Editorials/Features

Best Feuds For Roman Reigns During The Tribal Chief Era

By michael
Feb 26, 2024
Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso - HIAC I Quit Match

A match can be a moment in time but a feud is far more important to the legacy of the run. Hulk Hogan had “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Andre the Giant while “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had The Rock & Vince McMahon. The Rock obviously had Austin as well as Triple H, Mick Foley, and eventually John Cena. The list goes on and on, but you see what we mean. Every great wrestler has to have great feuds in their career. Otherwise, they are not going to be interesting to watch. The best feuds for Roman Reigns are also worthy of consideration, which is what this article is all about.

We recently covered the best matches for Reigns during the Tribal Chief era. Yet the rivalries, or feuds, are a lot juicer topic-wise to us.

This is the art of professional wrestling. Anyone can have a great one-off match. The key is building a story that gets people invested. Without that, it’s a random episode of wrestling with no stakes and no reason to watch again. Since this list is comprised of only the best feuds for Roman Reigns that have taken place during the Tribal Chief era, it covers roughly the last 4 years…since 2020. Anything that took place before this will not count or matter to our article.

We were surprised at how few there were but this is enough to show why his run has been so fascinating. Each was incredibly impactful. That said, let”s discuss the best feuds for Roman Reigns during the Tribal Chief Era!

JEY USO

Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso - HIAC I Quit Match

The feud that started it all!

It was the first time we”d see Roman Reigns as a selfish, self-absorbed narcissist. It was also the true beginning of Roman referring to himself as The Tribal Chief. Jey Uso would get his shot at the WWE Universal Championship and Reigns was mostly amused at the idea that his cousin thought he could beat him in a ring.

Their first match at Clash of the Champions in 2020 was fantastic. While Roman beat down Jey, he kept kicking out of everything Reigns attempted. An injured Jimmy Uso had to literally throw in the towel to get his brother away from further harm. Uso then wanted another match, so the two would battle inside the Hell in a Cell structure.

Yet the kicker was that this was also an “I Quit” match. Except, Jey would have to say that he “acknowledges” Roman as the Tribal Chief. Jey did well in the match and refused to give in. Jimmy also got involved but Reigns grabbed him, choking Jimmy out. He”d only release the hold if Jey acknowledged him, so he did.

Jey eventually fell in line as the Right Hand of the Tribal Chief.

Ironically, Jey was responsible for saving Roman from defeat the most during the first two years of Roman”s title reign. His interference kept The Bloodline on top and solidified his position as an essential part of the faction.

Jey would get his brother Jimmy to fall in line and often held The Bloodline together for much of the first two years.

Jey is also the first family member to defect from The Bloodline. His betrayal of Roman and his escape to the RAW Brand is a crack in the family that has never been repaired.

KEVIN OWENS 

Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens - Royal Rumble 2023

People sleep on how good Roman”s feud in late 2020 and early 2021 was with Kevin Owens. Reigns may not have a longer, more consistent, or bitter rivalry than he does with Owens. This is why we feel it is one of the best feuds for Roman Reigns during the Tribal Chief era.

We had trouble picking a match that stood out from this period, yet their match at The Royal Rumble PLE in 2023 certainly stands out. Owens and Reigns made magic in that ring. A lot of this credit should go to Owens. While it was clear that Reigns wasn’t going to lose before a WrestleMania, Kevin Owens had us believing it could happen. 

They fought three different times. They had a Steel Cage Match, a Last Man Standing Match, and a Tables, Ladders, & Chairs match.

Each one is worth a rewatch. We know they danced again years later but this first go-round needed to be acknowledged. 

It’s important to remember that most of this took place during the Thunderdome era. A time when fans were absent from the buildings and what you had was either silence or piped-in crowd noise. Owens and Reigns are both excellent at their craft. KO was the first superstar outside of Jey Uso to have stood up to the Tribal Chief. Although he came up empty, he never backed down and refused to acknowledge Reigns. 

This feud would serve the entire company well as they would be able to call back on it years later when they used KO as the wedge between Sami Zayn and The Bloodline. In many ways, KO was both the beginning and the end of the heart of The Bloodline era. People often forget how crucial he was to the entire thing.

JOHN CENA 

John Cena Returns - Money in the Bank 2021

This didn’t have the juice of the Roman Reigns and John Cena promo war of a few years earlier, but this was a special moment. If for no other reason than this was the passing of the torch. Cena showing up post Money In The Bank in 2021 was one hell of a shock. 

What was great about this feud was it confirmed everything we needed to see as fans. No longer was Reigns inferior to Cena on the mic. While he’ll never deliver the type of promo that Cena can, Reigns has come into his own and had his persona on lock. 

Reigns was operating at the top of his game, making Cena’s appearance and loss at SummerSlam obvious. Reigns needed to beat Cena in much the same way that Cena needed to beat the Rock. It was to signal the end of an era. 

We saw Cena come back a year later to carry on his feud with the Bloodline, only this time it didn’t really involve Reigns. Solo Sikoa defeated Cena a reputation-making win. While some fans would love to see Cena win a few when he returns just to give his character more meat, you have to think. The reality is that Cena is past the championship era and into a slow walk off into the sunset. 

Cena was the most important superstar of his generation and he’s skillfully and necessarily passed the torch to Reigns. Will Reigns carry the company as long as Cena did? Probably not, but his likely shorter run as “the guy” could be more impactful. 

Therefore, this is one of the best feuds for Roman Reigns during the Tribal Chief run. As he needed to have it solidify his position at the top of WWE.

BROCK LESNAR 

Roman Reigns Beats Brock Lesmar - WrestleMania 38

Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns have something special. We get why the WWE universe grew tired of this feud. We”ve seen it a lot, but these two are great together.

Before their feud, Lesnar was a destroyer. Vince McMahon positioned him to be nearly unbeatable. He came in, did what he wanted, and held the world championship hostage much in the same way Roman Reigns does now.

To properly frame this story, we have to go back to the beginning of this feud which started at Crown Jewel in November of 2021. It was storytelling mastery having Paul Heyman throw the title in between Brock and Roman. They left the crowd to wonder in the weeks that followed who Paul was working for.

Fast Forward to WrestleMania 38 main event, and the title unification match. It”s not a long match, but every match between these two feels impactful for every second in the ring. Reigns showed why he’s such a great big-match performer. He can throw power punches with Brock, using brute strength. Meanwhile, he works completely different with Rey Mysterio.

They pulled off their best match at SummerSlam 2023—the last-ever contest between the two. The Last Man Standing match pulled out all the stops, including a tractor! Kudos to the creative team for making a match we’d seen a thousand times feel like something we hadn’t seen before.

Brock lost again to Reigns, showing a change in the company”s direction. Brock was still a big star, he just wasn”t at the top of the card anymore.

Due to the ongoing connection to the Vince McMahon Lawsuit, we may never see Lesnar in a WWE ring again. Thereby making this rivalry with Roman even more impactful, as it is likely Brock”s last great feud.

SAMI ZAYN 

Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns - Elimination Chamber

This was one of the most intense and unexpected feuds for Reigns.

Sami Zayn appeared in the Bloodline’s locker room for comedic effect. It was only a short-term thing. Yet we”d end up getting a storyline that went on for eight months and was entertaining every second of the way. 

Zayn is perfect for the lackey that turns a hero. That’s exactly what he became. This was one of the best feuds for Roman Reigns because, while they were not battling the entire time, we”d get a much bigger and deeper story out of it.

When you think about Zayn”s run with the Bloodline, you likely remember some specific things.

For example, telling Roman that Jey Uso hadn’t been feeling very “Ucey.” This would break the Bloodline legitimately, which was a common occurrence for Sami to do.

The low blow to Kevin Owens inside of War Games was big. It was a huge moment as Sami proved, more than at any other moment, that he was loyal to the Tribal Chief. 

Sami Zayn”s involvement in Tribal Court was special.  It was the moment that Jey finally accepted Sami as not just a friend, but also as a brother and official Bloodline member. It would spell the beginning of the end for Jey and Roman, however. 

The chair shot to the back of Roman at The 2023 Royal Rumble was the stuff of legend. This was the best-written chapter in the Bloodline saga and would get one of the biggest pops we”ve ever heard on a live PPV since the Attitude Era. The ridiculous Zayn somehow ends up being the downfall of one of wrestling”s all-time great factions, making the whole feud so much better. 

Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes vs Roman Reigns - WM 39

While this feud has not quite concluded, it has been fascinating to watch. Cody Rhodes wants to “finish his story,” but to do that, he needs to beat Roman Reigns. The story does not involve winning the World Heavyweight Championship. He must win the WWE Championship, which is technically the title Reigns holds. While yes, he is the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion, the moment he loses this title, it will go back to being called the WWE Championship.

By beating Brock, Reigns essentially unified the titles. The WWE has since used the lineage period he won the Universal Championship to count the days he has held what is technically the WWE Championship now.

When Rhodes made his claim, it was scoffed off by Reigns. Then Rhodes tore his pectoral in 2022 right as he had just come back to WWE pretty much, making him miss the next 6 months. Rhodes then returned to win the 2023 Men”s Rumble. He”d challenge Reigns, and the two would get very personal. Reigns was claimed to be the son Dusty Rhodes always wanted. Meanwhile, his actual son Cody was still his real son. Things would become even more personal thanks to Roman”s “Wise Man” Paul Heyman, who knew Dusty quite well.

When WrestleMania 39 took place, Rhodes was in prime place to beat the Tribal Chief. Only for Solo Sikoa to get involved and spike Cody, resulting in Roman taking advantage and beating the American Nightmare. Cody has now battled back to win the 2024 Men”s Rumble. Now with The Rock on Roman”s side, he”s even more unstoppable, while Seth Rollins is the only backup Cody has.

This story has been so fun to watch and when discussing the best feuds for Roman Reigns…this might be the best one yet.

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