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How the Tribal Chief gimmick save Roman Reigns' WWE career?

Published at :May 25, 2024 at 7:17 PM
Modified at :May 25, 2024 at 7:18 PM
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(Courtesy : WWE)

Blesson Daniel

‘The Tribal Chief’ holds the record for one of the longest title reigns in the company’s history

Roman Reigns is one of WWE’s most divisive characters and has experienced an incredible transition in recent years. Reigns, who struggled to connect with the fans as “The Big Dog,” has achieved tremendous popularity and accolades under his Tribal Chief identity.

This transformation has not only reinvigorated his career but has also cemented his status as one of the best talents in professional wrestling.

The struggles of ‘The Big Dog’

Roman Reigns‘ journey to becoming the Tribal Chief was born out of frustration and a desire for change. Despite being positioned as the face of WWE, Reigns’ character as “The Big Dog” failed to resonate with fans. His character was often criticized for being repetitive and predictable, with storylines that did little to showcase his full potential.

Memorable but unfortunate moments like the “suffering succotash” promo and feuds over dog food with Baron Corbin highlighted the creative stagnation Reigns faced.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought an unexpected opportunity for Reigns to step away from WWE. With concerns over his health, given the uncertainty surrounding the virus, Reigns took a hiatus from wrestling. This break proved to be a crucial turning point in his career.

During his hiatus, Reigns was determined not to return to WWE in the same capacity. Speaking on “Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin,” Paul Heyman, Reigns’ on-screen advisor and real-life confidant, revealed the backstage drama that unfolded. Heyman recounted how Reigns had grown weary of the creative direction, feeling that he had peaked as “The Big Dog” but still had much more to offer as a performer.

“I’ve reached the cap. I can’t go any further as the Big Dog. I’ve peaked, [but] as an athlete I haven’t peaked. As a performer, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I have so much more to offer, and since I’m taking time off, I’m not coming back as the same person. This is where I make my move,” Reigns reportedly told Heyman. This resolve to reinvent himself was the catalyst for the creation of the Tribal Chief character.

Also Read: Top 10 longest reigning WWE Champions of all time

The birth of Roman Reigns as ‘The Tribal Chief’

When Roman Reigns returned to WWE, he did so with a new identity: the Tribal Chief. This character overhaul allowed Reigns to tap into his Samoan heritage, drawing upon his family’s wrestling legacy while showcasing his own dominance and authority. Embracing a heel persona, Reigns became a commanding presence, capturing the imagination of fans like never before.

The Tribal Chief persona has brought out a new level of performance from Reigns. His promos are more intense and authentic, and his in-ring psychology has evolved to match his new character. Aligning with Paul Heyman further cemented his status, adding a layer of complexity and intrigue to his persona.

Since embracing the Tribal Chief persona, Roman Reigns has experienced a level of success that was unimaginable during his time as the Big Dog. He is the only champion in the last 3 decades to reach 1,000 days as the undisputed WWE Universal Champion, a testament to his remarkable talent and the captivating nature of his character.

This success is a direct result of Reigns’ courage to challenge the creative direction of WWE and push for a reinvention. By breaking free from the constraints of his previous persona, Reigns carved a new path that showcased his true potential and captivated the wrestling world.

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