Roman Reigns is not a pure heel” – WWE legend on the SmackDown star’s current role

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John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) says he views Roman Reigns as an “entertaining heel” in WWE as opposed to a “pure heel.”

Reigns has performed as WWE’s top bad guy since he turned heel and aligned with Paul Heyman in August 2020. Prior to that, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion worked as a babyface singles competitor for six years.

Speaking on The Universal Wrestling Podcast, JBL explained how his own version of portraying a “pure heel” in the 2000s was different to Reigns’ approach:

“Roman Reigns is not a pure heel… he’s an entertaining heel, he’s an attraction heel. D-X [D-Generation X] is not a pure heel… they were attraction heels. That being said, Roman has main-evented somebody told me five [now six] different WrestleManias, so it’s not like one type of heel is better than the other.” [10:27-10:45]

Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar in the main event on the second night of WrestleMania 38 to unify the WWE and Universal Championships. He looks set to feud with one of SmackDown’s top babyfaces, Shinsuke Nakamura, in the coming weeks.

JBL thinks Kevin Owens belongs in the same category as Roman Reigns


While Roman Reigns is SmackDown’s top heel, Kevin Owens performs as one of the top bad guys on RAW. Like Reigns, the Canadian superstar is still popular with many fans due to the entertaining way that he portrays a villain.

As a fan of both Owens and Reigns, JBL clarified that there are many ways to perform like a heel in the sports entertainment world:

“To me being a pure heel is different to what Kevin Owens does as an entertaining heel or what Roman Reigns does as an entertaining heel. It doesn’t make one better, it doesn’t make one worse. It just makes them different.” [10:45-10:58]

JBL preferred to work as a universally hated bad guy during his 280-day WWE Championship reign between June 2004 and April 2005. He even told Vince McMahon to stop selling his merchandise because he did not want fans to support him in any way.

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