Name: Roman Reigns
From: Pensacola, Florida
Relationship status: Married to Star Reigns
Height: 6 ft 3 in
WWE is in Roman Reigns’ blood.
A star defensive tackle at Georgia Tech, Reigns wrecked offensive guards for both the Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars before answering his family calling to become a WWE Superstar. The hulking powerhouse brought his smash-mouth gridiron style to WWE’s developmental system, NXT, where he left a long line of tough opponents in crumpled heaps. But it was at the 2012 Survivor Series that Reigns made his greatest impact.
In the heat of a Triple Threat Match between WWE Champion CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback, Reigns hit the ring alongside fellow WWE NXT competitors Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins and unleashed a merciless attack on the mighty Ryback. Tearing at the beast like a pack of hungry jackals, the young competitors ruined Ryback’s opportunity to win the WWE Title and drove him through a ringside table.
Rumors that the group was working in collusion with The Straight Edge Superstar quickly spread, but those ties were strongly denied when Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose sat down with Michael Cole for an interview. Branding themselves “The Shield,” the band of upstarts in black tactical gear claimed that they weren’t in WWE to aid Punk, but to halt injustice.
The Shield took on Ryback and Team Hell No in the first-ever Six-Man Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match. The harrowing contest may have intimidated other upstarts, but Reigns and company proved they were up to the task when they took out their hardened opponents in a brutal fight. The unit’s dominance was unrepentant from there as they stopped John Cena, Sheamus & Ryback at WWE Elimination Chamber, Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show at Wrestlemania 29 and Team Hell No & The Undertaker on Smackdown. At Extreme Rules 2013, Rollins & Reigns bested Team Hell No to win the WWE Tag Team Titles, later targeting Daniel Bryan on multiple occasions on the orders of WWE COO Triple H.
The night after Night of Champions 2013, Bryan scored a win via disqualification over Reigns after Randy Orton interfered in the bout. When The Shield and Orton looked to prey on Bryan, a slew of Superstars charged from the locker room to come to Bryan’s aid, sending The Hounds of Justice into retreat mode – and perhaps revealing that the trio was not as unstoppable as they seemed.
The following week, Reigns suffered his first pinfall in WWE when he was eliminated by The Usos in the first-ever 11-on-3 Handicap Elimination Tag Team Match that pitted The Hounds against Bryan and his locker-room supporters. At WWE Battleground, Reigns & Rollins came up short against brothers Cody Rhodes & Goldust with the Rhodes family's jobs on the line. Eight days later, the brothers defeated Rollins & Reigns again to become WWE Tag Team Champions, thanks to the help of an interfering Big Show.
Even though he and Rollins have since been unable to re-capture the tandem titles, Reigns arguably made one of his most definitive statements as an individual Superstar at Survivor Series – ironically, during a 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Tag Match, when he single-handedly eliminated four members of a team that included the WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos and Rey Mysterio. Despite their perceived dominance, The Shield stumbled in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match against CM Punk at WWE TLC when an errant spear from Reigns allowed Punk to pin Ambrose. After a long rivalry where Punk faced and defeated various members of The Shield, Reigns became the sole Hound to beat The Best in the World when he pinned Punk on the Jan. 6, 2014 Raw.
Reigns' next and potentially greatest step came in the 2014 Royal Rumble Match when he eliminated a record 12 Superstars from the contest, including Ambrose and Rollins, and came in second before he was last eliminated by a returning Batista. The next night, though, The Shield were prevented from earning their way into the Elimination Chamber Match and challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Title when The Wyatt Family interfered in their qualifying bout, handing the DQ victory to Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Sheamus. WWE COO Triple H later granted the enraged Shield a request to face The Wyatts at Elimination Chamber. After a couple of weeks of circling each other, the two factions finally came to blows at the end of the Feb. 17 Raw.
But at Elimination Chamber, The Hounds of Justice fell in a hard-fought battle to The Wyatt Family. The next night, Reigns and Bray Wyatt clashed in singles competition, though interference by Ambrose cost Reigns the match via disqualification. In a rematch against The Wyatts the next week on Raw, Rollins abandoned his teammates due to frustration at being forced to hold them together, and Reigns and Ambrose were defeated again The Wyatts as a result.
Reigns and The Shield's motives continue to be questioned by the WWE Universe. However, any doubt regarding their abilities has long been answered.