WWE's Roman Reigns: I Don't See AEW As Competition Because They Have A Hardcore Fan Base
There is a ceiling for AEW, Reigns believes
Roman Reigns doesn't believe All Elite Wrestling are competition for WWE.
While WWE had been the uncontested number one promotion in the world since they bought WCW in 2001, AEW have grown in popularity since their formation in 2019 and have established themselves as the alternative to Vince McMahon's company, even defeating Raw in the key 18-49 demographic twice in September. A supersized edition of Friday Night SmackDown will also go head-to-head with AEW Rampage tonight.
While many believe AEW are legitimate competition for WWE, Universal Champion Roman Reigns does not and he thinks Tony Khan's promotion have a ceiling because of their hardcore fan base. Reigns also claimed AEW are being "babied" by that same fan base.
After Complex asked if AEW being competition gave Reigns extra motivation in the ring, The Tribal Chief said:
"No. I mean, not for me personally. This is one of those subjects that's very subjective and there's a lot of passion and tribalism that really sways and creates an unbiased opinion. But I can only speak from my perspective. I'm one of those guys who will compete at anything. Like, 'I bet you I can eat that cookie faster.' I want to be the best at anything that I choose to do. We pull up on lawn mowers, we cut the yard in half, I'm going to beat you. My side will look better than yours," Reigns began.
"So me, I don't see the real competition [with AEW] because I think their fan base legitimately is a hardcore fan base. So there's like a ceiling and a built-in ground to that viewership. [The WWE is] trying to connect with everyone. We're trying to connect with the mainstream. We're trying to pull in the casual fan. We're trying to engage the new viewer, while also servicing our hardcore fan base and give them compelling stories to fulfil them as well," he continued.
"I don't know if I've said it before, but I've said it before, when the audience is probably the biggest character in your show, that's strange to me. You'll hear it all the time, the reviews and the comparisons. I think because they are the new kids on the block, they're the cool kids in town I guess because of how premature and how novel it kind of still is, I think there still being babied by these hardcore wrestling fans. Which is fine. That's great. I don't think anybody's going to ever, especially from a performance standpoint say, 'Oh no, there's more opportunities out there? That sucks.' So it's not a bad thing. It's a great thing for professional wrestling. It's just a weird argument because there's so much bias and there's so much, 'I'm on this side and I'm not gonna open my mind to the other side.' And it goes both ways," Reigns added.
"As far as competition, not to me. There might be some other people on our roster who maybe think they need to dig deep and get better as a performer and what they do out there at the art form, but there's nobody in the whole world, any other promotion, in WWE... I'm better at this art form than everybody else. And I stand on that. That's the totality of it. I'm not just talking about, 'Oh, his spots are so good and he counters real well.' That stuff don't mean anything to me. When you tally it all up, nobody touches me in this business."