AEW is probably the closest thing WWE has had to legitimate competition since the days of WCW, but Roman Reigns clearly doesn't see it that way.
The Universal Champion told Complex in a recent interview that AEW has a "hardcore" fanbase, which gives the promotion a "ceiling".
Reigns compared AEW's situation to WWE's, noting that his company is trying to tap into the mainstream with their product:
I don’t see the real competition (with AEW) because I think their fanbase legitimately is a hardcore fanbase. So there’s like a ceiling and a built-in ground to that viewership. (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 fanbase and give them compelling stories to fulfill them as well.
Roman Reigns did acknowledge that other members of the roster may consider AEW to be competition to WWE, but stressed that he doesn't feel the same way.
'The Tribal Chief' continued by stating that within wrestling, there is no one that comes close to his level, which is why he doesn't even consider to be competition:
“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.
AEW put on its first show just over two years ago, and Roman Reigns thinks the fact that the promotion is new is helping its perception amongst fans.
Reigns continued by saying that AEW is just the "new kid on the block", meaning they are still getting the benefit of the doubt from wrestling fans:
“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 they’re 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’.
Roman Reigns will be in action at WWE Crown Jewel next week, defending his Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar.
You can watch Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at WWE Crown Jewel on October 21 live in the US on Peacock and in all other international markets on the WWE Network.News Now - Sport News