The Shield’s Roman Reigns sees Sunday’s tag team war at WWE Battleground as the end of the road for the Rhodes family.
Teaming with Seth Rollins against Cody Rhodes and Goldust, who have their father “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes in their corner, The Shield aims to finish off the careers of the second-generation wrestlers once and for all.
“My expectations are to win like we always do,” Reigns emphatically declared to SLAM! Wrestling on the phone Thursday.
Reigns and Rollins have been tag team champions since May and Reigns claimed they are “always on the same page.”
“It’s going to be interesting because this is brothers we’re dealing with, and we’ve wrestled brothers before, and they have given us a bit of a challenge — being the Usos,” said Reigns. “They are twins, but the Rhodes brothers, they’ve been around each other for a long time. They’ve been in the business for a long time. So it’s going to make for a very interesting dynamic between myself and Seth Rollins, but its business as usual. The way we’re walking into this match is that anything other than a Rhodes retirement party is unacceptable.”
Reigns acknowledged that his own family — he is the son of Sika of the Wild Samoans — and the Rhodes family do have a history together, but that it won’t have any impact this Sunday.
“I’ve known him [Dusty Rhodes] for a long time,” said Reigns. “Our families have been around each other and friendly, not a mentor or anything like that, but I’m very familiar with the man.”
As far as Reigns is concerned, while things have been dire for the Rhodes family, he and The Shield have benefited a great deal these last several weeks because they’ve had a chance to work with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Randy Orton. They have absorbed a great deal from them.
“Just being around Triple H you can learn from him on every aspect of the game, but than being around his wife Stephanie McMahon, and Randy Orton; it brings a bunch of different personalities together,” explained Reigns. “They’re all very successful. These faces are the top faces of the WWE, so to be around them you can learn something minute, little things that they do. The way Triple H takes on so much, his plate is always full, but he’s always seems to crack a joke or be cool under pressure. Stephanie she’s the queen. She’s been around it all. She’s seen it all. She’s interacted with the biggest superstars of all time. Anything you can learn from her you can use it; it can influence you career and your character.”
As for Orton, Reigns stated that he saw the WWE Superstar as being in the spot that everyone wants to be in.
“He is what is known as the face of the WWE, he’s been WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion and every other type of championship he’s held,” Reigns said. “So that’s the spot we’re all working for.”
With regards to the decision of The Shield to align themselves with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Orton, it was pointed out that in some ways, particularly in the case of Orton, that they were affiliating with what they had been fighting against earlier on in the form of John Cena.
“Well, I’m not going to necessarily say we’ve sided with the new John Cena, Randy Orton,” stated Reigns. “We’re there to do a job for Triple H. For a long time we’ve talked about Justice. Justice being what’s best for the business; that’s the type of guys we are. When we talk about Justice we’re talking about being unselfish; we’re talking about taking what’s most important, the WWE and elevating it. So when the boss, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), being the most important person in the company, approaches you to assist him in this I think it would an Injustice to spit in his face and say no. I think we’ve done the right thing.”
“I think what we’re doing is laying down building blocks to build a better WWE and we’re right in the middle of that; so we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Reigns went on to say. “We’re heavily involved in what Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are trying to do. If you’re on the sideline, you’re not in the game. You have no chance to do what’s right and what you’re working towards. I think we’ve made the absolute best decision possible aligning ourselves with Triple H. It’s not only smart for us; it’s smart for the WWE to have us there.”
However, that isn’t to say that if WWE’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Vince McMahon, came into the picture with a differing point-of-view that The Shield wouldn’t listen to what he has to say.
“We’re talking about highest bidder here,” Reigns elucidated. “This is a power position for us. This is where we can drive negotiations and skyrocket money — so that actually I like where you’re going with this! That’s a good point. This is something. We may need to get a bidding war over The Shield. Ooo. Who’s got the deepest pockets? I think I know who that is, but at the same time it’s pretty flattering to have a couple men in power fight over you. I like that.”
For Reigns, though, his big focus is on having himself and The Shield continue to grow as individuals, as a tag team, and as a three man unit.
“I think before we won the tag team championship we were growing as a three-man unit which we’re still doing,” reflected Reigns. “We’re tag team champions and Dean Ambrose is the U.S. champion, but we’re still getting better. We’re still getting to know each other. We’re still learning about each other. One thing about me and Seth Rollins, though, is we always know where each other are, even backstage, and definitely in the ring. We have a feel for what needs to happen; we know each other, he knows the tools I possess, I know the skills he has. So we know who the right man for the job is and we don’t have big egos to where, ‘I want the glory, I want this, I want that; No Seth, you’re the better guy for this job; I need you to do this,’ or, ‘Roman, I need you to do this,’ and we get the job done.”
As to those who may have noticed that Dean Ambrose of late hasn’t been wearing the same gear as Reigns and Rollins, and thinking it could be a subtle signal of splintering within The Shield think again.
“It’s hard to tell from a TV standpoint, but I will say this it is a tactical vest,” explained Reigns. “It has some holstering pockets near his underarms. It’s a very discrete, concealed tactical vest and I would like to think it’s his own now; that’s one thing we’ve all prided ourselves on — switching it up, evolving; we kind of rock different gear. We have the same black tactical stuff, but if you look closely we all wear different ones. It’s all different styles of tactical dress, pants, and shoes. It’s just something he feels more comfortable in. It looks fine, it looks good.”
In fact, according to Reigns the tactical gear that The Shield wear is quite heavy, and gets heavier after they’ve wrestled for 15 to 20 minutes and been sweating quite a bit.
“When you’re getting down to the nitty gritty of a match towards the end that’s when you’re more tired,” detailed Reigns. “You’re really feeling the effects of the match; not only is that happening, but your vest is like ten pounds.”
Yet, even with his impending match on Sunday, Reigns wanted to let fans know about the partnership between WWE and Susan G. Komen, who is the world’s largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research and funds community outreach programs, public advocacy and global programs, and the expansion of the joint “Rise Above Cancer” campaign. The campaign will include all WWE Superstars and Divas wearing pink ring gear and customized t-shirts in order to help raise awareness and funds for Komen. As part of the campaign WWE will donate 20% of all specialty “Rise Above Cancer” merchandise sold until December 31, 2013 through WWEShop.com and at WWE live events.
“It something I’m extremely proud of to be a part of,” said Reigns. “WWE taking on a partnership with Susan G. Komen to fight breast cancer and bring awareness to this situation is huge. To fight for the health of women all over the world that says it all. You can’t do anything bigger. We need healthy women for life to go on. That’s a part of the equation. So to protect the women, to fight breast cancer, to shine light on Susan G. Komen, the WWE is doing a great thing and I couldn’t be more proud of my company for that. I have a lot of friends and co-workers that have lost family members not only to breast cancer, but other forms of cancer so any time you can really see what the hard work is going towards, and you feel the emotions and the happiness that you’ve helped people, that is a blessing in its own right. If you can achieve that, everything else is small compared to that.”
WWE Battleground will be shown live on pay-per-view on Sunday October 6th, starting at 8PM EST/5PM PST. If you don’t get to see it on PPV, we’ll have a recap and a photo gallery here on SLAM! Wrestling.