Roman Reigns took it all in.
"You suck". "Roman sucks." "Go away." "A--hole." "F--- You, Roman." "Please retire."
Those were the chants hurled by a Monday Night Raw crowd to Reigns the day after WrestleMania this year. The vitriol that night, April 3, lasted for more than 15 minutes. During that time span, Reigns came to the ring, stood in the ring and then left the ring. And all he said in that 15-minute span was, "This is my yard now." Five words. That was it. In a 15-minute segment. While the crowd was frothing at the mouth. (You can watch an abridged version of the promo above or the full version here.)
It was a virtuoso performance by Reigns, who spoke to SI.com's Jimmy Traina about that infamous promo on this week's "Off The Board" podcast.
How Reigns feels about the promo:
"There’s a different type of appreciation that you have for a really good match, like a 30-minute bout, and taking the crowd on that roller coaster ride. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a few of those matches to where it was just incredible, the crowd was awesome they were just going nuts the whole time, super into the match, but that [promo] was probably the most gratifying thing I’ve... I enjoyed that segment more than any other segment and I had just wrestled and beaten the Undertaker the night before.
But it was so bittersweet to just be able to have full control. I just felt like everybody was on a string at that point and I was just pulling them. There’s a little thing where you can see I pretty much mouth it, 'I got em in the palm of my hand.' I had thousands of people doing exactly what I wanted them to do and it’s like master plan and it’s unfolding perfectly in front of your eyes.
I could’ve stayed out there for another 20 minutes. We had other segments and other brothers that had to go out there and do their work. But the whole time, I was looking at every different cameraman and they’re all telling me to 'go home' and that signal is just one finger doing a little circle, saying 'wrap it up, take it home, let’s go,' and I sat there and looked at cameramen doing that for five to 10 minutes and I knew we were getting pretty deep into that Seg One and we’re about pretty much cross over into Seg 2 and Seg 3 and I felt bad because there were guys, I think it was one of the Hardy Boyz against Sheamus or Cesar, and I did feel bad because I did eat into their match, but there was that electricity out there and you don’t leave the table when you’re on the heater."
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One whether the plan all along to only say, "This is my yard now" and nothing else:
"We threw around a few different ideas, but it wasn’t going to be much longer than that. Maybe a line or two more. But we felt after what happened the night before, it was fitting to keep it simple and let the crowd do all the work and luckily we had a great crowd, super energetic. That’s the thing for me; I don’t care what you do in there, as long as you stay somewhat respectful and don’t get crazy. We are syndicating live and it is a PG show. As long as you're rowdy and noisy, you can cheer me, you can boo me, you can do whatever you gotta do, just as long as you're into it and you’re having fun and you’re taking advantage of the time you’re spending at the show and the hard money you spent to get there. That’s all I care about is people coming and enjoying themselves, whether that’s through cheering me, booing me, whatever it may be. Just have a good time."
Reigns also talked about where we'll one day see a match between him and John Cena after they recently got into a Twitter beef:
"I think so. If you’re here for the right reasons -- and this doesn’t just go for wrestling, this is anything, this is what drives our world -- you wanna be in there with the best. To say John Cena is not one of the best of all time is asinine. He is. He’s a 16-time heavyweight champion. There’s only two men in the whole world that can say that. So to be able to share the ring with him, to do a big fight with John Cena, I’m all for that.
I came here for a reason. I didn’t come here to blend in. I came here to stick out and that’s what I’ve done. I’m not gonna back down to anybody I said this a long time ago: I don’t care who’s at the top. I’m stepping up. I think I’ve proved that over the years. I think, what a great way to honor both of our careers and what we’re trying to do and the way we try to drive this train. What better way to do it than in the ring, one on one.
Other topics Reigns discussed on the podcast include:
• Does he ever get tired of the boos
• Does he ever encounter the hate in real life
• Is he a locker room leader
• How does he handle a superstar, such as, Enzo Amore, having heat
• The Rock getting rid of his Brahma Bull tattoo
• Twitter and his policy of following no one