WWE Chronicle documentary on Jey Uso follows Roman Reigns build - Sports Illustrated

‘WWE Chronicle’ on Jey Uso Documents Moments Leading to Roman Reigns Match at ‘Clash of Champions’

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Jey Uso will headline this Sunday’s Clash of Champions pay-per-view in a universal championship match against Roman Reigns.

And no one is more surprised by that than Uso.

Announced as the surprise replacement for Big E on the Sept. 4 edition of SmackDown, Uso won the four-way match against Baron Corbin, Matt Riddle and Sheamus to become the new top contender for Reigns’s title. Uso hit a frog splash on Riddle for the win, but the best moment occurred after the show went off the air. As WWE’s crew was pulling the plug on the ThunderDome for the evening, Uso remained in the ring, with a look of sheer awe on his face, seemingly unable to grasp the enormity of his new place on the card.

That moment was captured by WWE’s camera team, and it is a critical scene in WWE Chronicle: Jey Uso, which will be available beginning Saturday on the WWE Network. The special is a reminder that WWE has few peers in the video production field, and Uso made an incredibly captivating subject.

The son of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, Uso’s past, present and future are all intrinsically connected to the business of professional wrestling. Though the episode puts a magnifying glass on the stretch of time between Sept. 4 through Sept. 18 on SmackDown, it also intertwines plenty of rich childhood footage. The Chronicle includes appearances from Rikishi, Jey’s son Jeyce (who was happy to mention he will be rooting for Reigns on Sunday) and Jey’s oldest son, Jaciyah, a teenager who picked his father to win at Clash of Champions mainly so he could end the conversation and return to his room.

The documentary captured his sacrifice and dedication for his profession, as well as introduced viewers to his two sons and wife, Takecia, who Uso credits as the backbone of the family. He shares personal details about his history and family, including how it was his uncle, the late Umaga—not his father—who forever changed the direction of his life by bringing him into the wrestling business.

The 29-minute episode does a tremendous job detailing the meaning behind Uso’s match against his cousin Roman Reigns at Sunday’s Clash of Champions. Built around the lead-up to that match, this Chronicle particularly shines in the behind-the-scenes moments capturing Uso with his friends and family in WWE.

There is a short but tremendous scene where Big E offers genuine praise and support for Uso. You see the trepidation from Uso before his four-way match on SmackDown. Every time Roman Reigns steps on screen is a highlight. There are game clips of Reigns’s high school football career, where he teamed with Jimmy and Jey Uso—the three linebackers were known as “Triple Threat”—and viewers will enjoy listening to Reigns give Sheamus a hard time for looking like an extra in Gangs of New York. Reigns steals every scene, and that is the challenge for Uso this Sunday: making a meaningful first impression in his main-event singles debut against wrestling’s signature larger-than-life star.

Wrestling story lines are too often rushed on television. The never-ending pressure of the following week’s show and nonstop demand for instant ratings success combine to rush plotlines and lessen the gravity of potentially big moments. So, it was refreshing to see the Jey Uso story given the time it deserves in this Chronicle, as WWE attempts to build a new star out of one of its longest-tenured talents.

This Chronicle exceeded expectations, adding more meaning and emotion to the Uso-Reigns title match at Clash of Champions.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.