x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 December 2017

Roman Reigns on WWE's Abu Dhabi tour and beating The Undertaker and John Cena

Reigns is competing on both December 7 and 8 at Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium.

Roman Reigns will headline both nights of the WWE's shows in Abu Dhabi. Image courtesy of WWE
Roman Reigns will headline both nights of the WWE's shows in Abu Dhabi. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE have two shows in Abu Dhabi on December 7-8 at Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium.

Roman Reigns, the WWE Intercontinental champion, is in action on both nights.

He and his fellow members of the Shield, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, face Raw Tag Team champions Sheamus and Cesaro, along with Samoa Joe on December 7 in a six-man tag match.

On December 8 he will defend his Intercontinental title against Triple H.

Ahead of the event, the three-time WWE World Heavyweight champion spoke about competing in the UAE again, being Intercontinental champion and two of his big wins in 2017 against The Undertaker and John Cena.

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On returning to the UAE

"I am super excited. I actually missed the last trip so it is good to come back and from what I remember it was a great time. This show is going to be excellent.

"The energy is always up and the talent we are bringing is just incredible.For me, personally, I am super excited by my match. Going against Triple H speaks for itself. We were the main event at the largest WrestleMania of all time and we are proud to bring this to Abu Dhabi and our fans of the WWE Universe out there and I can guarantee that we will put on a spectacular show."

On facing Triple H for the Intercontinental title in Abu Dhabi

"It is the Game. It is Triple H. I am always up for the opportunity and always down to defend my yard and the good thing is it is not a regular match, it is going to be a championship match.

"I was fortunate enough to win the IC title a couple of weeks ago and I am looking forward to putting it on the line. It is going to be no different in Abu Dhabi.

"That is the type of champion I want to be. To represent the Intercontinental Championship and it is not going to be any different, regardless of who I face. Whether it is Elias, whether it is Samoa Joe, it can be Triple H. Anybody could get it."

Past memories of the UAE

"I think we were still the Shield [last time Roman was in Abu Dhabi was 2003]. It was just a great time. All the talent was super loose. I remember we had a six-man tag match and I think Booker T was the guest referee or something like that.

"The thing with referees is they go up and down for every pin and a 1-2-3 count and I think there might have been 600 roll-ups in that match. It was a great time and a great show. Everybody had a fun time and was smiling and the crowd was awesome and it is going to be a great show."

On being Intercontinental champion

"Always having a title I think is key. That is what drives you as an entertainer.

"There is something special about being a champion in our company, having a title in your gear bag, you know what I mean.

"Right now my main goal is to represent the Intercontinental title to its fullest. To do it right. To hold that standard and to be that work horse.

Before I won this championship I thought I was like a work horse for this company that has been kind of the moniker for the championship. So who better than me to represent it?"

On how he reacted to beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33

"It was a lot heavier [then expected emotionally]. They teach and prepare you in a lot of different ways in this business when you go through developmental and you are mentored and go through your training. But they never teach you to handle those kind of situations.

"The magnitude of retiring the Undertaker and possibly it being of one his last matches. For me it was very heavy. Everything felt very smooth going into it but once we got through that day it was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be and I am excited that it was.

"I am very proud of that and I am proud and honoured to have been a part of his career and possibly to be that last chapter in his book I am extremely proud. I am just very grateful that I got to work with him and learn from him. Especially for this new generation there are not very many of us that can say we have done that so it is cool to be in that group."

On beating John Cena at No Mercy

"It was excellent. It was one of my biggest stepping stones, as far as learning, progressing and getting better and I think it speaks for itself in terms of John Cena and the kind of performer he is, the type of superstar, the businessman he is and the team player he is. He is a once in a lifetime personalty and for me to be able to say I was in the ring with a 16-time champion, and to defeat him, it did wonders for me.

"The build-up, the promos, I thought we had everyone hook, line and sinker and that is exactly what you want to do and that is the business part to create that buzz.

"It was a great programme, especially the fact the only time we got physical was at the pay per view and I felt we did a great job."

What was bigger? Beating The Undertaker or Cena?

"I think beating Cena was more satisfying. The bigger moment for me was beating Undertaker at WrestleMania. It was one of the biggest WrestleManias of all time and I think the numbers will still come out on just how financially lucrative it was.

"It was just one of those moments in my career that will just shine no matter what happens, whoever I get in the ring with. Being in the ring with Undertaker in the main event, it speaks for itself.

"But there was something satisfying about beating John Cena and breaking barriers and helping usher in this new generation of talent."

If you had to pick either Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins, who would you choose?

"Ambrose. No doubt. He didn't swing the chair."

On being compared to John Cena and the Rock

"It is a great responsibility. It is a big plate. But for me I never look at it as being the next anybody. I just want to be the first Roman Reigns.

"It is very flattering and you are in good company when you are compared to people like a John Cena or a Dwayne Johnson. But all I can be is me. Roman Reigns. And that is all I want to be.

"So as long as that is good enough for me, I love and respect myself enough to be happy and satisfied with that. Hopefully people enjoy what we are doing. It is not only about me.

"There is a full locker room of guys and girls and we all come together and in a weird way it is one of the closest teams I have ever been on. It is cool in a way to carry the torch but there is a big team that runs with me around the world from show to show."