Roman Reigns returned from hiatus at the 2020 SummerSlam and in the weeks that followed he unveiled his new heel persona as “The Tribal Chief.” He’s ruled Friday Night SmackDown with an iron fist ever since with the Universal Championship over his shoulder and Paul Heyman by his side. Many fans have praised Reigns for this transformation, particularly for the personality he’s now able to show on the microphone and in the ring (often shouting at his opponents during matches). But it turns out Reigns has a bit more freedom than most of the stars on the roster, as he confirmed in an interview with the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast this week that he’s been basically unscripted for nearly a full year.
“You know there was a portion of my career where I’d either read a script or I would try to adjust the script as much as possible,” Reigns said. “But, you know, for a while now, especially since I’ve come back from my little leave during the beginning of the pandemic since SummerSlam, I’m not scripted. I say what I want to, I say what I feel. And if it comes out of my mouth, it’s my verbiage. I come up with it, I deliver it and that’s why it’s been the way it’s been because it’s mine.”
.@WWE Universal Champion, @WWERomanReigns, shares his thoughts on working with @JohnCena after being away from the company and gives the backstory on his famous “missionary” promo on Cena and the fallout 😂
🎧 https://t.co/RO0z6WLHiF pic.twitter.com/U4Dm6xjEf1
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 12, 2021
Ironically, Heyman gave a lengthy defense of scripted promos earlier this year. While on the Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch he said, “That’s, again, something without a perfect answer. Vince McMahon owns a content creation conglomerate that now has on the table in application three separate billion-dollar deals. And I’m sure he’s working on more.
“Knowing Vince he’s probably trying to envision the first trillion-dollar content output deal. … When you have such deals you have to protect those deals from someone else screwing them up,” he added. “So if Mr. or Mrs. or Miss X goes out to the ring and on live television or a live stream says something that is egregiously wrong and it gets through or it’s said in front of all these witnesses and it causes a major scandal and, ‘Cancel Culture’ or not, deservedly gets WWE thrown off of FOX or NBCU or Peacock and blows a billion-dollar deal, who’s to blame besides Vince McMahon for not saying, ‘I want to know what this person is going to say before they say it.'”