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Roman Reigns Might Not Have Returned To WWE If He Wasn't Allowed To Be The Tribal Chief

Roman Reigns might have quit WWE in 2020

Since returning at SummerSlam 2020, Roman Reigns has cemented himself as WWE's top star and The Tribal Chief only added to his legacy on Sunday at WrestleMania 38 as he defeated Brock Lesnar to become both Universal and WWE Champion.

If things had gone differently, though, Reigns might not have even been a WWE talent heading into WrestleMania 38.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reigns decided to go home, abandoning his WrestleMania 36 match for the Universal Title against Goldberg, with Reigns noting within a long ESPN feature that his conversation with Vince McMahon about his decision "wasn't a good one."

"We didn't have enough information [about COVID-19]. We didn't have a proper protocol for protection. I think I made the very smart choice in stepping back and kind of game planning and figuring this thing out and seeing where it went," Reigns said.

While at home with his family, Reigns admitted he got "very comfortable" and he would only return to WWE for something that was "groundbreaking" and "history-making," with ESPN noting both Reigns and Paul Heyman "said they might not have returned to WWE unless they were given permission by WWE CEO Vince McMahon to execute this story in a mostly unscripted fashion."

That story was 'The Tribal Chief' and Reigns and Heyman created The Big Dog's new persona during phone calls, with both men hoping the storyline would dominate WWE and be closer to Reigns' real-life personality. 

"I just kept going back to power. I just want to be viewed as the most powerful superstar of all time, when it comes to WWE and sports entertainment. I just really wanted to convey this portrait of strength. Almost like a Mafia-style power. Not only is it respect, but they fear me," Reigns added. 

"That's the yearning. That's what we both crave. That's what we both desired. That was the only reason why we were both going to come back on television. I was very satisfied with my career ending as the advocate for Brock Lesnar and the body of work that I put together in 30-plus years," Heyman said.

"But there was the vision that we could achieve something together that neither one of us could achieve on our own. I didn't just throw the name special counsel out there. This is what I do for Roman Reigns -- in front of the camera and behind the scenes."

As mentioned, Reigns would return at SummerSlam 2020, turning heel in the process and he won the Universal Championship one week later at Payback. He has been Universal Champion ever since and is currently having the longest world title reign since Hulk Hogan in the 1980s. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons