Since the launch of AEW, WWE has taken steps to prevent them from growing and becoming the second-biggest wrestling promotion in the world whether that was the company signing its talent to big-money deals, putting NXT head-to-head with Dynamite, allegedly leaking Rampage’s fast nationals ratings, and the latest being tonight.
WWE will air an extended episode of SmackDown on FS1 with the last 30-minutes being commercial-free while going up against the first half of AEW Rampage at 10 p.m. ET.
While speaking with Mike DeStefano of Complex, Reigns was asked if he views AEW as competition.
"No. I mean, not for me personally.” He continued by noting that it’s a subjective topic as there’s a lot of passion that sways and creates an unbiased opinion. He stated he’s the type of person who will compete at anything as he wants to be the best at anything that he does.
"So me, I don’t see the real competition [with AEW] because I think their fan base legitimately is a hardcore fan base. So there’s like a ceiling and a built-in ground to that viewership. [The 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 fan base and give them compelling stories to fulfill them as well.”
Reigns stated that he thinks it's strange when the audience is probably the biggest character in your show.
“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.”
Reigns stated he doesn’t think anybody from a performance standpoint is going to think having more opportunities is a situation that sucks. He doesn’t think it’s a bad thing, but rather a good thing for the business.
“It’s just a weird argument because there’s so much bias and there’s so much, ‘I’m on this side and I’m not gonna open my mind to the other side.’ And it goes both ways. As far as competition, not to me.”
Reigns continued by noting there might be people on the WWE roster that thinks they need to get better as a performer.
“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. I’m not just talking about, ‘Oh, his spots are so good and he counters real well.’ That stuff don’t mean anything to me. When you tally it all up, nobody touches me in this business."
Reigns will make his next defense as the WWE Universal Champion against Brock Lesnar at WWE Crown Jewel.