Roman Reigns has been the WWE Universal champion for more than 900 days.
That reign (pun intended) could end Sunday when he faces Cody Rhodes in the main event at WrestleMania 39.
Rhodes appeared on this week's SI Media With Jimmy Traina podcast and was asked whether he would feel any extra pressure as the face of the company if he beat Reigns, considering how strongly the company built up Reigns over the past few years.
The 37-year-old son of wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes did not hold back in taking a shot at Reigns’s reduced schedule and explaining why he already thinks he’s the face of the WWE.
“This answer might come across extremely dickish. It’s the only way I can put it out there, a little more prickly, this answer. I don’t think there’s any more pressure about potentially being the face of the company because respectfully, I feel like for the last four months, I’ve already been the face of the company.
“Roman is on, not a part-time schedule, he’s still a full-time superstar and still the champ, respectfully. But I make every town, every city and in addition to that, I’ve already felt like the face of the company since perhaps even Hell in a Cell. Even while I was injured and maybe that’s just even WWE’s seeing this new, shiny toy that’s come back and they put The American Nightmare everywhere, but I’d say it’s working because we’ve had some unbelievable nights in terms of the WWE audience who’ve never been to the show, is unique in that it’s a very family-based audience.
“You’ve got a dad with two kids and that dad was probably one of those kids, 20 years ago with his parents. … I don’t wanna be tacky, but if you look through the first four rows, there’s a lot of belief in what I’m doing. And it’s visible, and all the measurables are there saying that this is working so, no, I would feel the same amount of pressure I already feel now, to answer your question, because you can ask every single market rep who works for WWE, you can ask every member of upper management, not only do I ask them how we’re doing, how we can do better, what’d we do last time, what’d we do per head. Not only do I ask all these questions, I let them know how we did that night as well. I try to keep all my receipts in this because who knows. This run, we’ve been on since Hell in a Cell perhaps, maybe even as far back as last year’s WrestleMania, it could end after Los Angeles. You can’t take anything for granted in the world of wrestling and sports entertainment, but I wanna make sure it doesn’t end. I wanna do all I can, I’m not winding down by any means. But again, you don’t know how long you have doing this and, no, I don’t think I’d feel any more pressure than I do now. And, to be fair and honest, I already feel an immense amount of pressure.”
Over the course of the podcast, Rhodes also talked about whether he ever thought he’d main-event WrestleMania, his relationship with his father, winning over WWE fans who wanted Sami Zayn to main-event ‘Mania with Reigns, what leaving and returning to the WWE did for him, his relationship with HHH and smashing the throne, what his wife, Brandi, is up to these days, his tour bus versus Reigns’s tour bus, working with Paul Heyman and much more.
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.