WWE SmackDown star and Universal Champion Roman Reigns has explained why he doesn’t see AEW as competition.
Tonight is a big night with SmackDown and Rampage effectively going head-to-head, and whatever happens, we’re in for an interesting night tonight and an interesting Monday night when the ratings come out.
Speaking with Complex about the idea that AEW provides extra motivation, Roman Reigns said:
“No. I mean, not for me personally. This is one of those subjects that’s very subjective and there’s a lot of passion and tribalism that really sways and creates an unbiased opinion. But I can only speak from my perspective. I’m one of those guys who will compete at anything. Like, ‘I bet you I can eat that cookie faster’. I want to be the best at anything that I choose to do. We pull up on lawn mowers, we cut the yard in half, I’m going to beat you. My side will look better than yours.
“So me, I don’t see the real competition (with AEW) because I think their fanbase legitimately is a hardcore fanbase. So there’s like a ceiling and a built-in ground to that viewership. (WWE is) trying to connect with everyone. We’re trying to connect with the mainstream. We’re trying to pull in the casual fan. We’re trying to engage the new viewer, while also servicing our hardcore fanbase and give them compelling stories to fulfill them as well.
“I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but I’ve said it before, when the audience is probably the biggest character in your show, that’s strange to me. You’ll hear it all the time, the reviews and the comparisons. I think because they are the new kids on the block, they’re the cool kids in town I guess because of how premature and how novel it kind of still is, I think they’re still being babied by these hardcore wrestling fans. Which is fine. That’s great. I don’t think anybody’s going to ever, especially from a performance standpoint say, ‘Oh no, there’s more opportunities out there? That sucks’.
“So it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing for professional wrestling. It’s just a weird argument because there’s so much bias and there’s so much, ‘I’m on this side and I’m not gonna open my mind to the other side’. And it goes both ways.
“As far as competition, not to me. There might be some other people on our roster who maybe think they need to dig deep and get better as a performer and what they do out there at the art form, but there’s nobody in the whole world, any other promotion, in WWE… I’m better at this art form than everybody else. And I stand on that. That’s the totality of it.
“I’m not just talking about, ‘Oh, his spots are so good and he counters real well’. That stuff don’t mean anything to me. When you tally it all up, nobody touches me in this business.”
Roman Reigns will defend the Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel on October 21, with Lesnar set to appear on tonight’s SmackDown.
Stay tuned to WrestleTalk.com for full coverage of both of tonight’s shows.