- Roman Reigns is heading to Saudi Arabia to face Brock Lesnar vowing to right the wrongs of a previous clash with the Beast in the Kingdom.
- Reigns will defend his WWE Universal Championship at Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Thursday October 21 against old foe Lesnar.
October 14, 2021: The pair have history in Saudi Arabia dating back to 2018 when they met in confines of a steel cage at The Greatest Royal Rumble. On that night Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage to the floor, controversially losing the match as the Beast was deemed to touch the floor first.
Reigns would have claimed the Universal Championship that night, and it still sticks in his mind.
“I feel like I was robbed of the victory on that night,” said Reigns.
“The object was to get out of the steel cage, and I feel like I did all the work to get both of us out.
“Creating a moment like spearing Brock Lesnar through a steel cage in Saudi Arabia, and for me not to come out of that night as the Universal Champion is one of the biggest screw jobs in the history of WWE.”
Despite their storied history, Reigns now firmly believes he is the man to beat – backed up by his more than 400-days, and counting, as champion.
“In the past Brock was probably the most prestigious Universal Champion we have had, definitely in terms of title reign - but that pales into comparison against what I have been able to achieve in the last year and a half,” he said.
“A lot of things have changed for me and Brock - but one thing that hasn't is our physicality in the ring. Brock did well against me years ago, but anything recently I think I have had the upper hand - and that upper hand lies with me in so many ways.”
One of the changes Reigns mentions is the positioning of his Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, the former advocate of Lesnar. This only adds to the dynamic of the rivalry – as we have seen played out since Lesnar returned to WWE at SummerSlam in August.
“Paul Heyman has a very wide skillset, and there is a lot of great behind-the-scenes details he can keep in check,” explained Reigns. “A lot of people don't get to see the little things he does for a performer, so for me that is something that is now in place and it is something Brock is lacking.
“There are so many responsibilities and tasks I don't have to worry about now, the only thing I have to focus on is the battle plan - what is going to happen when I walk out of the curtain and defend the WWE Universal Championship - Paul has everything else covered. I just have to show up and make sure the ring announcer is saying 'and still' at the end of the match.”
WWE is returning to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 20 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Reigns says being back in front of live audiences could not have come soon enough.
“There is nothing like being in front of a live audience - wrestling in front of no one sucks,” he said.
“It is something we had to adapt to and make work, but it hurts. It does not feel good. I can legitimately tell you then when you have a sold-out arena, or a stadium jam-packed full of people going nuts, that energy and those positive vibes are like a Superman shot.
“That's the energy and excitement the live crowd brings, and Saudi Arabia is no different. We only get over there a couple of times a year and it has been a while now due to the pandemic, so I am expecting crazy, crazy energy out there.”
Roman Reigns takes on Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship as part of a jam-packed card at Crown Jewel at the Mohammed Abdo Arena, Boulevard, Riyadh on Thursday October 21. Tickets are available from ticketmx.com starting at SAR 50.