himself.
    • Then comes Great Balls of Fire, where Roman outright tries to murder Braun Strowman via vehicular homicide by crashing an ambulance with Strowman inside after losing to Strowman in an ambulance match.
    • After Dean Ambrose suffered a legitimate injury during a match that put Roman and his Shield brothers against Sheamus, Cesaro, and Samoa Joe, Joe took credit for putting Dean out of commission and expressed great pride in having done so. The following week on Raw, Roman - at the time defending his Intercontinental Title - responded to this by beating Joe so brutally, he got himself disqualified from the match. After which an undeterred Roman continued flattening Joe into goop.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • The Authority, particularly Triple H. It seems the primary locus of the Authority feud post-Daniel Bryan has essentially come down to him vs. Triple H, with the stable's erstwhile centerpieces Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Sheamus serving as Triple H's proxies. First Triple H did many things to slowly piss Reigns off even as far back as the Shield run, between having Kane bring the then-dysfunctional Shield back in line by any means necessary including beating them up with the New Age Outlaws when they wouldn't stay off The Wyatt Family (more on that below), and then trying to have them take out Daniel Bryan and cost him the title after the fact like it was still SummerSlam 2013. This resulted in Reigns spearing Triple H to cement the Shield's face turn and directing pointed Twitter comments about kings and soldiers towards Triple H during the ensuing Shield vs. Evolution feud. Following Triple H's Plan B, causing Seth Rollins to betray him and Dean Ambrose, he left the matter of Rollins' due receipts on Ambrose's plate while focusing on physically showing up Randy Orton for the Broken Ace he really was — until Orton was no longer part of the Authority. Then they were fine. Meanwhile, Triple H and his cronies kept on pushing his buttons — helping Rollins win the briefcase that screwed him out of his WrestleMania moment, all the crap they put Dean through,note  then letting the bros think they were fighting for a clean and fair shot to walk out as the champ after Rollins got hurt only to pull the same shenanigans as before with Sheamus. Reigns eventually couldn't take it anymore and all but destroyed Triple H, leaving him lying in a hospital bed, only for Triple H to decide to get rid of the proxies, enter in the Royal Rumble as the #30 in which Reigns was forced by the McMahons to enter as the #1 to defend the title, and eliminate him and win the title. At this point, Triple H and he might very well become enemies for life — even Wyatt didn't piss him off this much.
    • Bray Wyatt. Another feud that goes back to the Shield days. The Wyatt Family and The Shield first butted heads in fall 2013, but avoided coming to blows due to having common enemies. The same wasn't true in early 2014 when the Wyatts cost the Shield a chance to enter a WWE title match at the Elimination Chamber by interfering and attacking John Cena — which set up both Bray's feud with Cena and the interceding Wyatt Family vs. Shield six-man tag team wars of awesome over the next few months. Although the Wyatts served as a test for the psyche of the Shield as a whole, it was clear even then that Reigns was the primary focus of Bray's interest among the Hounds of Justice. In the year's time following the breakup of the two stables, Bray picked feuds with Ambrose as well as Reigns. While he was malicious and scathing towards Dean, he was far more so towards Roman — Reigns was the one Wyatt continuously insisted he'd allow anyone but to succeed, the one whose daughter he implicitly threatened at one point, and the one he reconvened the Wyatt Family against. The latter fact caused Roman and Dean to realign once again and pick up random third partners to take the Family on, including the aforementioned Orton and even accepting what they thought would be Seth Rollins' help for one night because they were such a problem. When it came down to it, the true conflict is between Reigns and Wyatt, and the hatred only seemed to grow week by week. It eventually culminated in a Hell in a Cell match, because the two hated each other that much. And even moving forward, Bray was quick to promise that he and Roman would lock horns again, and he openly endorsed the McMahons' quest to deprive Reigns of the title.
    • He was at war with Braun Strowman since the beginning of 2017. Notably, Reigns ended Strowman's undefeated streak in single runs at Fastlane 2017 and both had interfered in each other's Universal Championship matches. The two have literally tried to kill each other, and that's not hyperbole. Braun launched Roman off of a loading dock while Roman was still strapped to a stretcher and then tipped over the ambulance Reigns was loaded into. Weeks later, Reigns responded by forcing Strowman into an ambulance and then backing the ambulance into a semi-truck at full speed.
    • Following his return from battling cancer and his moving from Raw to SmackDown Live, the first big personal feud he got into was with Shane McMahon after Shane took issue with Roman Superman Punching his father Vince, with Elias getting involved on Shane's side in retaliation for Roman upstaging him on the same occasion. As of July 2019 the feud is ongoing, but while Roman's opinion of Shane is in no danger of going up, he has developed a conjoined mutual hatred and rivalry with Drew McIntyre, now The Dragon to Shane, that's even more intense and personal than his rivalry with Shane due to Drew helping Shane win matches and dragging Roman's kids into it.
    • Baron Corbin in late 2019 the feud was started when Corbin mocks Reigns's 'Big Dog' nickname.
    • Jey Uso after he became the number one contender for the Universal Championship.
    • Kevin Owens. They started a feud in late-2016 when Reigns challenged Owens for the Universal Championship at Roadblock but was unable to win the title after Chris Jericho interfered in the match by attacking Owens. Reigns still got a rematch at the Royal Rumble 2017 and was still unsuccessful after Braun Strowman interfered in the match by attacking Reigns this time, the feud ending when Reigns transitioned to feuding with Strowman. They resumed the feud in late 2020 when it became Owens' turn to challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship at TLC 2020 and Royal Rumble 2021, but Reigns successfully retained the title. However the 2020 feud was far more personal, as they'd both switched sides of the face/heel axis since their last feud, with Roman determined to make Owens bow down to and respect him, and Owens refusing to back down or give up no matter how badly Roman and Jey Uso battered him.
    • Finn Balor. Balor became Reigns's enemy after Balor refused to acknowledge him and instead challenged him for the Universal Championship.
    • Seth Rollins. Despite all their back-and-forth team-ups over the years since the initial dissolution of The Shield, Reigns admitted during their early 2022 feud that, no matter how hard he tried, he has never been able to forgive Rollins for betraying Ambrose and him that fateful night, and never will. Rollins also has the dubious honor of being the only person on this list that Reigns has explicitly admitted to hating.
      Reigns: Chair to my back? Breaking up the Shield... I've tried to forgive you. I really have. But I'll never forgive you for what you did to us. I hate you.
    • Brock Lesnar. Starting in 2015, with the beginning of Reigns's main event singles push, the two of them have clashed time and time again over both the WWE and Universal Championships, with Reigns almost always in the losing position. Lesnar is one of, if not the only person, that's ever been able to consistently get the better of Reigns, something that frustrates Reigns to no end. The feud only became more personal during Lesnar's return to WWE in 2021, as Reigns had claimed Paul Heyman as his new manager in the interim — and Heyman ultimately chose to side with Reigns over Lesnar.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He loved the idea that he could be (and, for a while, was) the one to retire The Undertaker, and refused to listen to Shawn Michaels's advice about the match prior to WrestleMania. He has also found a way to mention more than once that he headlined four straight WrestleManias (from 31 to 34). On an episode of Raw, he told Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman, as plainly as he could, that he's done much more in WWE than they have. And, at least once, he's simply told the fans "I can't be beaten one-on-one in a fair fight whether you like it or not." And all this was before he turned heel, at which point this trope became as natural to Roman as drawing breath.
  • The Artifact: The last one out of The Shield to keep various trappings of the group for his own following the split in June 2014. Reigns kept coming down the aisle through the crowd like The Shield used to do until March 2016, wearing the black paramilitary-style gear until March 2020, and using a variation of The Shield's theme until April 2021. This later became Tropes Are Tools during his heel run, where it became gradually clear during his feud with Seth Rollins that, despite seemingly acting otherwise for years, Reigns was actually the member of the group who was damaged the most by the stable's dissolution. The reason why he kept all those trappings for so long is because he was unable to let go of the Shield until recently, and even then he still loves it enough to admit that he's never going to forgive Rollins for breaking the team up.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: As the physical best wrestler in his generation of the Samoan Dynasty (who also believes he's the best of his generation period), Reigns has been declared the Tribal Chief in 2020.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: For a few weeks in NXT he wore a suit while making promos before he joined the Shield.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The following exchange with Brock Lesnar:
      Lesnar: Unlike [Paul Heyman], I don't respect you.
      Reigns: But you will.
    • The night after WrestleMania 33. Roman's just beat The Undertaker the night before, adding colossal insult to his detractors' emotional injury by Taker symbolically leaving his gloves, coat, and hat in the center of the ring, basically meaning that Roman was retiring The Deadman. Roman stands in the ring for the better part of fifteen minutes, stoically enduring a carpet bombing of vitriolic chants from the assembled crowd, who all boo him even louder whenever the microphone gets anywhere close to his mouth. When Roman finally gets a sentence in edgeways, he says all of five words: "This is my yard now." Roman drops the microphone and leaves, to the loudest chorus of booing of the entire night.
  • Badbutt:
    • Not intentionally, as he's actually more free to use mild curse words than others on the roster, but can sometimes come across as this with certain lines he's given to say by Vince McMahon. The design of a character is usually correlated with how they act; Roman was booked as a badass fighter in riot gear during The Shield. Now imagine that warrior saying that Seth Rollins is "full of Sufferin' Succotash, son!", or repeatedly call Sheamus a "tater tot." Many of these lines sound like things Reigns's cousin The Rock would say; in fact, Rock has used the "sufferin' succotash" line in a promo on Booker T during the Alliance storyline in 2001. The difference is Rock had an incredibly rare gift of gab and was packaged as a cool jock to match, both sharp contrasts from the warrior-vested introvert Reigns. Thus, the same kinds of odd expressions The Rock can make sound natural or even get trending worldwide just by claiming the fact will come across as flat, weird, and even somewhat dim coming from Reigns.note 
    • Averted during his 2017 feud with John Cena. Roman, on multiple occasions, referred to Cena as a "fake-ass bitch" or some variant thereof.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: His second feud with Lesnar ends with a him getting much sweeter win over his opponent in WrestleMania 38 (albeit with some distraction from Heyman and a title shot on Lesnar's head) and unfiying the two world titles, effectively becoming "GOD" (as in "Greatness on a different level") as a result.
  • Baddie Flattery:
    • Paul Heyman can't stop heaping it on him, right before saying that despite being as good as he is, he still can't beat Brock Lesnar... at least in a straight fight.
    • Samoa Joe described Roman as "a world-class athlete with a wrecking ball for a right hand", though again insisted that he was Roman's better.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: During his second feud with Brock Lesnar at Wrestle Mania 34, he decried Brock as a part time champion. Fast forward to the 2021, and Roman (while) had become a part-time champ himself especially signing a new deal which dramatically reduced his house schedule and TV schedule.
  • Benevolent Boss: In Real Life Reigns is very much a leader in the WWE men's locker room, but is widely considered a kind and fair one. In the wake of his announcement that his leukemia had returned, Aleister Black related a story about how he'd long made a habit of cleaning up and organising the locker rooms of whatever stadium he went to in order to earn the respect of whatever promotion he was fighting for, and stopped doing so when he came to WWE because Roman asked him to, which he did purely because he wanted Black to know he was part of the locker room.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't tell him that he couldn't beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (or, later, the WWE Universal Championship). He'd call your bluff and challenge you to a match just to shut you up.
    • Do not hurt Dean Ambrose. His Big Brother Instinct will go into overdrive. Samoa Joe went and jammed that button and Roman saw red whenever Joe showed up.
    • Never harm or talk bad about Roman's family. Vince, The Authority, AJ Styles, and Drew McIntyre found that out the hard way.
    • The first break-up of The Shield. Initially, it seemed like Reigns was able to move on from what happened that night and ignore any taunts made about it. However, as revealed during his feud with Seth Rollins in 2022, he's never been able to get over it, much like Ambrose — he was just better at hiding it.
    • Insubordination from the Bloodline. He's not big on You Have Outlived Your Usefulness as he is always willing to give his family or crew another chance in a rare form of Pragmatic Villainy for a wrestler. But you do NOT dare disobey him or, even worse, disrespect him especially when he's in earshot. Your best case scenario at that point is him delivering the most terrifying Death Glare in the business. Your worst case is that you end up in the ground.
  • Big Bad: After his Face–Heel Turn in 2020, ascending to the top villain for SmackDown if not the entire WWE, recruiting his cousins, The Usos, to join him with Paul Heyman to form The Bloodline as by far the most powerful heel faction in years. His position as the undisputed top of the villainous pecking order was solidified after unifying the world championships at WrestleMania 38, confirming that he has officially supplanted Brock Lesnar as the new Final Boss of the WWE roster.
  • Big Brother Bully: Downplayed on two counts; Roman is less than three months older than Jimmy and Jey Uso, and he's also their older cousin, not older brother. Regardless, Reigns bullies the two of them with a clear "older sibling, younger sibling" dynamic. Exemplified well in this segment on SmackDown in May 2023, in which Jimmy appears to be fed up with Roman throwing his weight around:
    Roman: Do something. What's different? Ain't nothing change. Think back when we was kids. I whooped you then. I'll whoop you now. You're gonna respect me. You're gonna obey me. You're gonna acknowledge me.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Towards Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, his Shield "brothers." He was very protective of them and did not hesitate to wreck anyone who tried to get at them. He also makes a point of going to check on them to make sure they're not hurt. When they're not in a match, Reigns acts like an affectionate big brother: clapping them on the shoulders, bantering with them, bodily dragging them away from enemies they aren't ready to face, etc. During his feud with Seth, he had a tag match against him where he told him, "You'll always be my little brother," making it unclear if he still cares about Seth even after the latter's betrayal or if Roman was just playing mind-games (though as time went on, it's been implied that it was the former). He's still got this for Ambrose long after the dissolution of the Shield.
    • A dark descontruction when he is a heel. He still protects his cousins from their enemies but only after beating the shit out of them and demanding them respect.
  • The Big Guy: After The Shield turned face.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": On the receiving end of one of the most epic on record. After the bout where he put an end to The Undertaker, when he entered the ring for the Raw after the event, the entire stadium booed him over and over again each time he tried to put a microphone up to his lips, going from "YOU SUCK!" to "ASSHOLE!" before finally erupting in a chorus of, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!"
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: At Money in the Bank 2023, while the London crowd sings "stand up if you hate Roman", Roman responds by childishly whining to Paul Heyman that "England's the worst, the dumbest place of all time."
  • Bittersweet Ending: This is how his SummerSlam 2018 rematch against Lesnar (and their four years worth of feud) ends. While Reigns did get a clean win over Lesnar, it's not because of his experiences in the PPV matches against Joe, Mahal, and Lashley a few months ago, but because Strowman's presence in the ring forces Lesnar to stop him from cashing in his MitB contract and Reigns took advantage of this by slaying a distracted Lesnar with a spear.
  • Blood Knight: There are times where he is way too willing to fight.
  • Book Ends: Reigns started his ascent to the top at the 2015 Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, who booed him out of the building. He completed his ascent eleven months later, in the very same city, on the December 14, 2015 edition of Raw, and the crowd that once shunned him couldn't cheer loud enough when he won the title.
  • Breakout Character: Since it's become more obvious in the booking that WWE looks at Reigns as a potential successor to the top face throne, there was a bit of fear about him from fans that were afraid of what this could mean for Rollins and Ambrose's post-Shield futures—namely a lack thereof. This was understandable, as WWE has been detrimentally addicted to the idea of manufacturing breakup breakouts ever since Shawn Michaels unintentionally left his Rockers tag team partner Marty Jannetty in the dust. This calmed down significantly once the breakup of the Shield and the resulting storyline completely laid bare the fact that WWE intended to do major things with all three of them. Furthermore, everything suggests that Rollins and Ambrose have as good a chance as any in recent memory of averting the pattern, having been given enough character depth from their time in developmental all the way into the stretch of their run with the Shield that no one can objectively deny their importance, culminating with all three of them becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champions by June 2016.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Right when he's about to have a big singles match on pay-per-view against Seth Rollins, fate will intervene and cut it off with an injury before the match can happen. Twice. note  Averted in 2016 when Rollins came back to reclaim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while Reigns was the champion. Reigns had failed a Wellness test prior to the event where their match was to finally take place, but that wasn't a reason to stop the match yet again, just to have Rollins beat him when it finally happened.
    • Right when he's on the cusp of walking out of a show as the WWE Champion, he gets blindsided and pinned by the Money in the Bank contract holder and Authority-chosen centerpiece whose full ring name both starts and end with the letter S. Also twice.note 
  • The Brute: Shows shades of this. He's by far the largest and most muscular man of The Shield. He also talks the least (but when he does, it's usually REALLY LOUD), and he does the most heavy lifting on the trio.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He is half-Italian from his mother's side, but WWE chooses to ignore this in favor of his father's (much more prominent) Samoan lineage.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Believe that", seemingly a variation/reference to the Shield's "Believe in the Shield".
    • "Assess and attack" was this for a while after the Shield's breakup.
    • "Ah, yessir" is his sillier catchphrase, stemming from his teenage years.
    • After winning the WWE title (to mixed at best reviews), he's started his ring promos with "I'm not a bad guy, I'm not a good guy, but I'm the guy".
    • "This is my yard" after beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. Transformed into "This is my island" after his Face–Heel Turn.
    • The Head of the Table has taken to telling Jey Uso "if he disrespects you, he's disrespecting the family. If he's disrespecting the family, he's disrespecting me".
    • "Acknowledge me." As the Head of the Table, Reigns is telling people to admit that he's the best. Try to disagree, and he'll make you a believer. Painfully. Since the return to live touring in July 2021, he prefaces the catchphrase by saying the name of whatever city he's in that night.
  • Character in the Logo: His shape doing the Superman Punch is in the middle of the two R in his logo.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Roman places near impossibly high expectations on himself as “the Head of the Table,” believing his success is what puts food on the table for not just his family or his stable but for the entire WWE and will do anything and everything to maintain his spot as the top guy in the WWE. This toxic level of self-importance has given Roman a sense that anything he does— from cheating in matches to abusing his family members— is justified in order to keep food on the table of everyone he believes he’s responsible for.
  • Character Shilling:
    • His initial singles run following the Shield break up in 2014 has commentators and backstage officials, both in and out-universe, constantly praising his wrestling skills and performance non-stop, despite most of them are full of crap and is nothing more than WWE trying heavily to push Roman as the best. Most notably, Paul Heyman was heavily critised in 2015 when he commented that Roman is better than "any other guy in history" and everyone from the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, André the Giant, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena are inferior to Roman.
    • For all the hype of WWE promoting Roman's 1000+ days reign as Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, as of November 2023, he has only defended his title 54 times, including in house shows and dark matches note . In comparison, Hulk Hogan, whose first reign Roman aimed to surpass, has defended his title a whopping 468 timesnote . Even other wrestlers who held a championship for over a year on the main roster in the last decade (CM Punk, The New Day, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch) have defended their title nearly a hundred times or more despite their reigns' lasted a quarter of Roman's. Add to the fact that he rarely wins a match without outside interference note , all the promos don't do Roman any justice. He is a heel champion, but this makes it a bit harder to take him seriously as a dominant one.
  • Cheap Pop: A rare instance of a heel invoking this trope, Roman often prefaces his catchphrase of "Acknowledge me" with the name of the city the show is in.
  • The Chosen One:
    • This trope is played with in his heel gimmick. Roman certainly considers himself as such as the Tribal Chief and the Head of the Table. And despite his ego, he can back it up. However, this lends itself to supreme arrogance, believing that no one else should be at the top because he feeds his family with the world title. But it's clear that this is just a self-serving lie to do whatever he wants anyways.
    • He was already given this role from the moment the Shield disbanded in 2014, with WWE doing everything in their power to make sure he is their next big star at the cost of other more popular wrestlers.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Near the end of the SummerSlam 2018 main event, Reigns launches a surprise attack on Lesnar after the latter is done beating up Strowman to prevent a cash-in.
  • Composite Character:
    • The penchant for spears and the looks (as well as the through-the-crowd entrance) of early-career Edge, the color, bloodline, and physical profile of The Rock, and athleticism to match them both. All that's missing now is the polish, both in the ring and on the mic. Lampshaded by Edge himself.
    • As mentioned in Expy, one could also make the argument he's an early-career composite of The Rock, Edge, John Cena, Kevin Nash, Batista and Randy Orton, with traits from each.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Roman is often considered to be the next John Cena, ie the face of the company, and much like Cena, Roman was often booed by fans despite being a babyface. One of the main differences between the two (the other big difference being that Roman, even when his booking was at it's absolute worst and he was being given awful material to work with, was still more of an Anti-Hero which is something Cena hasn't been since 2005) is that Cena started out as a heel jobber, who slowly climbed up the ladder to become a main event star while Roman started out as part of a major faction and was immediately pushed as a main event talent the moment he went solo. Cena tends to wear bright colors and his characters are highly charismatic and engaging toward the crowd, whereas Roman wears dark colors and doesn't speak much. While both receive negative responses from the audience, Cena either ignores and sometimes goes along with them while Roman slowly lets their criticism corrupt his sanity and morality. What made Roman's rise to the top so turbulent, in fact, is that the company tended to ignore the differences between the two of them and push him as if he were Cena anyway, which the fans hated because they didn't want a new Cena after over a decade of having him on top. Ultimately, Roman was only able to truly succeed Cena as the next face of the company by turning heel, as that was as far away from Cena's character as you could get.
  • Cool Shades: Often cut promos with them on in FCW and NXT during his brief "boss" gimmick in between an injury and the Shield.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: His WrestleMania 34 rematch against Lesnar ends badly for him when The Beast performed a sixth F-5 on him for the win. Possibly even more of a Twist Ending than initially believed, with rumours flying that an audible was called and the result was changed from Roman winning to Brock winning while the match was in progress in response to the terrible crowd reaction. The WWE later revealed that they still have a score to settle in a steel cage match at the Greatest Royal Rumble (and not to mention, the first implication of Reigns' first-ever solo Face–Heel Turn based on what the fans saw at the aforementioned PPV event).
  • Cue the Flying Pigs:
    • Many fans felt this way when Philadelphia marked out for him, especially after what happened eleven months prior. Reigns went from Creator's Pet to the most popular face in the company not named Daniel Bryan or Dean Ambrose, in the span of twenty-four hours — seemingly undoing a lot if not all the damage his Cena-type booking had caused. And all it took was a ten minute-No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Triple H. Even the biggest of his fans were a bit disoriented by the sway in the majority opinion, especially in such a short amount of time.
    • When he started losing clean, this was the reaction of the fans, who had been conditioned to react as if he were Cena and would win all the time and only lose via shenanigans. First he lost to Seth Rollins (which one could argue wasn't clean because there was a ref bump at one point), then Dean Ambrose (though it was a triple threat match, Roman ate the pin), and then Finn Bálor, a guy who had just been called up from developmental (clean as a whistle).
    • The Miz should have checked the skies first week of October, 2017, as he smugly declared that the rumours of The Shield coming back were false. Roman Reigns response to it? An even more smug grin, absolutely ignorant of what The Miz was saying, as he declared simply, "Who said anything about rumors?", shortly before his two best friends return, and the beatdown commences.
    • Not long after that, Roman took Miz's IC Title, clean as a whistle save for Seth and Dean preventing Sheamus and Cesaro from interfering on Miz's behalf. He was cheered.
    • His 2020 heel turn was pretty much something that no one thought would happen. Him finally ditching the vest after nearly 9 years with it on was the cherry on top. The new theme song "Head of the Table" was extra sprinkles.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Roman: As a matter of fact, Brock Lesnar does not give a sh-
    Kurt Angle: We know how you feel, Roman.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The dissolution of The Shield. Anyone who even bothers to do even so much as a surface analysis of Reigns' character will be able to tell that Reigns never got over the end of the stable, and it is the main reason why he treats his family so terribly in a bid to keep them with him. In addition to the trauma of having such a close brotherhood shattered in such a heartbreaking betrayal, the end of the Shield was basically the beginning of all of Reigns' struggles as a performer. He lost his popularity with the fans thanks to bad booking and eventually ended up becoming the most hated wrestler on the main roster as a face, he was never able to hold on to a world title for an extended reign (with one reign ending because his leukemia came back), he was unable to reunite the Shield (with his best friend Dean Ambrose becoming so disillusioned with the company that he ended up leaving WWE altogether), and when he decided to take an extended break at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in order to protect his family, the company started freezing him out. Having so many of the worst moments of his career tied to that one event, it's no wonder why even the slightest reminder of it tends to set Reigns off, even as a heel who is supposedly above the stable now.
  • A Day in the Limelight: As a member of The Shield, Reigns first got his time in the sun at Survivor Series 2013, when he eliminated four of a five-man team. The focus on him continued through to the end of the Shield's feud with The Wyatt Family. In the midst of this was the 2014 Royal Rumble, where he made his Rumble debut in a big way, staying in for over 30 minutes and breaking Kane's 13-year record by throwing out 12 people.
  • Darker and Edgier: His "Wreck everything and leave" or "Tribal Chief" gimmick is basically this in a nutshell, where he'll do what it takes to win, even developing a sadistic, manipulative side to get what he wants. His addition of a Guillotine Choke as his Finishing Move fits very well on his new persona.
  • Death from Above: Only uses it very rarely, but is capable of an over-the-top-rope suicide plancha. 265 pounds of pure flying Samoan muscle.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Played with. The reason why Reigns got a clean win over Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018 is because Lesnar turned his attention to Strowman and attacked him. Reigns took advantage of the distraction and after claiming the Universal Title from Lesnar, The Big Dog rubs it in front of Heyman's face. He also ended the undefeated streak of several wrestlers such as Finn Balor (since his debut at the main roster), Braun Strowman (since leaving the Wyatt Family), and Cody Rhodes (since his return in 2022).
  • Determinator: His match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31: went through three F-5s, countless trips to, as Lesnar coined it, "Suplex City," and even earning a couple of hard slaps, and he still went ahead and busted Lesnar open. Twice.
    • Out of character, Joe Anoa'i fought off leukemia in order to become a professional wrestler, and when it returned to plague him again eleven years later he managed to force it back into remission and be back in the ring again in only about four months.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: At WrestleMania 31. While exactly what he was saying couldn't be made out, from the look on his face, he was talking some serious trash to Brock Lesnar even as Brock delivered a beating on the level of the one he had handed Cena at SummerSlam. On more than one occasion during the match, he laughed at Lesnar while Roman himself was being pummeled and thrown around the ring.
  • Disappointed in You: This seemed to be the case with Seth Rollins. Reigns was always more reasonable when it came to Rollins than Ambrose was, looking more disappointed that his brother bought into Triple H's promises of prestige and power while being blind to his own inevitable betrayal later down the line. Later, when that betrayal eventually happened and Rollins became remorseful and willing to make amends, Reigns was the first one to forgive him for what he did. However, years later, this is revealed to all have been an act; Reigns actually hates Rollins even more than Ambrose did and has never been able to truly forgive him, no matter how much he wanted to, no matter how hard he tried.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Roman's Face–Heel Turn of late 2020 sees him playing a role similar to that of a ruthless Mafia Don. He's placed a significant emphasis on family (and being the one who is at the top of the family), showing tough love to his subordinates, has some Affably Evil moments (such as refusing to fight Kevin Owens because "there's a lady in the ring"), and is obsessed with using fear as a weapon of control and power. Additionally, he rarely gets his own hands dirty, throwing his cousin Jey Uso into the fire to fight his battles for him. For bonus points, Roman is Italian on his mother's side. His rivals have actually derided him as a "community theater mob boss” or the like. And then there’s this promo for Wrestlemania 2023, a clear Shout-Out to GoodFellas.
    • Running subtly under the above implication is something more insidious. Almost from day one of his heel run, Roman has systematically twisted, warped, and manipulated Jimmy and Jey into his puppets, heaping them with praise and accolades when they succeed and show sufficient loyalty to him and relentlessly tormenting them when they step out of line or disappoint him. In all ways but open acknowledgement, Roman is to his cousins what abusive, controlling loved ones are to millions of people, everywhere.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Even though Reigns is currently a Heel, he gave Lesnar a rather nasty No-Holds-Barred Beatdown (including busting the latter's head open) during the MSG 2022 event. Considering the fact that Lesnar had no problems doing the same to Reigns back when he was the Heel with Heyman at his side during their 2018 feud, Reigns' actions have their justifications.
    • His beat down of Seth Rollins at the 2022 Rumble qualifies as this as well. Despite Roman the top heel in the company in terms of place on the card, Seth is far more despicable as a heel, making Roman the face by default.
  • Dramatic Irony: One of the reasons why fans dislike Roman's face run was because despite being painted as the "next John Cena" note , Roman did very few things that can be presented as a face, even by standards of an anti-hero who is at his limits. He tends to brag even more than a heel and acted sour whenever he loses a match to a heel, even if it's clean. This is also shown during a face vs. face match where he acted more like a heel and rarely shows any good sportsmanship. An example was when he supposedly retires the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33, he doesn't show any remorse for ending the career of a beloved legend unlike with Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair at XXIV and Taker with Michales at XXVI. Furthermore, face vs. face matches are usually title matches while for Reigns, it is adding another accomplishment to his list, resulting in him being as much a Hero Killer as a heel.
  • The Dreaded:
    • As a member of The Shield and by himself. While the Shield was feared as a collective in general, Roman was its most feared individual member since he had the most physical power and the best record of the three. That reputation lingered even after the first break-up of the stable and as Roman's career continued its rise.
    • This only got worse after his Face–Heel Turn and he became even more vicious than he usually is. His new pal Paul Heyman is clearly terrified of him (though he's good at masking it), and considering this is the guy who was Brock Lesnar's advocate for most of the past decade, that more-or-less spells out how completely around the bend Roman's gotten since his return.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • It's not uncommon for Roman to come flying in from off-camera with a Spear or a Superman Punch.
    • In a non-Spear related example: On the July 7th, 2014 Raw, Kane & Orton interfered in John Cena's match with Seth Rollins. When Reigns's music hit & he was heading down the ramp, Kane left the ring to cut him off, only for Roman to fly into the screen in the midst of the Superman Punch.
    • He's blindsided at least two opponents with the following strategy: a teammate distracts the opponent in question while he strolls up the ramp, Reigns goes through the crowd and around the tech area and then blasts the poor schmuck with a wicked Spear. With good camera work, the viewer will have no idea Reigns is gonna get the jump on the guy until it happens.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Appeared along with Seth Rollins in a promo about John Cena at Elimination Chamber 2012, though Roman was known as Leakee back then.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It took him eleven months of being scorned by fans, having to endure terrible booking, and working his ass off, but when Reigns won the title for a real reign, few will deny that he deserved it.
  • Easily Forgiven: Unlike his feud with Lesnar, Undertaker doesn't hold a grudge against Roman for becoming the second man to defeat him at WrestleMania and surprisingly came to his aid two years later during Roman's feud with Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon. His retirement not sticking and Roman not bragging about it as nearly as much as Lesnar and Heyman did probably had something to do with that.
  • Enemy Mine: Shortly after Mania 32, Reigns was put in a tag match against the League of Nations with former arch-enemy Bray Wyatt as his partner. Contrary to expectations, Reigns and Wyatt actually worked amazingly well as a team.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • On a February 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, he defeated Mark Henry 100% cleanly in about three minutes flat. As Rollins congratulated Reigns after the match, Ambrose attacked a vulnerable Henry (signs pointed to Ambrose being jealous that, for all intents and purposes, Reigns is a better wrestler than he is). In response to Dean losing his cool (as if that doesn't happen often), Reigns and Rollins gave Ambrose a "What the hell, dude?" look from inside the ring.note 
    • Ironically, he's on the receiving end of this post-Face–Heel Turn. While his special counsel Paul Heyman usually plays his typical role as a manager, whenever Roman's not paying particular attention to Heyman, the guy looks terrified, especially after Roman does something especially heinous. This was strongly evident during Roman's first match with Jey Uso, where Heyman made numerous failed attempts to control Roman after he started wailing on Jey without remorse and looked the farthest thing away from happy when Roman was declared the victor of the match after Jimmy threw in the towel for his brother.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After his Face–Heel Turn, he wrestles without his vest and wears a golden glove on his right hand. He later switches out the gold glove for a red one.
  • Eviler than Thou: To both of Seth Rollins' heel runs. As the Architect, Rollins is a Dirty Coward Manchild who has the backup of the company's leaders and hardly wins a match without outside interference while as the Monday Night Messiah, he is a Joker-Expy psychopath with a penchant for violence. Roman's Tribal Chief however is far worse. Not only can he win without support (even though the Usos will interfere regardless), he will choke the life out of his opponents until they can no longer stand instead of simply beating them down. While Rollins is an Evil Genius, Reigns is a brute with a lot of built-up aggression from his lack of respect.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: As a main event talent and the prospective successor to John Cena, Reigns's forced departure thanks to his leukemia caused a major hole at the top of the card; the company had no choice but treat the situation as if he had just retired, as there was no way to determine a time frame for a return. What made this issue worse is that it came when another injury epidemic had hit WWE, taking out many potential stars that could conceivably be pushed up the card to take his place— and with the brand split, the remaining established main event talent were all spread out across both shows in different divisions. WWE was forced to push up Dean Ambrose's impending Face–Heel Turn and break up his tag team with Seth Rollins (on the same night Reigns relinquished the title, no less), just so they could fill in the gap as the top heel and top face for RAW. They were the only ones that could do it, too, as they were the only full-time stars on RAW that were established enough (as Reign's Shield teammates, and as singles performers) and experienced enough to perform at that level.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Even when Reigns didn't talk often as a member of the Shield, he already showed then that he has a deep, booming voice. His deep booming voice becomes this trope when he turned heel at SummerSlam 2020 and became "The Tribal Chief".
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • The early 2022 feud between him and Seth "Freakin" Rollins for the Universal Championship had the sociopathic Tribal Chief admitting his hate for the equally crazed Seth, and that he would never forgive him for his betrayal and dissolution of The Shield.
    • After cocky Heel Austin Theory won the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2022, he and the Bloodline (Roman included) would clash over the days prior to SummerSlam. When Theory tried to cash-in at Roman's match with Brock Lesnar, Theory would target Roman first.
  • Expy:
    • Multi-generational wrestler that first appears as part of a Power Stable, is attached to Triple H, later breaks away and turns face, and appears to be on the fast track to main event status... Reigns 2013-2014, or Randy Orton 2003-2004? He even gets over the same way. Orton had a hard time getting over as a face and thus got his main event push as a heel— as it turns out, all he needed to do was beat up people the fans Love to Hate or had X-Pac Heat, like the McMahons (which is ironic because they finally got him over as a face when he was supposed to be getting over as the top heel). Reigns doesn't need to be some weird fusion of The Rock, John Cena, or Daniel Bryan, all he needs to do is beat people up (and not "overcome the odds") and talk less. Hence, his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Triple H did more for him in ten minutes than the last ten months of booking beforehand.
    • In move set, look, and presence, Reigns is very much in the vein of Batista in character, despite the company's attempts to make him like promo-heavy John Cena.
    • People have finally worked out exactly who Roman most-closely resembles— Diesel. A big, strong, long-haired guy in black who comes across as an ice-cold badass who can beat up anyone and gets a monster push when Vince decides to make him his pet project (in fact, this became known as receiving the "Diesel Push"). And while Diesel became the then-WWF's lowest-drawing champion ever in 1995, Roman has become one of the most polarizing figures in professional wrestling, with his fair share of fans but absolutely despised by a very large part of the IWC as his push continues. Also, both of them absolutely sucked when forced to present a bland, smiling, white-meat babyface character. Diesel swiftly got to turn heel; it took over half a decade for Roman to get his chance.
  • Extreme Męlée Revenge: On the League of Nations and Triple H after TLC 2015— and how.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He showed up again at SummerSlam 2020 with a more aggressive personality and viciously attacked both Wyatt and Strowman. And then the 8/28/2020 edition of SmackDown revealed that Reigns turned heel off-screen (the last time he was a heel was during 2014 as part of The Shield) AND, in an ironic twist, enlisted the aid of Paul Heyman as his personal "special counsel." It is later revealed in the SmackDown after Payback 2020 that Reigns' heel turn is actually the result of saving Heyman from an ocean full of sharks. Heyman even assures that it was Reigns who "corrupted" him and NOT the other way around, and this is backed up by the abject fear that takes over Heyman whenever Reigns engages in one of his more brutal beatings.
  • Fallen Hero: After the dissolution of the Shield, he would succeed John Cena as the new face of the company. However, a combination of the pressure such a position brings and a severe case X-Pac Heat from fans would eventually cause Roman to snap and definitively pull a Face–Heel Turn; he allied himself with Paul Heyman, rather dubiously won back the Universal Title in a match that was already under way, and began manipulating and bullying his cousins The Usos into being his servants and beat down anyone who stood in his way of remaining at the top.
  • Fatal Flaw: When Sheamus tells you that you're too violent and too willing to fight, you might have a problem.
  • Faux Affably Evil: As the Tribal Chief, Roman likes to present himself as a stoic unflappable badass who respects his adversaries. This is all an act however as Roman is only nice to you when he feels superior to you. The second someone presents himself as an actual challenge to him, he becomes increasingly erratic and prone to bursts of anger and brutality.
  • Finishing Move: First and foremost, the spear. And after his Face–Heel Turn, has added the Guillotine Choke as his submission finisher, which fits his Darker and Edgier "Tribal Chief" persona.
  • Five Moves of Doom:
    • As a singles star, it looks like his finishing sequence is developing into: leaping clothesline into the corner, uppercut, running single-leg dropkick from the floor, Superman punch, spear. For the most part, the spear gets interrupted in some fashion.
    • He eventually began to avert this trope. Say what you will, but he heard the complaints that his moveset wasn't broad enough and he has been expanding it massively ever since. Every week he seems to pull some new trick out of his hat, similarly to John Cena.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule:
    • Survivor Series 2015 is basically a rehash of the ending of SummerSlam 2013, with Reigns as Bryan and Sheamus as Orton. It's being rejected by a firm majority of the fans because it hasn't been nearly as long enough to feasibly reuse the storyline, Reigns is nowhere near as over as Bryan, and trying to convince the audience that Reigns is a Daniel Bryan-type underdog — when it's clear that the company supports him far more than they ever did Bryan or anyone else on the roster not named Orton — is seen as insulting their intelligence. As for Sheamus, he has been considered irrelevant for a while now due to a string of injuries putting him on the shelf, plus his complete inability to get over enough to justify a world title reign.
    • They eventually realized that the Daniel Bryan-rehash wasn't going to work out and scrapped that, but were reluctant to turn him heel with the roster so thin on main event faces (Reigns was effectively the only full-time main event face at the time besides arguably Dean Ambrose, even if it was only because the company was pushing him that way— Cena was taking time off, Orton got injured and Daniel Bryan would not be cleared to return until March 2018). So they went the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin route instead and had him snap and beat the utter crap out of Triple H. That was well-received.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's heavily implied that his Face–Heel Turn and more sadistic personality came about because of the years of verbal abuse hurled at him by the fans, and how they all ignored his accomplishments and skills due to their absolute hatred of the Big Dog. The fact that it's none of his fault (the blame is squarely on poor booking), he genuinely saw wrestling as a passion, he worked his ass off everyday and how it took the return of his Leukemia for the fans to finally stop booing him are the catalysts for his desire to be "acknowledged". Not helping matters is that all this vitriol came off the cusp of the initial dissolution of the Shield, something that he never got over, as proven by his continued hatred of Seth Rollins.
  • Foil: A major component of his 2018 feud with Brock Lesnar was the company portraying them as complete opposites in regards to their approach to wrestling. Roman was a WWE in-house workhorse, showing up regularly for televised and house shows as part of his commitment to keeping his word, his family connections to wrestling and his genuine personal commitment to the company, the fans and the wrestling business. Brock on the other hand was Only in It for the Money, cared about the fame of being on television but not the people watching it, and only showed up for shows or even matches if he felt like showing up.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    Reigns: Because I said it before and as the shirt says now, I'm in G.O.D. Mode. This is Greatness On a Different level!
  • Funny Background Event:
  • Gaslighting: More than willing to do this to his cousins, or really anyone since his Face–Heel Turn. He will beat the everloving crap out of you, but do his best to make you feel guilty for it.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: While Roman seemingly likes Sami Zayn as a member of the Bloodline and appreciates Sami’s loyalty, that the fans are increasing cheering for Sami over Roman is clearly getting under his skin despite his outward instance it isn’t.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Has been portrayed closer to this in more recent years. He makes it convincingly clear that his only motivation is to be the best wrestler on the roster, regardless of whether or not anyone likes him. To this end, he rarely embraces and sometimes even insults the fans, and he picks fights with just as many babyfaces as he does with heels. In spite of this, he still has a moral code that stops him from being a full-on heel, in that he never cheats to win matches and doesn't attack people from behind, always preferring direct confrontation with his enemies. This was only dropped after he made his official Face–Heel Turn and unambiguously became a villain.
  • Groin Attack: After his heel turn in 2020, Roman seems to have add the Low Blow into his moveset and uses it in nearly all of his matches. In addition to the normal version, he uses it predominantly when he is pinned, lifting his arm up when the opponent is covering him and because of the angle, the referee can only sees Roman kicking out the pin but not the Low Blow. It goes to show how far the supposed next John Cena has fallen and how obsessed he is in becoming the top dog.
    • Hoist by His Own Petard: He would find himself on the receiving end of one at Money in the Bank 2023, when he pinned Jey Uso after nailing him with a Spear...only for Jey to strike him between the legs with his arm as he kicked out.
  • Handicapped Badass: An accomplished athlete who's been battling leukemia since he was 22 years old, and has been in remission twice in his life.
  • Happily Married: As of late 2014.
  • Heel–Face Turn: With The Shield's collective Heel–Face Turn against The Authority.
  • The Hero: Of the Reality and New Eras, with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as Deuteragonists. He would later share this role with Daniel Bryan as of 2018 before arguably losing it outright to Rollins in 2019. Nowadays, he is the de facto Big Bad of WWE and arguably all of professional wrestling becoming a Fallen Hero of sorts.
  • Hero Killer: While it's true that Roman has destroyed many faces during his initial run with Shield and Tribal Chief gimmick, what's more surprising is that during his Big Dog gimmick where he was supposed to be a babyface, he had also defeated many big name faces as well in addition of heels. Notably during this period, he had defeated the likes John Cena, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and Finn Balor. But most important of them all, he also handed the Undertaker his second WrestleMania defeat and temporarily retiring the Deadman.
  • He's Back!: On February 25th, 2019, he showed up on RAW and announced to the world that he was in remission, and he was back. The week after that, he came out and said to the crowd: "Last week was the return. Now, we're taking our yard back."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Dean Ambrose, both onscreen and in Real Life, to the point that he's spent about a month of his feud with Samoa Joe going absolutely insane whenever Dean's injury is brought up. In real life, Ambrose cites a specific tasteless line his Heel character was scripted to say referencing Reigns's cancer diagnosis as a pivotal moment that ultimately led to his decision to jump to All Elite Wrestling. Note that Ambrose hates promo scripts to begin with, but saying this particular line about his friend made him physically sick. Their bond is so strong, in fact, that it's remained a part of Reigns' character even after Ambrose's departure — it's been implied that one of the reasons why Reigns underwent Sanity Slippage and became the Tribal Chief is because Ambrose left the company, and he's one of the few people that Reigns never has anything to say bad about when brought up.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Roman's reason for his Face–Heel Turn in 2020 was mainly to reclaim the Universal Championship that he didn't lose two years earlier (he was forced to relinquish it after he was re-diagnosed with leukemia), and he was further angered that he was removed from his match with Goldberg for said championship at WrestleMania 36 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and him being in an immunocompromised state. After a five-month hiatus, Reigns not only allied with his long time rival, Paul Heyman, he also emulated what Seth Rollins did to him five years earlier by entering the championship match late, after the other two competitors had already destroyed each other, thus winning back the championship he never lost.
    • Much of Roman's Face run is him showing disdain over Brock Lesnar for being a (multi-time) part-time champion. After he defeated Lesnar in WrestleMania 38 to capture both of WWE's World Titles, Reigns becomes a part-timer.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal:
    • For Seth Rollins. After years and years of trying to pretend otherwise, their brief January 2022 feud revealed that Reigns never truly forgave Rollins for betraying and ending The Shield, and never will. Instead, he still and always has hated Rollins for what he did; something Rollins took advantage of by playing mind games with him during their subsequent match at the Royal Rumble by showing up in Shield gear. Reigns spent the entire match in Tranquil Fury, until he eventually snapped and got himself disqualified as he tried to murder his former best friend and tag team partner.
    • When Sami Zayn first approached the Bloodline, Roman seemed amused and almost appreciative of his presence at first, especially in regards to keeping Jey Uso's temper in check. Over time however, particularly with Sami's rising popularity in the group, it became increasingly clear that Roman never liked Zayn and started to bully and browbeat him the same way he did to his cousins. After Sami's Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, Roman accused him of only trying to leech off his success and called him a parasite.
  • History Repeats:
    • Reigns's career mirrors his cousin's a lot in the sense that Vince is trying to get him over as close to a goody-two-shoes face character that you can get in this day and age, only to be utterly rejected by fans (though Reigns is more divisive since, no matter how much the fans hate his character, they agree he can at least pull out a decent match). In fact, the parallels are so eerie that many are beginning to wonder if fate is trying to tell Vince something.
      • Indeed, when Roman finally did turn heel in 2020, he finally, like Dwayne, got hugely over. My god did he get hugely over!
    • His suspension and its aftermath are already getting comparisons to the Curtain Call incident with Triple H. Hunter spent months as a jobber to the stars, and the push he was going to get by winning the King of the Ring tournament went to someone else, inadvertently leading to the rise of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. While Reigns hasn't fallen quite as far as Hunter (yet), it's obvious his role as the new Cena has been temporarily revoked if not scrapped all together— he's eaten three clean pins in the space of a month. That's more than what Cena eats per year. The suspension also led to Dean Ambrose finally becoming a permanent main eventer (which is also rather fitting, as Ambrose is — ironically — the only member of the Shield to not embarrass the company in some fashion).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How he lost at Great Balls of Fire. He attempts to spear Braun Strowman into the ambulance, only for Strowman to sidestep out of the way, leaving Roman to get into the ambulance and allow Strowman to lock him inside. Roman does not react well to this at all.
  • How Much More Can He Take?:
    • Reigns invoked this big-time at WrestleMania 31 vs Brock Lesnar. During the match, Reigns ate FOUR F-5s from Brock Lesnar (it took THREE for Brock to beat Undertaker at WrestleMania) and a Curb Stomp from Seth Rollins before finally being pinned.
    • Then came the 8/15/16 edition of RAW, which is perhaps a better example of this trope and one of the most toughest Main Event matches in his WWE career as he faced the full brunt of Rusev's rage for ruining the man's wedding celebration with Lana the week before. Before said match, Rusev attacked him from behind and left one of his arms dinged. Despite the minor injury, Roman still decided to fight in the match. And in said match, he took an assortment of beatings that was draining THE life out of him. From more than one chairless headshots (ironically still half-nearing the number of steel chair headshots Mick Foley got from The Rock), kicks to the back (most likely the spine), risking getting his other arm damaged by the steel steeps. And Reigns managed to kick out like a mere six times, despite all the varied beatings. More than once (with a bad arm), he slipped out of Rusev's sleeper hold. In conclusion, Reigns still managed to perform his signature moves and eventually win the match.
    • Exaggerated and past it in his Wrestlemania 34 rematch against Lesnar, where, before finally succumbing, he absorbed SIX F-5's, one through a table, not to mention bucketloads of other violence including the obligatory trips to "Suplex City" and having Lesnar ground-and-pound him barefisted until he drew blood. For reference, one F-5 was able to put down Braun Strowman at 2017's No Mercy PPV, and John Cena lost after sixteen Suplex Cities and two F-5's at SummerSlam in 2014. This booking came in for massive criticism for completely overdoing it to the point where it's now ridiculous to expect Roman to be beatable by anything short of having a fire axe buried in his head, while also making Lesnar look really bad and limited.
  • Hunk: Reigns has been met with a very positive reception from the female demographic. The ripped form, the sexy voice, and the smile may have something to do with it. There's a group that encouraged the split-up of the Shield simply because it may have meant that he (and both of the others) would finally ditch the vests and wrestle in something a little less comfortable. At Payback 2014, when Triple H stripped Reigns' vest and shirt off, you could definitely hear a decidedly female sigh/whimper throughout the audience. A Father's Day PSA he did definitely cements him as this. As of 2020, Roman has finally discarded his vest during matches (now cue the fangirls).
  • Hypocrite:
    • Awesome though as it may have been, Roman calling Lesnar "Vince's Boy" as part of his "The Reason You Suck" Speech rings rather hollow considering Reigns himself has been slotted into main event status at WrestleMania the last four years as Vince's latest "top guy" project.
    • Claiming "backstage politics" is holding him down while he's received multiple main event runs, championships and pushes over the last four years? Daniel Bryan you are not, Roman.
    • Claims to be "treated unfairly" following his CLEAN loss to Lesnar at WrestleMania and yet received another opportunity at Lesnar and the Universal Title at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, where he lost AGAIN to Lesnar, "controversy" aside. Four opportunities against Lesnar,note  three losses to Lesnar.note  Seems like Roman's gotten far more than his fair share of opportunities to topple Lesnar.
    • After dissing Brock Lesnar for being a part-time champion, Roman himself becomes one after winning both of WWE's World Titles following WrestleMania 38. While Roman will appear often at shows, he rarely competes outside of pay-per-views and is often content to just stay in the dressing room when the rest of the Bloodline heads out to do the dirty work.
  • I Gave My Word: Reigns' first order of business after taking back the Universal Title from Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018 is to immediately put it on the line. And the first opponent who deserves a title shot against him is none other than Finn Balor, the inaugural champion who never lost the title but rather had to vacate it due to injury.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Following the events of Night of Champions 2023 on Smackdown 6/2/23, the Usos interrupt Roman's Milestone Celebration passing 1000 days as champion with Jimmy calling him out for his abuse of them and pleads to Solo that Roman will do the same thing to them. When Roman claims that he made the Usos relevant and asks Solo who is their Tribal Chief, Solo responds that he is... and that the Usos are his brothers as he walks to stand with them. After Jimmy stops Roman from shutting him up by pie-facing him in the same manner Roman did to him in a Shut Up, Hannibal! moment, Jey tries to stop the tension by telling them that they need each other and that they shouldn't be fighting. Jimmy agrees and pleads to Roman to work together as the Bloodline again. Roman responded by hugging Jey and looking like he is ready to accept them back as family. His answer? No. As a result, Roman has Solo gave the Samoan Spike to his own brother Jimmy meaning he is out of the Bloodline. After leaving the ring with Solo and Heyman, the latter asks Roman what about Jey. Roman responds by saying that Jey will do what he always does which is fall in line, signifying that Roman is more concerned with being the Tribal Chief than being family.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Occasionally, you'll see Reigns take off from a three-point stance when he uses the spear. Reigns has a collegiate and Canadian football background as a defensive lineman, which is one of the positions where the three-point stance is most often utilized. Compare Reigns' Spear with any available videos of a good football form tackle.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Roman's Tribal Chief character has some subtle nuance— like most heels, he's concerned with the fans and his fellow wrestlers giving him credit for his skills, repeatedly demanding that the WWE Universe "acknowledge" him. This likely stems from the years of X-Pac Heat he received, despite being a workhorse and doing nothing wrong himself (mostly being a victim of poor booking).

    Despite his constant need for his cousins to bail him out during matches, he's convinced that he's the greatest wrestler to ever live, and will tell anyone who will listen, often shouting it at the cameras during his bouts. After spending years being constantly told how much he sucks, he eventually developed a fundamental need for validation that also happened to drive him over the edge.
    • This extends to a clear insecurity about the popularity of Sami in the Bloodline. While Roman insists he has no issue with fans cheering for Sami over him, his body language clearly shows otherwise. When Roman and Sami lost to John Cena and Kevin Owens, Roman used Sami’s claiming they’d win before the match as an excuse to scream at Sami a week later on if Sami is planning to replace him as Tribal Chief. Notably, this was the point when Roman dropped any pretense of niceties towards Sami and began to mistreat him as badly as he did to his cousins. And when Sami dared to actually retaliate and turn on him, Roman just beat him into submission too.
  • Informed Flaw: Initially played straight, then subverted. Since turning heel, Rollins has talked about how Reigns is full of unbelievable anger and that Reigns is nothing without him because only he could harness Reigns' power effectively. Neither thing has been proved thus far; Reigns is actually quite calm and collected for a wrestler (apart from that "screaming at the sky" thing), and has continued to decimate opponents without Rollins. Even when he's furiously beating away at a hated enemy he focuses on the beating rather than wasting time Chewing the Scenery or falling into psychosis. As it turns out, the unbelievable anger is there, it just takes a lot to get there, and when it is unleashed, it's so overwhelming that it doesn't need to be controlled because it can swallow up anything. Just look at his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Invincible Hero: After the Shield disbanded in 2014, Roman is immediately pushed to be the next face of the company and rarely loses any of his matches, even when the stacks are against him. He has scored victories over the top wrestlers of the company of both alignments like Triple H, John Cena, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Rusev and even-handed Braun Strowman his first singles loss since the latter left the Wyatt Family. Most notably, he is one of two wrestlers who defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The only person who he couldn't defeat then was Brock Lesnar until SummerSlam 2018. This goes on until 2020 when...
  • Invincible Villain: ... he surprisingly turns heel and has a change in character. No other heels have been more successful than Roman, and that includes the likes of Triple H, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Seth Rollins and even Brock Lesnar. Roman has held the Universal Championship for more than two years, becoming the longest world champion in history since Hulk Hogan's first reign, and went through every big name in the roster including the likes of Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Matt Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Finn Bálor in his "Demon King" persona, John Cena, Goldberg and fellow Invincible Villain Brock Lesnar. His undefeated streak last for nearly four years and because of this, he declares himself a God.
  • It Runs in the Family: Reigns is at least the tenth guy from his bloodline to appear in a WWF/E ring. Others include Rikishi (and his sons The Usos), The Wild Samoans (who are his father and uncle), the late Umaga and Yokozuna, The Tonga Kid, and his brother, who went by the name Rosey. Oh, and his cousin, Dwayne something or other. Somebody finally put all of this together into family tree format. In the Blood might be an understatement. Appropriately, his team-up with the Usos in spring 2016 against AJ Styles and The Club (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) was called The Bloodline.
  • It's All About Me: An interesting progression whenever he wasn't a standard babyface.
    • First in his initial "Thoroughbred" character on NXT, he mocked one interviewer's relieved expression of "finally" getting to interview him by saying it was his time and not theirs.
    • Then during The Shield run, sometimes when he was ready to execute the Shield Triple Powerbomb through an announce table and he wanted the announcers to clear it, he would scream at them to move as it was his table now.
    • The night after he defeated The Undertaker and was greeted with an endless stream of boos for over 15 minutes, the one line he got to say before walking off was that this was his yard now.
    • Upon fully turning heel to join with Paul Heyman as the Special Counsel to his role as Tribal Chief, he began proclaiming that the entire company and everything involved in it was his island.
    • On the episode of SmackDown prior to 2023's Night of Champions, instead of sharing the glory with his tag-team partner for the upcoming tag title match, Solo Sikoa, Roman instead chose to end the show by posing with all four tag titles in his possession while Sikoa stood beside him empty-handed.
    • At Night of Champions 2023, he began to unravel during the final stages of the match, screaming that "I am" (not "we are") going to be tag-team champions.
  • It's Personal: Samoa Joe has turned what was a really entertaining feud of evenly-matched rivals into something much more personal after he put Roman's "brother" Dean Ambrose out of action for nine months. Roman has pretty much gone ballistic every time he so much as looks at Joe.
    • His short feud in early 2022 made it clear he’s never forgiven Seth Rollins for betraying The Shield and outright hates Seth for it.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: To Jey Uso in Hell in a Cell 2020. When Jey wouldn't quit in an I Quit Match, Roman put the then-injured Jimmy in a Guillotine choke until Jey quit.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: He went full-tilt Batman on Buddy Murphy to make him spill the beans about who tried to kill him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When General Manager Kurt Angle tried to reprimand him for attempting vehicular homicide on Braun Strowman after losing to him in an ambulance match, Roman called Kurt out on his hypocrisy, noting that Kurt, as well as Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman who were also in the ring at the time, had been a part of the Attitude Era,note  where acts of violence of that nature were commonplace, and thus they had no right to criticize Roman. He also pointed out that Braun had been on a rampage throughout the last few months and Kurt had been completely ineffective at stopping him.
    Roman: [to Kurt Angle] You should be thanking me; you didn't know how to handle Braun Strowman, [to Brock Lesnar] and you're never around to.
  • The Juggernaut: As a member of the Shield, he was fixated on letting no one and nothing stand in the ring, be it by a spear or by another way, coming across less as a human weapon and more a force of nature. And after months of WWE messing it up, the old Roman finally showed up again at TLC 2015.
  • Kiai: Any time he rears his head back and roars to the heavens, you can bet your ass that somebody is gonna take a Spear.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: In 2023, Sami Zayn was getting so popular, and his commitment to his Family of Choice in Roman's Bloodline stable and vice-versa was so deep, that it was practically threatening to turn them all face. Cruelly testing Sami's loyalty through emotional abuse (then physical abuse when Sami instead retaliated) out of a mixture of unjustified paranoia and envy of Sami's popularity got Roman in good heel form for Wrestlemania.
  • Lack of Empathy: After his 2020 heel turn, Roman no longer fights with honor or respect for anyone. The closest he comes is when it involves his cousins The Usos, to whom he will explain through gritted teeth that he doesn't want to beat seven shades of Hell out of them, but that he will gladly do so anyway to prove that he is the family's tribal chief. This is best exemplified during times when Paul Heyman will struggle to control Roman, saying things like "He's not listening to me!" when officials implore him to do something, which, for comparison, is a situation that never occurred between Heyman and the sadistic, terrifyingly violent Brock Lesnar.
  • Large and in Charge: Downplayed. Roman, by only 2 or 3 inches, is the tallest member of The Bloodline, and is far and away their leader and always has been. Perhaps best seen when he stands from his seat to confront the defiant Jimmy Uso in this mid-2023 segment on SmackDown. Similarly, their heirarchy seems to correlate with the height of the respective members— The Usos are next tallest, and have had the most trouble falling in line. Solo Sikoa is shorter than all three and has never shown a hint of dissention. Paul Heyman, meanwhile, the shortest of all the members, is meek, timid, and undyingly loyal to Reigns.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Roman’s treatment of the Usos finally comes back to bite him during his and Solo Sikoa’s tag team title match against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens atNight of Champions 2023 when Jimmy Uso snaps and proceeds to beat the shit out of Roman for all the psychological abuse he put him and his brother through, allowing Owens and Zayn to pin Solo and retain their titles. As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, this all happened on the 1000th day milestone of Roman’s Undisputed Championship reign.
  • The Leader: Regardless of what the audience thinks of him, WWE decided that Roman was going to be their top guy, and that position comes with responsibilities. With The Undertaker now effectively retired, Triple H working primarily backstage and John Cena now a part-timer, Roman rose to the position of the men's locker room leader, a role he seems to have taken to with aplomb, being highly respected by the other performers.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Tribal Chief gimmick can be interpreted as Roman, tired of the fans' lack of respect towards him and wanting him to be a heel instead of a babyface, finally snapping after years of pent-up frustration and finally giving the fans what they want.
  • Legacy Character: Of The Rock, at least in physical profile. Both are third-generation wrestlers with origins connected by the same Samoan clan. They have similar body build and athleticism, also both played defensive tackle in Division I college football. Reigns' earlier finisher also bears a passing resemblance to the Rock Bottom in execution.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Reigns stands taller than Triple H and weighs in at 265 pounds, and was rightfully pushed as the 'powerhouse' of the Shield. Of course, having been a former Division I college football player, his above-average athleticism for his size is to be expected. What you might not expect, though, is for a guy this size to be able to easily clear the top rope on a suicide dive.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: A Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hunk with long locks.
  • Malaproper: Early on in his singles run, due to either being given really bad material to work with and/or flubbing since he's not a natural on the mic, he would at times come out with some memorably unfortunate lines. Examples below:
    • Once claimed in an interview that every time he gets to "the summit, the very top," an "avalanche" knocks him down.note 
    • During a promo with the Big Show, Reigns told him, "You know who didn't have to remind people they were a giant? André the Giant." despite the obvious little note that it's in his name.
    • Once told Dean Ambrose as it pertains to possibly meeting in the finals of a world title tournament that they'll "jump off that bridge together" when the correct expression would be "cross that bridge when we get there".
    • Talked about how he planned to "take every rung off" a ladder beating Sheamus with it during their upcoming world title ladder match, then failed to clarify that he was talking about a different ladder when he mentioned climbing the ladder to win the belt.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Downplayed, but present, he can do spot on impressions of Randy Savage and Paul Bearer as seen here.
  • Manly Tears: At Survivor Series 2015, after losing the title to Sheamus, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
  • Meet My Good Friends Lefty and Righty: On the June 2nd, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns called Randy Orton to the ring, for their scheduled one-on-one match that night, with the following threat:
    Reigns: Randy Orton, bring your ass out here and let me break your jaw with the symbol of excellence. [gestures to his right fist]
  • Megaton Punch: Or rather, Superman Punch, frequently used as a Finishing Move.
  • Morality Chain: Dean Ambrose. Ever since Ambrose left the company, it's been implied that Reigns's evolution into the Tribal Chief was in part a direct result of his departure. Rollins even outright stated during Reigns and his 2022 feud that Ambrose was the emotional bedrock of the Shield, and Ambrose himself remains one of the few people Reigns legitimately has no issues with and refuses to speak badly about. All of this put together, one gets the feeling that Reigns only allowed himself to fully embrace the darkness inside him after Ambrose was gone because it meant they would no longer be at any risk of opposing each other.
  • Morality Pet: The Shield. Even years after their final run and his Face–Heel Turn, the one thing Reigns will never say anything bad about is the Shield — the worst he'll get is saying that he's bigger than the stable now. Later on, he even flat-out admitted he still hated Seth Rollins for ending the group, and tried to murder Rollins during their subsequent match when he tried to get in Reigns's head by showing up in Shield gear and doing their old entrance. When you factor in how Reigns spent all those years after the stable's dissolution using the Shield's music and gear up until his heel turn, it becomes obvious that as badly as Ambrose and (secretly) Rollins both took the break-up, the person who took it the hardest was really Reigns all along, to the point that he'll never forgive Rollins for ending the stable.
    • Sami Zayn not just to him, but to the entire Bloodline (outside of Jey Uso). Roman, despite his Tribal Chief trappings, seems to sincerely appreciate Sami's presence in the stable since he's basically the only one there willingly (the rest are either there through submission, or familial obligation). This extends to the rest of the Bloodline, as Jimmy loves the guy, Heyman with his deep respect and knowledge for the independents knows Sami's background and work, and Solo got on his side immediately after Sami took a nasty chairshot from Drew McIntyre that was meant for him. Thus doing anything to harm Sami is an immediate way to end up on the Bloodline's bad side, with Solo especially annihilating anyone disrespecting him. It's also this that's causing the friction with Jey and the rest of the faction, as they're starting to get more and more agitated at his refusal to accept Sami which is costing them matches. Roman's envy and paranoia fueled emotional abuse and eventual physical retaliation towards Sami got him some of the best heel heat of his run.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He is a long-haired, Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hunk. One time when he removed his vest, the female audience members could be heard squeeing.
  • Nepotism: He was accused of this during his 2015 main event push (using The Rock to try and get him over during the infamous 2015 Royal Rumble certainly didn't help) but it ended up being subverted in the long run as Reigns proved his genuine talent as a performer over the years in spite of the company's incompetent booking. General agreement is that the push's failure was more a result of both the aforementioned booking and Reigns just being too green and not over enough to justify being booked on that level yet. Considering his stellar heel work, it's also possible that Reigns is just one of those performers that doesn't excel as a face.
  • Never My Fault: When he and Sami lost to Owens and Cena, his justification was that he didn’t lose but that Sami did because Sami was the one who got pinned. This conveniently leaves out that Roman wasn’t able to break up the pin because he let his anger get the better of him when Cena taunted him, leading to him getting into an unnecessary exchange with Cena that took him out of the match and let Owens get the pin on Sami with a stunner.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: To the League of Nations and Triple H at the end of TLC 2015, after getting screwed out of the title again. While Hunter the person is quite respected and many wish for him to take over the company, Hunter the character is hated to the point that it managed to do in ten minutes what the last ten months of booking couldn't do: get Reigns over.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The 2016 Royal Rumble. Reigns has just entered at #1 and has thrown out #2, Rusev. He waits for #3... And AJ Styles comes out. Reigns has been in the ring with every other person in this Rumble. He knows what to expect from them. But AJ? He's a complete Wild Card. You could just see the w.heels turning his head, thinking to himself as he watched AJ enter the ring, "How in the hell do I throw him out?"
    • There's a moment in his Ambulance Match with Braun Strowman where Roman smashes Braun's (legit) injured arm with a chair note  - and Braun proceeds to completely No-Sell it. The look on Roman's face absolutely screams this.
    • Perhaps the most satisfying example can be seen at the end of his main event match with John Cena at SummerSlam 2021. Roman has just finished beating Cena clean after enduring a battery of Attitude Adjustments, standing triumphant over Cena's fallen form...and then a roaring guitar riff hits and the arena screens turn red. To that point, the only time Roman has looked scared as a heel, other than the one time Edge and Bryan had him in a dual crossface.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: His recent feuds as the Tribal Chief had him taking on older challengers Kevin Owens (1 year older), Daniel Bryan (4 years older), Edge (12 years older), Cesaro (5 years older), John Cena (8 years older) and Finn Balor (4 years older). As the older hero, he wrestled against the younger Seth Rollins (1 year older) and Bray Wyatt (2 years older).
  • Only Sane Man: He used to be this for The Shield, being the most stable member with the best handle on his temper and the least amount of sadism. But years of having to endure constant fan vitriol and being screwed out of the world title, along with never fully recovering from the stable's original break-up, ultimately saw Reigns become a full-blown sociopath. The actual Only Sane Man of the Shield turned out to be (rather ironically) its resident Cloudcuckoolander, Dean Ambrose.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Literally during his Leukemia announcement in late 2018. He began his speech by introducing himself with his real name, Joe.
    • Roman forgoing his usual Tranquil Fury to scream at Sami on the first Smackdown of 2023 demanding to know if Sami was looking to be the Tribal Chief was a big indicator that Sami’s popularity with the crowd is eating Roman’s already tenuous sanity.
  • Out of Focus: Reigns had to be written out for a significant portion of the build to WrestleMania 32 because he had to get surgery for a deviated septum.note  That meant his part of the build for his match with Triple H had to be done with Dean Ambrose (who was the only full-time main event talent left active at that point) as a proxy, as Ambrose's own opponent was the part-timer Brock Lesnar, who was only booked for a couple of shows.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • What he did to Vickie Guerrero and Stephanie McMahon to get into the Money in the Bank world title qualifiers battle royal. While spiking your boss's drink isn't exactly a good thing to do, Stephanie and Vickie aren't exactly innocent people- especially Stephanie, who's been tyrannically abusing her power as a McMahon since the previous year's SummerSlam. Furthermore, the dosage level was akin to that of what Vickie's late husband Eddie had done to The Big Show's burrito in 2003,note  as opposed to the worse variation which Stephanie herself had done to Shawn Michaels's water during his feud with Vince and Shane McMahon in 2006.note 
    • After Rollins curb-stomped Ambrose's head through some cinderblocks, and tried to do the same to Reigns, Reigns picked up one of those cinderblocks and hurled it at Rollins' head with enough force that, after Rollins ducked out of the way, it shattered on the ring post so hard that shards of it hit Jerry Lawler.
    • After losing an ambulance match to Braun Strowman, Roman attacked Strowman, locked him in the back of the ambulance, and backed it up into a semi-trailer at high speeds, effectively committing attempted vehicular homicide. Braun had been on a vicious tear through the Raw roster for months, brutalizing opponents in matches and backstage, and specifically targeting Roman, attempting to end Roman's career by tipping over the ambulance that Roman was placed in after a particularly brutal backstage beating at the hands of Strowman. So while extreme, Strowman can't exactly be said to be an innocent victim of bad sportsmanship.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Ultimately, the source of his Face–Heel Turn is WWE's decision to make him the face of the company at all costs, despite the overall unhappiness of their fanbase, which caused them to boo him for five years straight out of protest for the decision. Being in a special position just like his cousin but without earning the required respect, on top of further frustration over being constantly screwed out of the world title due to both in and out-of-universe forces has gradually eaten away at his sanity. This lead to Reigns finally snapping in the middle of 2020 and turning heel, becoming a monstrous brute who will break even his cousins to submission if it means getting what he wants.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: Coupled with a dose of The Chains of Commanding due to his title of Tribal Chief. Due to being the best singles wrestler in his generation of the Anoa'i family, Reigns has claimed the pressure of feeling that he needs to be the Universal (or World Heavyweight) Champion to feed the entire clan even if he has to destroy his own cousin to keep it that way.
  • Pet the Dog: Yes, even the ruthless Tribal Chief has occasional moments of this trope:
    • The 4/9/21 episode of SmackDown saw him come out and congratulate his cousin, Jey, after winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royale. Considering his harsh treatment of Jey since winning the Universal Championship, it was no doubt heartwarming for Jey to receive genuine praise.
    • The 9/23/22 episode of SmackDown saw him demand Sami Zayn (who had been acting as a hanger-on for the Bloodline since the Summer) to remove the Bloodline T-Shirt he had been wearing (even going so far as to have Jey tear the shirt off his body), making it seem like Sami was about to be kicked out of the faction (emphasized by Jey's glee as he ripped off the shirt). However...
    Roman: I don't want to see you in that shirt ever again. Do you understand me? You ain't gonna wear a Bloodline shirt ever again! You ain't ever gonna wear it again...because I got you a new one.
    (Roman tosses Sami Zayn a shirt that reads "Honorary Uce." An over-the-moon Sami eagerly puts on the shirt, to the Bloodline's joy and Jey's chagrin)
    Roman: Anything you wanna say?
    Sami: Yes. As a matter of fact, there is...I acknowledge you, Tribal Chief!
    (Sami drops the microphone and embraces Roman)
    • On the 10/28 edition of SmackDown, Roman expresses he’s so tired of Jey’s bullying of Sami that if Jey doesn’t get over his dislike of Sami soon, Roman’s just going to rename him into “Sami Uso” and officially make him part of the family. Cue Sami’s face filled with utter delight.
  • The Peter Principle:
    • Reigns was massively over as a member of The Shield because he was used sparingly as part of a team, but, when they broke up and he was given a huge singles push, his flaws, namely inexperience and a seriously limited moveset, became obvious quickly without the more seasoned Ambrose and Rollins to help fill the gaps.
    • Even as Roman's career has moved on and his abilities have developed, he's still meeting accusations of this trope. Everyone capable of seeing without bias will admit that Roman is, at least, a good wrestler. However, the fact that he is still receiving arguably the single biggest, most-prolonged, and most bloody-mindedly determined push in wrestling history has people wondering why WWE are so utterly committed to moving heaven and earth for this one merely "good wrestler" when there are other genuinely more-talented guys on the roster being left to languish in obscurity. The complaints only really died down after the leukemia announcement, and even then the fans didn't get why the company insisted on making him the guy like Cena was. It wasn't until Roman finally got to turn heel and show off his talent did they get it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Downplayed and only shows up in one instance, but at the 2023 Night of Champions event in Saudi Arabia, when Sami Zayn addressed the crowd in their native Arabic, Roman could be seen saying "What?" while seemingly baffled that Zayn was speaking a non-English language. Especially jarring considering that fellow Bloodline member Solo Sikoa regularly speaks Samoan in the ring.
  • Popularity Power: Regular Roman is a heat magnet of the worst kind. Shield Roman, on the other hand, is popular enough to get cheered by a live crowd for dethroning The Miz as Intercontinental Champion and becoming the second member of his iconic stable to become a Grand Slam Champion. Even his most ardent haters are major marks for The Shield.
    • Ironically, Heel!Roman can’t get fans to boo him. Well, at least that was the case until his abuse of his own stable reached new levels. There's a thin line between Evil is Cool and Everyone Has Standards.
  • Power Fist: The Superman Punch. It involves Reigns punching the ground first to "collect force" and then delivers a jumping punch (cross or hook, depending on how he sees fit.)
  • Power Trio:
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Believe it or not. Despite the Tribal Chief gimmick making him a no-nonsense brute when compared to most heels, deep down, he's really an entitled and insecure man who wants respect from the fans who spent years booing him. Even his catchphrase, "Acknowledge me", is less of a demand and more of a cry for attention. What makes him "psychopathic" is that if he doesn't get the respect he wants from them, then he won't hesitate to take out his frustration and anger on the next guy he sees in the most brutal fashion possible. Even his feud with Sami Zayn sterns from Roman becoming jealous over Zayn's popularity with the fans and in retaliation, Roman tends to treat Sami the worst during the latter's time in the Bloodline.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Roman's victory over Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber 2023 played out to be this in an extremely long-term sense, because it galvanized Sami to become by far the Bloodline's greatest enemy and use expert mind games to slowly destroy their unity, starting with reuniting with Kevin Owens and destroying the Usos at WrestleMania 39 and finally culminating in Jimmy taking Sami's suggestions seriously at Night of Champions 2023 and stabbing Roman in the back for his abuse on the very night of Roman's 1000th day as champion. Roman may have kept the title at Sami's expense, but so doing ultimately caused the Tribal Chief to lose everything on the eve of his greatest triumph.
  • The Quiet One:
    • More so in The Shield, where he mainly left the talking to Dean and Seth while he himself was portrayed as a running tank with an element of mystery. He would occasionally subvert this, though, at times getting loud when preparing to put the finishing touches on a team beatdown. See an early example below:
      Reigns: [before preparing to put an opponent through an announcer's table at ringside] GET UP, FOOLS! THIS IS MY TABLE NOW!
    • He even established his status as such during the interview with The Shield conducted by Michael Cole. Rollins and Ambrose did quite literally all of the talking, until:
      Cole: Roman... I'd love to get your take on all this.
      Reigns: [in an eerily calm voice] When I wanna say something... I'll say it.
    • After the dissolution of the group, Reigns spent much more time on the mic — though many would say he was much better as the strong silent warrior of justice.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After months and months of being cheated out of championships or championship opportunities, Reigns appeared content to more or less be John Cena and keep fighting through all the turmoil, while mostly just taking out his frustration on his opponents. At the 2015 TLC event, however, he veered into Randy Orton/Stone Cold territory and spent 10 minutes kicking Triple H's ass in just about every way he could think of,note  leaving The Game hospitalized. It got so bad that Jerry Lawler, the consummate babyface commentator, implied that perhaps Roman should be arrested.
  • Ramming Always Works: He uses the Spear to devastating effect.
  • Red Baron: Michael Cole dubbed Roman Reigns "The Powerhouse" or "The Juggernaut" of the Shield. Leakee was occasionally referred to as "The Blessed One" in FCW. Paul Heyman took to calling him "The Samoan Badass" during the build up to WrestleMania 31. Over time, Roman most infamously became "The Big Dog". Then, finally, he capped off his unprecedented Face–Heel Turn by coining two new titles for himself: "The Tribal Chief" and "The Head of the Table".
  • Religious Bruiser: It's not a huge part of his on-screen character, but Roman is catholic and makes the sign of the cross before each of his matches.
  • Reveal Shot: One awesome instance involved Triple H, who was actively avoiding Roman after he got the living daylights beaten out of a week before, picking up wife backstage. As his SUV prepares to leave the building, the garage door slowly opens and by extension slowly reveals a pissed-off Roman. Cue further ensuing Extreme Męlée Revenge.
    • The slow pan over to Paul Heyman seated next to him, cementing his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Knowing that Paul Heyman is a longtime family friend of The Samoan Dynasty, combined with Heyman becoming Reigns' "Special Counsel" in his 2020 Face–Heel Turn, puts all of Heyman's Baddie Flattery towards "The Samoan Badass" in his longtime feud with Brock Lesnar in a whole new light.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: On the August 13, 2021 edition of SmackDown during the buildup for their upcoming SummerSlam Title match, John Cena accuses Roman for "running Dean Ambrose out of the WWE". Cena's implication was that Dean left because he got sick of Roman getting all the opportunities. In reality, Dean was getting disillusioned with the WWE for quite some time during his final years at the company, and the last straw was him being forced to mock Roman's bout with Leukemia in a promo for Cheap Heat.
  • The Rival: Samoa Joe is developing into his; the two have a degree of begrudging respect for one another and are shown to be on about the same level - out of their first three matches, Joe one the first two, but they were physical, competitive contests and Joe won off distractions, with the third going to a no-contest due to interference. While neither of them likes the other, they lack the personal hatred that exists between Roman and the likes of Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and The Authority. However, this ended up being subverted. Apparently you can beat Roman down and choke him out all you want, but the second you so much as touch his "brother" Dean Ambrose, let alone legitimately injure him and put him on the shelf for 9 months, all bets are off.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Reigns was content to let Ambrose go and get his vengeance on Rollins while taking his own path against the Authority; Rollins putting Ambrose on the shelf with a Curb Stomp through a pile of cinder blocks had the unfortunate side effect of Reigns immediately turning his full attention to his former Shield brethren, taking up Ambrose's mantle of revenge.
  • Sanity Slippage: Reigns used to be the most stable member of the Shield, but years of crowd vitriol, being constantly screwed out of the world title (most notably having to drop it after his leukemia returned), and personal betrayals started slowly eating away at his sanity. The last straw was the company trying to freeze him out after he opted to take a leave absence at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including giving up his title shot against Goldberg at WrestleMania. When Reigns came back, he had finally snapped and become a full-blown sociopath, claiming the Universal title in a manner exactly like Seth Rollins did at WrestleMania 31, beating the crap out of and gaslighting his cousins The Usos into becoming his lackeys, and declaring himself "The Tribal Chief" while openly claiming that all of WWE's success is solely because of him. Since the establishment of the Bloodline he's managed to keep a Mask of Sanity in place, but every time it slips shows how much he's fallen apart over the years.
  • Secretly Selfish: Roman showed signs of being self-centered long before the Tribal Chief gimmick. He tended to bask in his victories even more than Seth or Dean and clearly enjoyed the spotlight, especially when the fans were actually cheering for him. This is best displayed whenever he did something heroic or earn when he won a world championship, where he could be seen savoring the moment.
  • The Scapegoat: On the July 25, 2016 edition of Raw, he was publicly and solely blamed by Stephanie McMahon, of all people, for allowing Dean Ambrose to win the main event of the previous night's Battleground pay-per-view, thus giving SmackDown Live (who drafted Ambrose, while Raw drafted the other two former Shield members) the rights to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The main event in question was a Triple Threat Match between him, Rollins, and Ambrose.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: After Rollins suddenly had to vacate the WWE Championship, Triple H called for a tournament to determine the new champion - about a week after Reigns had earned the #1 contendership to face Rollins for the title in a one-on-one match. So Trips tried to cut a deal with Reigns: He could be exempted from the tournament and, in fact, be waiting at the end to fight whoever won for the title, if he only submitted himself to the Authority. Reigns, predictably, was too honorable to take the deal.
  • Save the Villain: His Face–Heel Turn began when he found Heyman (who was thrown into a shark-infested ocean), bailed him out, and befriended him.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: His feud with Brock Lesnar in 2018. Roman fought as hard as he could to get the Universal Championship off Lesnar out of disgust for Brock's bad work ethic and tendency to be an absentee champion, facing Lesnar at multiple PPVs throughout the year, getting incredibly mixed reactions at every stepnote  on top of repeatedly losing to Brock. He got beat up, hospitalised, cheated out of a victory and more as the feud rolled on to the point where Roman himself told everyone he was sick of talking about Brock. Then, after he finally won the damn belt at SummerSlam, he only got to hold it for a relatively short two months before invokedhis cancer returned in Real Life, forcing him to drop it. Ouch. Oh, and then Baron Corbin's interference meant that the belt went back to Lesnar at Crown Jewel, completely invalidating Roman's efforts to bring the belt back to regular syndicated television. Double ouch.
  • Ship Tease: Like his fellow Shield teammates, Roman seemed to have this dynamic with Renee Young whenever she interviews him since the Shield face turn. This was eventually dropped when Dean started dating (and later married) Renee in real life, with their relationship eventually making its way on screen. Meanwhile Roman, in real life, ended up marrying his long time girlfriend and hasn't been shipped with anyone on screen since, with his own family life being mentioned within the program as well.
  • Shout-Out: In addition to the Reigns' Superman Punch referencing, well, Superman with its name he's stated that he got the idea from Troy.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the Superstar Shake-Up 2018 episode of RAW, Joe kept on bragging about Reigns not getting the job done (as a Call-Back to Cena's "Reason You Suck" Speech on Reigns prior to No Mercy 2017) and what Lesnar did to him back at WrestleMania 34. Reigns retorted by saying that's what Lesnar usually does before demanding Joe to bring his "lazy fat ass" and show The Big Dog what he can really do. Joe is visibly offended by this, but regains his composure and told Reigns that they'll square off at Backlash 2018 so he can "put Reigns to sleep" as an act of Cruel Mercy Kill.
  • Signature Move: It's pretty much a given that Roman Reigns will hit a Spear on someone during a match, even during his time with The Shield when he wasn't always extremely active during their tag matches. And if given the chance, he will not hesitate to Spear every single opponent. He's also adopted the use of a MMA-style Superman Punch as well as a spot that sees him use a flying front dropkick to the head of an opponent draped over the bottom rope.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Obviously a less extreme example given the content rating, but, of the few swear words you can get away with saying on PG programming, Reigns uses them quite a bit more liberally than the average guy. For whatever reason, he's especially fond of the word "bitch".
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: He wears a vest, which is another holdover from his Shield days. It also helps to highlight his huge guns.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Initially, he had his hair tied, but started keeping his hair down a couple of months after the Shield's debut.
  • Smug Smiler: Even as a face, Roman has a particularly smug smile, even more so after becoming the WWE Champion, particularly in promos featuring Stephanie McMahon.
  • Smug Snake: Only on NXT.
  • Smug Super: Like John Cena, the fans eventually turned on his babyface character after he was booked as being almost completely unbeatable, and also like John Cena, he makes absolutely no effort to humble himself despite the hostility. He's also a smug super in a strictly kayfabe sense, perhaps most glaringly during his pre-WrestleMania feud with The Undertaker, in which he rejected Shawn Michaels's advice about facing The Undertaker, and audaciously claimed things such as "This is my yard now" and that "Maybe The Undertaker should be thinking about what it's gonna be like to be in the ring with me." Overall, he's simply not shy about boasting about how good he is, even in the face of criticism and/or adversity.
  • The Sociopath: Roman's attitude after his 2020 heel turn, almost unequivocally. His Lack of Empathy is displayed prominently during the vicious beatings he repeatedly puts on his own family, his single-minded desire to be the "Tribal Chief" of the Anoa'i clan has swelled his ego to massive proportions, and he will employ typical "deceitful heel" tactics, such as feigning remorse for his actions at 2020's Hell in a Cell PPV to get the jump on Jimmy Uso and choke him out with a Guillotine (plus he has consummate liar Paul Heyman in his corner). The only thing arguably missing is the fact that Roman doesn't seem to genuinely enjoy the violence he inflicts on Jimmy and Jey, but he certainly never has to fight himself emotionally to actually go through with it.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: What he's become after his Face–Heel Turn. He now talks with a much softer delivery, but one that absolutely drips with menace. As for the sadist part he's shown to be quite willing to beat his cousins to within not just an inch of their life, but just take their lives entirely just for refusing to fall in line. It makes the now very few times he raises his voice that much more terrifying.
  • Sore Loser: Even as a face, Roman didn't take defeat well. Not even when the heels won cleanly such as his match with Brock Lesnar at The Greatest Royal Rumble and his Ambulance match with Braun Strowman. After he turned heel, this trait only grew worse.
  • Spam Attack: If The Shield are involved in a match with multiple opponents, Roman Reigns will resort to this with his Spear if necessary. Exaggerated with his dominant show of force in his Traditional Survivor Series match debut in 2013.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Was unflinching when face to face with Brock Lesnar, just twenty-four hours removed from Lesnar's dominant performance against both John Cena and Seth Rollins.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Roman typically lets Tranquil Fury be his promo demeanor. So, when he became screaming at Sami if he was planning to become Tribal Chief out of nowhere, it became incredibly terrifying.
  • Suicide Attack: Downplayed. Reigns won't think twice about Spearing an opponent through the barricade at ringside, which sometimes keeps Reigns himself down as long as the victim. This came back to bite him in the ass big time at the Greatest Royal Rumble, when spearing Lesnar through the cage's wall during their Steel Cage match resulted in Lesnar touching the floor first and winning the match.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: He returned with a Darker and Edgier attitude at SummerSlam 2020 to attack both Wyatt and Strowman after their match. It is also revealed that he pulled a Face–Heel Turn and formed a partnership with Heyman at some point.
  • Take That!: His off-script reaction to a "Cena Sucks" chant breaking out during his promo:
    Reigns: When Roman Reigns is in the house, you're damn right Cena sucks!
  • Take That, Audience!: With his never-ending babyface push reaching absolutely asinine levels in the face of searing levels of X-Pac Heat from the IWC, Roman has arguably graduated from being a mere Creator's Pet to becoming Take That, Audience! personified, Vince McMahon's living weapon in the war he's waging against his own audience. The more the crowd reject Roman, the more Vince rams him down their throats as a reminder that they're not in charge of the WWE, he is, and whatever he wants, goes. Make incredibly obvious on the Raw after Great Balls of Fire (where he tried to murder Braun Strowman with an ambulance), where he was called out on his actions by GM Kurt Angle and defended himself by saying "During the Attitude Era you guys did stuff like that all the time" only for Kurt to bite back with "That was then, this is now." If that's not a Take That! aimed directly at smarky wrestling fans unhappy with the modern product compared to what it was back in the Attitude Era, we don't know what is.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He is a 6'3 Hunk with a sizable female following. He becomes Tall, Dark, and Snarky following his iconic Face–Heel Turn into the Tribal Chief.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Following his iconic Face–Heel Turn into the Tribal Chief, Roman becomes fond of giving verbal (and physical) beatdown to his opponents.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While he still isn't a full-on villain... yet... he's gotten progressively edgier in early 2016. It started with his crazed No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Triple H. He's started to become more detached from the fans, noticeably not entering through the crowd anymore,note  and doesn't pander as much to the fans as you'd expect out of a pure Face. He seemed to take a further level after finally winning the WWE Championship back at WrestleMania 32. The Raw after the event (which famously features the most raucous and vocal crowd of the year), he was predictably met with a mixed reaction (read: mostly boos peppered by a few drown-out cheers here and there). His short promo afterward hinted at a smug and cocky side (that likely would have been his new heel gimmick in NXT if he hadn't been called up to the main roster for The Shield). Once this promo was interrupted by Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and AJ Styles, Reigns, who had incited an argument over who got the next title match, allowed the two pairs of bitter enemiesnote  to confront each other, stepped back while the fisticuffs started, waiting 'til one man (Jericho) was left standing in the ring.... and then he speared Jericho into the ground. It gets worse in 2017 and 2018 when he begins to display more Blood Knight tendencies such as attempting to kill Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar, after failing to defeat them. When he defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, he acted more as a heel and basked in his achievement of being the man who presumably retires the Undertaker (until Undertaker returns the following year).
    • Even more so after his proper heel turn in August 2020.
  • Tranquil Fury:
  • Trash Talk: Anyone who'd seen most of his promo work as a face would forget he played college ball, but the Head of the Table in 2020 has drawn directly from that, proving to be sublime at verbally tearing down adversaries while beating them down. Even referees and his own councilman aren't entirely safe.
  • Troll: He's been turning into this after becoming the WWE Champion, as demonstrated through this video.
    Reigns: You want to see her get really mad?
  • True Companions: Played wonderfully straight throughout the end of 2013 and into 2014. There was so much tension between Ambrose and Reigns that just about any other team/stable in WWE history would have long since imploded on itself— it seemed painfully obvious that WWE's creative team was setting up a team-wide split (possibly to turn Roman Reigns face and give him a push). Rollins, being the manipulative chessmaster that he is, gave the two something to confront as one when he walked out on them, then used the situation to convince them to put aside their issues, resulting in the Shield becoming stronger than ever and making a Heel–Face Turn.

    Sadly, after making it perfectly clear that the Shield were Evolution's superiors, Rollins stabbed Reigns and Ambrose in the back and would go on to claim that the brotherhood he presented the Shield as was just a lie that they believed in; to him, they were nothing but business partners. However, once again the two responded only by banding closer together, and while they may have decided to split up and operate on their own, they still remain boys and are after the same targets.

    Reigns's and Ambrose's friendship even shows at Survivor Series 2015 when Ambrose congratulates Reigns for winning the World Heavyweight Championship after giving each other a brutal beating.
  • Undying Loyalty: Dean Ambrose. Whenever one is in need, the other is always there, ready to help. Even after Ambrose left the company and became Jon Moxley again, Reigns has remained unflinchingly loyal to him, and it remains one of the few positive traits that carried over to his heel persona.
  • Un-person: Insane as it is to believe after all this time, it appears that WWE is attempting to do this to Roman even before his career with them is over! During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, WWE told their employees that anyone who did not want to risk their health by working at this time would be excused from showing up with no repercussions. Unfortunately for them, Roman decided it would be best if this included him, something everyone agrees was the right decision for him to make as he has a compromised immune system stemming from his struggles with leukemia and it makes him much more vulnerable to the virus than the average person, at the same time that his wife is pregnant with twins.note  Unfortunately for him, WWE had booked him to win the Universal Championship back from Goldberg at WrestleMania 36, and continued to promote him as being in that match, despite knowing he'd said he'd have to miss WrestleMania, right up until the SmackDown go-home show before the event, where they grudging revealed that Braun Strowman had been slotted in to replace him. Afterwards, an order came down from the top that Roman was never to be mentioned by WWE at all while he was still gone, up to and including removing from him the company's page advertising their contributions to the Make-a-Wish Foundation (replacing him with John Cena) and editing him out of videos of matches he'd been in. Most jarringly and ridiculously, during a video package about the greatest Money in the Bank cash-ins, they showed Seth Rollins cashing in at WrestleMania 31, but completely edited Roman out so that Seth was only shown running to the ring and cashing in, delivering the Curb Stomp to Brock Lesnar, and walking out celebrating with the WWE Championship, even though it was Roman he pinned to win! He's blatantly and undisguisedly being punished for not being willing to risk the health of his family for the company.
    • This is being zig-zagged, though, as Roman was featured in a clip from Triple H's 25th anniversary celebration, and was subsequently the subject of an hour-long documentary about him on FS1, which WWE must have signed off on. Reports came out that, while commentators are definitely banned from mentioning Roman at any time, in all other cases it's simply a matter of how Vince McMahon is feeling on any given day (or during any given minute of any given day).
    • Later deconstructed as his unpersoning was revealed to be the catalyst of his heel turn and alliance with Paul Heyman.
    Paul Heyman: I was gone,note  thrown into the shark-infested waters of obscurity only to be rescued, saved, and pulled onto the island of relevancy by this man [Roman]. Reason? Because they did the same damn thing to him, that did to me. Let me ask you a question. What happened to the thank you's and appreciation, for all the selfish executive decisions through life-threatening illnesses this man delivered? Overdelivered?
  • Unrelated Brothers: Inverted. As a member of the Anoa'i clan, he's Real Life cousins with The Rock as well as The Usos, with whom The Shield established something of a rivalry, resulting in a period of time where Reigns seemingly couldn't get through a week without being matched against them. Reigns' relationship with the Anoa'i family was never brought up at this point — not even by JBL, who always seems to dig up that sort of information. It was finally acknowledged after the 2015 Royal Rumble, where Roman claimed that he purposefully never put his family ties out there so that he could forge his own path.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Compared to his (former) partner Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns is lacking a bit in grace and finesse (he's not bad, but he's the least experienced wrestler and sometimes it shows). But he makes up for it by packing a lot of power in his punch, and his Spear is by far the most devastating one-man move in The Shield's arsenal.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After getting screwed out of the title one last time in 2015, Reigns went on a rampage, running roughshod over the League of Nations, culminating in him all but destroying Triple H, who had to be carried out of the arena on a stretcher.
  • [Verb] This!: One of his Catch Phrases. "Believe that!"
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Roman's feud with Logan Paul was kickstarted by Logan calling him out and talking crap about him on his IMPAULSIVE Podcast the moment Roman leaves the studio. Roman's completely right that this was a dick move on Logan's part.
    • Roman justified his attempts to break Sami Zayn fully into The Bloodline's ways, which ultimately failed and led to Sami rebelling and getting violently expelled at the 2023 Royal Rumble, by claiming that he saw greed when he looked into Sami's eyes backstage at the 2022 Survivor Series months prior and could discern that Sami was out to use the family for his own gain. While this was noticeably false by either of those points in the storyline, it was patently true in the very early goings in the summer of 2022, when Zayn was first kissing up to Reigns in an attempt to regain respect as the "locker room leader" by osmosis following his humiliation at the hands of Johnny Knoxville at that year's WrestleMania.
  • Villain Protagonist: His "Tribal Chief" run works like this, especially during his 2021-2022 feud with Brock Lesnar. Roman is notably the first Heel in WWE who is prominently presented as the face of the companynote .
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • By the end of the 6/17/2023 episode of SmackDown, it was obvious that the normally icy, collected Tribal Chief was already seriously off his game after Jimmy's betrayal at Night of Champions 2023, snapping and losing his composure at Jey and Heyman with greater frequency. So when Jey followed his brother's example that night and swerved Roman by taking his brother's side, punctuating the declaration by flattening Roman with a superkick, it was the final nail in Roman's sanity. The final shot of him on the show, before another double superkick from both Usos shut him up for good, was that of a disheveled, feral-looking Roman screaming obscenities at his cousins, something he had never done in his entire run as the Tribal Chief.
    • In a perhaps surprising bit of continuity, Roman's Tribal Chief character (although consistently booed, being a heel), is prone to being broken by especially antagonistic crowds. Whenever an audience is overwhelmingly virulent towards him, he tends to fall into something of a Thousand-Yard Stare, sometimes shaking his head defiantly as if saying "No, please, not again..." as he endures memories of similar hostilities during his time as a babyface.
  • Villainous Friendship: Had Type I of this with the Shield. Even given the fact that Ambrose was liable to fly off the handle at any moment (even towards his own teammates), the three of them clearly had each others' backs and even went on off-camera field trips to the zoo. This continued when they turned face and then, in Dean and Roman's case, after Seth turned on them and they decided to individualize.
  • Villainous Valour:
    • In a traditional five-on-five Survivor Series tag-team elimination match, Reigns and Rollins found themselves at a five-on-two disadvantage (much different than what The Hounds are used to) towards the end of the bout. Two Spears from Roman Reigns take out Jimmy Uso and Cody Rhodes. Rollins' curb stomp ("The Blackout") then eliminates Jey Uso. After Rey Mysterio pins Rollins, Reigns is alone against Rey and Goldust. Two Spears later, Roman Reigns has pinned both men, giving him four of the five eliminations for his team (tying a record for Survivor Series 5-on-5 matches).

      There was very minimal cheating,note  no fluke pins in their favor, and no ref bumps: just two teammates who, together, combined to be greater than the sum of their talents. Their teamwork and level of skill was so good that their cohesion as a group negated the fact that they were outnumbered five to two and the heels!
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Downplayed between Reigns and Ambrose, since the tension is glaringly obvious. Calling the two "best buds" would probably be a lie. At some point, Ambrose's admittedly impressive (if not just long) reign as United States Champion massively inflated his ego, to the point that he declared himself the best individual wrestler in The Shield. This is despite the fact that Roman Reigns damn near squashed Mark Henry on the February 17, 2014 edition of Raw, when Ambrose got dominated by the World's Strongest Man the week before. Reigns also has a (tied) Survivor-Series record, and a standalone Royal-Rumble record, to his name (see Unstoppable Rage/Villainous Valour above).

    The only thing Ambrose really had going for him was his status as United States Champion— a title he defended a grand total of 16 times in 351 days before losing it on the May 5, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. That's an average of about once every 22 days; most champions are expected to defend their titles every other week at the very least... plus the fact that 9 of those 16 matches ended in DQ or count-out.

    After the team nearly experienced a meltdown in late 2013/early 2014, Ambrose's ego seems to have cooled down significantly, however, as has the tension within The Shield. Even through Rollins's betrayal, Dean and Roman don't seem to be missing a beat, though they've chosen to operate separately.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Notable among WWE (male) wrestlers for being an almost complete aversion of this trope until 2020. From his debut on the main roster, one can probably count on one hand the number of times Reigns has appeared on TV with no shirt or vest, and he's never wrestled a match without one. And Reigns has been on TV quite a bit. This wasn't the case when he was trying out other gimmicks in FCW, and one can see from those photos that his physique is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. One can only assume, then, that this is due to WWE's insistence on his wearing his branded tank tops or vests. After returning as the "Tribal Chief", he ditched vests and started wrestling shirtless.
  • Went Crazy When They Left: His Sanity Slippage in 2020 and subsequent Face–Heel Turn was at least partially driven by his best friend Dean Ambrose's departure from WWE in 2019. His other (former) best friend Seth Rollins even called him out on it. Ironically, Ambrose's departure also did the same thing to Rollins.
  • Wham Episode:
    • His loss to Lesnar in their WrestleMania 34 rematch left a devastating blow to his ego and the fans wondering if this would the start of his long-awaited solo Face–Heel Turn or not.
    • Then, in the following night on RAW, Samoa Joe gives Reigns a "Reason You Suck" Speech before telling him that should he fail to beat Lesnar again in the Greatest Royal Rumble, Joe will finish him off at Backlash 2018.
    • Reigns's steel cage match against Lesnar at the Greatest Royal Rumble ends with The Big Dog accidentally gave Lesnar the win by recklessly spearing him out of the cage despite mercilessly (and nearly) destroying him with several Superman punches, spears, and chair shots.
    • When Kurt Angle informed Reigns that the WWE refused to give him another shot at the MitB qualifiers, Reigns doesn't blame Angle because it's his job and he has a family to take care of. Problem solved? Wrong. Reigns also told Angle that he's going to "do what he's going to do" anyway: Get Revenge on Jinder Mahal for costing him the match against Finn Bálor and Sami Zayn, which gives the audience a hint that Reigns is starting to have Sanity Slippage and might have a solo heel run as a result of it.
    • Reigns got a clean win over Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018... by taking advantage of the distraction caused by Strowman, which costed Lesnar the Universal Title at the end of the match when Reigns launched a surprise attack on The Beast.
    • Just weeks before he was due to face both Lesnar and Strowman at WWE's Crown Jewel event, Reigns pulled out and vacated the Universal title live on RAW after discovering that his leukemia had returned. This isn't just a Wham Episode Reigns and his fans, or even just WWE fans — it was a Wham Episode for the entire industry. Never before had a wrestler of such prominence been taken out of action under such circumstances, let alone while holding one of the most important championships in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.
      • Roman's forced absence was an even bigger Wham for WWE than it initially appeared because they had nobody ready to replace him — in fact, when the match for the Universal Championship at Crown Jewelnote  went ahead without him, WWE decided to put the vacant belt back on Brock instead of pulling the trigger on Braun, despite how badly-received Brock's year-long reign had been. Vince had been criticised for a long time for being willing to sacrifice effectively every guy in his company if it would help get Roman over, yet after Roman was gone the rug got pulled completely out from under him, with almost no stars remaining with the established credibility to take Roman's place. In the end, they wound up giving the belt to Seth Rollins.
    • In the following weeks before SummerSlam 2019, Reigns has been targeted and attacked by a mysterious assailant, first by a forklift, and later by an attempted car crash (though he was unharmed in both cases), resulting in Samoa Joe becoming increasingly concerned over his safety.
    • August 28, 2020: Following his surprise return after five months at SummerSlam the previous weekend, (which was Wham enough in itself) Roman is signing the contract for a Universal Championship match against Braun Strowman and The Fiend... and to the shock of nearly everyone, he didn't come alone: He's now a Paul Heyman guy.
  • Wham Line:
    • October 22, 2018, in which he made a stadium drop into Stunned Silence. With one line, booing Roman Reigns wasn't okay anymore.
      Reigns: I have been living with leukemia for eleven years. And unfortunately, it's back.
    • On the Smackdown after Summerslam 2020 , after vowing to beat The Fiend Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman at Payback for the Universal Championship, he uttered some words familiar with a certain advocate of an old rival of his, who's been sitting at his side smiling the entire time.
      Reigns: That's not a prediction... It's a spoiler.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Turns out Roman really values bonds even as a Heel, as his 2022 feud with Seth Rollins shows. Despite being well into his "Tribal Chief" run, Roman eventually admits that he never really forgave Seth for his betrayal years prior.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Reigns got the last laugh after winning the Universal Title from Lesnar at SummerSlam 2018 when he showed the aforementioned title in front of Heyman while mocking him through what appears to be a Trash Talk.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?:
    • As the Tribal Chief, any challenge to his authority is going to be met with violence. Roman justifies it by saying that because he's the best, he has to be at the top. And if you're trying to take his spot, that means you're trying to take things away from his family. So in Roman's mind, the ass-whipping you get for not bowing down to him is your own fault.
    • To Jey Uso in Hell in a Cell 2020. When Jey wouldn't quit in an I Quit Match, Roman put the then-injured Jimmy in a Guillotine choke until Jey quit.
  • Wild Samoan: Reigns averts the trope himself in his gimmick, but he is notably the son and nephew of the Trope Namers; his old gimmick in FCW, Leakee, played with it a bit, and he definitely evokes the ferocious warrior aspect, what with his roar to the heavens and all. His Tribal Chief gimmick offers a take on the idea which is far more sophisticated and modern compared to the original... but also far more menacing and dangerous.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Roman's transformation into the brutal "Tribal Chief" was the result of years of verbal abuse from the fans, his Leukemia returning, trauma stemming from the dissolution of the Shield, the heavy responsibility of providing for his large family and being slowly unpersoned throughout his recovery despite his repeated contributions to the company. All of that feeds into his desperation to be "acknowledged", even if it means ploughing through the WWE Roster.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • When Finn Bálor defeated him on the July 25, 2016 episode of Raw, he admitted he hoped to face Bálor once more and had grown to respect him during their match. In fact, when Roman won the Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2018, the next night on Raw, who was the first man granted his championship rematch? Bálor, who he said didn't deserve to have waited so long, and Roman was looking forward to facing.
    • Keith Lee after he brought Roman and Seth Rollins to the absolute limit at Survivor Series 2019. Lee bowed to him after Roman beat him, and Roman responded by giving him a fistbump of respect.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He hit Stephanie McMahon with a Spear at WrestleMania 32 (though by accident).
  • Wrestling Family: He is part of the massive Anoa'i family of wrestlers, as described above, and is a cousin of the Usos. This was not acknowledged until January 26, 2015, the night after his Royal Rumble win.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • After taking a massive beating from Brock Lesnar in WrestleMania 31, Roman Reigns finally manages to turn the match around and is constantly hitting Lesnar with three Superman Punches to finally put him down, and eventually, it starts to look like Lesnar just can't beat Roman that night. Then Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the title by pinning Reigns.
    • Survivor Series 2015 had a similar situation: Reigns had to defeat his best friend Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship. Triple H goes in to congratulate Reigns, only for Reigns to spear Triple H unknowingly setting himself up for a Brogue Kick by none other than Mr. Money in the Bank, Sheamus, who then shortly wins the title off of Reigns.
    • A double subversion, then averted, following the 2018 Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, where Roman claimed he had both feet on the floor first after spearing Lesnar through the cage while Brock was still lying on the broken cage wallnote , yet Lesnar was given the win and retained his title. Replays shown seemingly verified Roman's claims, and both RAW GM Kurt Angle and referee Chad Patton agreed that Patton himself had made an error in judgment...but still gave the victory to Lesnar out of "concern for the safety of both competitors." The aversion, however, comes when a reporter at Ringside News noted that only one of Roman's feet had touched the floor while the other had caught itself on the ring apron, seen here, negating Roman's argument in the first place.
    • When Reigns demanded get another shot for the MitB Ladder match by putting him in a Fatal 4-Way match, Angle informed him that the WWE refused to do so and put Mahal in that match instead. Cue Reigns going apeshit on Mahal.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After questioning Heyman over his ties with Lesnar in the December 17, 2021 episode of SmackDown!, Reigns kicked him out of The Bloodline. There is a very good reason why Reigns did this, since he never trusted Heyman in the first place due to his history of backstabbing his clients in favor of Lesnar at the first opportunity. Subverted later when Heyman turned against Lesnar at Royal Rumble 2022 after Reigns showed up.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Downplayed. He didn't kill The Undertaker, nor was he even the first to defeat him at WrestleMania. However, when Roman defeated Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, he declared the next night that "This is [his] yard now," and his Red Baron of "The Big Dog" is a nickname formerly attached to Undertaker himself.

"This is my page now."


Video Example(s):


Daddy's Not Here Anymore

Roman Reigns completely breaks Austin Theory's confidence when he tells him he has no direction now that his "Daddy" (Vince McMahon) is gone, only a week after Vince was forced out of the WWE.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / BreakThemByTalking

Media sources: