Roman Reigns claims he’s neither a bad guy nor a good guy, but simply “The Guy,” becoming one of the most transparently neutral tweeners the wrestling world has managed to create. Regardless of his allegations, both his fellow wrestlers and fans of his profession have powerful and dichotomous opinions on the three-time WWE Champion born into wrestling royalty. For the most part, crowds hate The Guy, but his co-workers appreciate his company and efforts at leading WWE into the future as one of its top stars. Additionally, plenty of former wrestlers who still have ties to the business are also happily and loudly supporting Roman in his quest for acceptance, using the Internet and their high profiles in desperate attempts at getting fans to finally cheer him.
As is often the case, the majority of Roman’s closest friends in WWE are the people he has worked with the most, though it isn’t always clear if they became friends because they worked together or if they asked to work together because they were already friends. There’s less grey area with the many people in the wrestling industry who are related to Roman in one way or another, as one could obviously assume they’ve been pretty close their entire lives. Roman’s family is expansive and wide enough we tried to limit the number of blood relatives on this list either way. Whether they’re family or simply close enough to call each other such, keep reading to learn which 15 pro wrestlers are the closest friends of Roman Reigns.
15. Chris Jericho
As one of the last survivors of the Attitude Era, Chris Jericho’s approval means a lot to the young wrestlers he’s working with today. Jericho and Reigns first interacted as a team at the 2015 Survivor Series, but most of their time together has come to opponents. Most recently, Jericho and Reigns have been feuding over the WWE United States Championship, one of the few belts Jericho has never had the honor of holding. In contrast to their in-ring battles, Jericho has long been a big supporter of Reigns, even coming to Roman’s support on his podcast shortly after Reigns infamously failed a drug test. According to Jericho, “Reigns is a cool cat…I’m a huge Reigns fan and continue to be.” Y2J has also referred to Roman as one of his most preferred traveling buddies, despite the fact they have a 15 year age difference, probably meaning they don’t have too much in common. Jericho doesn’t have much of an option though, as in his own words, all of his friends his own age are “either retired or dead.”
14. Ric Flair
If anyone’s opinion is held in higher regard than Chris Jericho, it would have to be “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. With 16 World Heavyweight Championships officially on his record, Flair remains unmatched in the wrestling industry as a performer and a talent. Flair decided never to wrestle again the same year Roman made his WWE debut, so the two haven’t interacted much in the ring. They have had a few segments together, though, first seeing Flair support Roman and his partners in the Shield against Evolution, and then silently shaking hands in a show of respect during the build to Battleground 2014. Short as they were, the segments both spoke volumes on Flair’s approval of Roman, which also has extended to real life through constant praise on Flair’s podcast. Outside of his own daughter, Flair has even called Roman his hands down favorite WWE superstar. Granted, Flair has increasingly become known for towing the company line in his old age, but nonetheless the consistency and extent of Flair’s claims make it obvious some genuine affection exists between them.
13. A.J. Styles
Phenomenal or not, few fans expected A.J. Styles to succeed as brilliantly or as quickly as he did upon his 2016 WWE debut. It was only a matter of months after Styles entered the Royal Rumble that he was engaged in a feud for WWE World Championship against Roman Reigns. Although Styles eventually proved he was the face that runs the place, it seemed like Reigns was preordained for that role up until he took over, marking the significance of Styles getting to work with him and have incredible matches together so soon into his WWE career. Styles and Reigns have also been supportive of one another backstage, with A.J. repeatedly highlighting during interviews that Reigns brought a lot of athleticism and creativity to their well-received matches, as they were hardly a one-man show. Reigns has likewise praised A.J. for his ability to quickly adapt to the WWE style, and prove his worth in the main event faster than most. While fans were incredible quick to support A.J., by his estimation they’ve been too quick to boo Roman, and he even went so far as to accuse most anti-Roman fans as jumping on the bandwagon without giving him a chance.
12. Mick Foley
Regardless of the fact he looks more and more like a homeless person with each passing week, Mick Foley remains another WWE Hall of Fame superstar whose opinion carries a great deal of weight in the wrestling industry. Foley and Reigns have only recently started interacted on screen, with Foley’s status as the General Manager of Raw promising the two will be bound to work together for some time to come. Behind the scenes, Foley has been loudly supporting Roman for this time, starting with a Facebook post where he plainly stated, “Roman Reigns is the man.” Foley got more specific in his praise by citing Reigns’ series of matches with A.J. Styles, claiming his subtle mannerisms turned a good match into an outright classic. True tests of friendship come during times of darkness, and Foley showed his colors by standing by Roman during his suspension for violating the Wellness Policy. Once news of Reigns’ violation broke, Foley tweeted at Reigns, “Everyone stumbles, everyone falls…I’m pulling for you.” Even though his status as the friendly uncle figure of modern day WWE, Foley is friends with just about everybody, Reigns obviously holds a place in Foley’s heart as one of his favorites in the industry today.
11. Renee Young
Given her role in the company, it would be within Renee Young’s best interest to try and be friends with just about everybody on the WWE roster. Renee’s good enough at her job one can assume she’s on pretty good terms with most of her co-workers, and that’s especially true for her long-term boyfriend, Dean Ambrose. Spoiler alert for the rest of the list, it’s through her relationship with Ambrose that Renee has also become a close friend of Roman Reigns. Renee has a strong rapport with most top WWE superstars, and still her interviews with Ambrose and Reigns together or separately always stand out, thanks to the natural chemistry all three share with one another. Renee and Roman both serve as rocks in Dean’s once highly volatile life, and the two likely find it easy to bond over this shared status. Only time will tell what happens to Roman’s relationships with Renee and Dean should the couple grow closer together or happen to spread apart, although for now it looks like his friendships with both could likely survive.
The Anoa’i family is one of the largest in wrestling, and today Roman Reigns merely stands as the highest profile member of his family legacy. Representing his many cousins in the industry, WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi has been critical of Roman’s WWE character, but only out of genuine concern for his cousin and the hope he’ll be able to succeed through his early career hardships. Also included amongst Roman’s cousins are Yokozuna, Black Pearl, Samu, Manu, L.A. Smooth, and Rikishi’s brothers, Umaga and Tama. Not all of the Anoa’i family have spoken about Roman or his career, but it can easily be assumed that a brood as close as theirs all happily support one another. Rikishi in particular has indeed spoken out against Roman’s WWE character and suggested it would be in his cousin’s best interest to turn heel, but he also attacked John Morrison on Instagram after Morrison suggested Roman didn’t know how to wrestle. Rikishi cited Roman’s multiple WWE Championships and great in ring success as proof his cousin more than knew how to wrestle, also proving his familial support despite occasional disagreements.
Considering how strongly Roman’s many cousins all vocally support him, there should be no surprise that his more immediate family are even louder in their support. Loudest of all seems to be Roman’s own father, WWE Hall of Famer Sika of The Wild Samoans. With his brother and Roman’s uncle, Afa, Sika won the WWE Tag Team Championships on three separate occasions, turning into some of the most feared and hated heels of their era in doing so (and not without the considerable help of Captain Lou Albano). Given their familial connection, Sika might be Roman’s biggest supporter of all, a fact he made clear after Reigns failed to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31, as was the original plan. Sika was reportedly furious backstage and looking to “start a war,” only for his younger family members to talk some sense into him. Once Roman’s luck turned around and he won the championship, Sika continued supporting his son by suggesting he would even make a return to the ring after decades of retirement to stand in his son’s corner.
The only thing left to cover after mentioning Roman’s father and cousins is his brother, former WWE Tag Team Champion Rosey. Rosey made his WWE teaming with cousin Umaga, then known as Jamal, in the destructive tag team 3-Minute Warning. That team quickly ran it’s course due to Jamal’s infamous substance abuse problems, leading to Rosey turning into a Super Hero In Training with The Hurricane, with whom he won his sole championship in WWE. Once that team broke up in late 2005, Rosey disappeared from WWE television, never to be seen again. He has since been running a wrestling school in Florida with his and Roman’s father, Sika. When discussing his brother, Rosey said he wasn’t surprised by his fast success, as he knew Roman would succeed at whatever he tried. Rosey did, however, admit that it was impressively shocking just how quickly Roman was able to achieve that success. For comparison, in the time amount of time it took Roman Reigns to start competing for World Championships, Rosey was desperately seeking for a gimmick re-haul that saw him literally labeled S.H.I.T.
7. Vince McMahon
Nice though it may be for Roman Reigns to have friends like the others mentioned on this list, none are nearly as important as the bond he shares with Vince McMahon. There aren’t any particular backstage stories that explain what Vince sees in Roman, but it’s abundantly clear McMahon refuses to let go on turning Reigns into one of his top stars regardless of overwhelmingly negative fan reactions. McMahon is steadfast in pushing Reigns such to the extent he has made several increasingly rare appearances to put Reigns over, taking bumps in spite of his advanced age in the hope it would finally turn Roman into a star. Fans will probably never know the full extent of Roman and Vince’s relationship, thanks to the highly elusive nature of McMahon’s life in general. Enough of McMahon’s life is public that it can confidently be assumed he’s friendly with anyone who makes him money, though, and the fact he’s so desperate to somehow make money with Reigns as his top star implies the friendship must already be there.
6. Triple H
If any one person’s opinion is starting to be as important as McMahon’s, it would have to be that of his son-in-law, Triple H. HHH has been Roman’s boss since Reigns started developing at NXT, and even now that Vince has equal if not greater say in what happens in Roman’s career, HHH continues using his considerable influence to push Roman as the top star of the future. Speaking to CBS Sports, Triple H spelled it out in plain language by saying, “[Reigns is] from a behind-the-scenes standpoint, a great human being.” Much like Vince McMahon showed his appreciation for Steve Austin by engaging in the most epic feud of their day, Triple H has shown his confidence in Roman by going to war with him for months, culminating at WrestleMania 32. Part of what makes Triple H so supportive of Reigns is his hard work ethic and commitment to presenting himself as a consummate athlete, qualities Triple H respects both in his position today as an executive and due to his past experience as a performer himself.
5. Paul Heyman
With decades of performances as the most manipulative and conniving jerk in wrestling, it can be hard to picture Paul Heyman as friends with anybody who should be smart enough to realize he’s conning them. Real life isn’t always so cut and dry, though, which is why Heyman remains a highly respected figure in the business despite his track record with paying ECW superstars painting him as closer to his wrestling character than he may care to admit. Digressing to the point, Heyman has less trouble bonding with wrestlers who didn’t work for him, including Roman Reigns. Heyman served as the mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar for years now, including during Lesnar’s feud against Roman throughout early 2015, bringing the two of them close together on a professional level. In their personal lives, the two had actually known each other for decades before that, with Roman claiming he knew Paul since he was “just a little guy…glued to [his] dad’s leg backstage.” The two probably didn’t start bonding until Reigns was old enough to separate from Sika’s limbs, but once they did, Roman started crediting Paul as being one of the most helpful and intelligent people in wrestling history.
4. Daniel Bryan
Part of the huge backlash against Roman Reigns stems from the fact it all began when fans hoped desperately for Daniel Bryan to take the spot Reigns was being groomed for. Especially throughout early 2015, the WWE Universe was begging Bryan to defeat Roman Reigns and replace him in the WWE Championship feud Reigns nonetheless managed to hold on to. The two were intertwined well before that, ever since The Shield’s initial debut, when they fast became enemies of Bryan and his then tag team partner in Team Hell No, Kane. Bryan generally cares deeply about what his fans have to say, but this is one area in which he apparently disagrees, having formed a strong friendship with Reigns in spite of the animosity. Reigns is highly appreciative of Bryan’s supporting, flatly stating, “Bryan is the greatest. If anybody says any different, they’re an idiot…I feel very blessed to made a friend with Daniel Bryan.” Reigns was so blessed by the friendship he even admitted he assumed the fans would get their way and Bryan would replace him at WrestleMania 31, and the fact he didn’t only made the friendship between the two grow ever stronger.
3. The Usos
Jimmy and Jey Uso deserve special mention on the Anoa’i family tree in relation to Roman Reigns if only for the fact the twin sons of Rikishi have worked more extensively with Roman than anyone else in the family. The three officially began calling themselves members of The Bloodline in 2016 to help Roman in his battles against A.J. Styles and The Club, but the truth is they’ve been wrestling and training together long before they came up with that moniker. Roman and The Usos actually first interacted in WWE as enemies, with The Usos vying for Roman and Dean Ambrose’s WWE Tag Team Championships. During this time, Jey actually became the first person in WWE to pin Roman. Regardless of these harsh early beginnings, eventually The Usos were so defensive of their cousin and the WWE Universe’s negative reactions to him that they made the bold move to turn heel while officials are still reticent in having Roman himself do the same. This may be the one case where fans want Roman to be closer to his family than he’s willing to get.
2. Seth Rollins
Fans generally assume any wrestlers stuck together in a stable or tag team are bound to become real life friends sooner or later, and that was certainly the case with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins when they all debuted in WWE together as members of The Shield. Rollins turning on his erstwhile “brothers” on screen could have been related to the fact he had less in common with his stablemates than they did one another—both have joked about Rollins’s maniacal commitment to CrossFit—but it should in no way have been taken as a sign the three ended their friendship when cameras stopped rolling. CrossFit be damned, Rollins has been close friends with both Ambrose and Reigns from the start, and no amount of feuding over the WWE Championship is going to change that. In fact, the more friends do battle in the ring, the more likely they are to become even closer to one another, at least in the wacky world of pro wrestling. This in mind, the more Rollins breaks apart from Reigns and Ambrose, the closer he’s really getting, as their friendship grows ever stronger with each suplex.
1. Dean Ambrose
In a profession where one can find themselves on the road more often than not, the people they travel with and work with the most can often be even closer than their actual family. This is how even after our list covered the entire Anoa’i family, we’ve still yet to mention Dean Ambrose, who though technically unrelated, Roman Reigns often refers to as his brother. The term of endearment was more than just a reference to their beginnings in WWE as members of The Shield with Seth Rollins, as it encapsulates years of close friendship that makes Reigns and Ambrose as close as any two men on the current WWE roster. The two have feuded over the WWE Championship as enemies and supported one another’s quest at earning the belt individually as allies, keeping their careers inexorably linked well after The Shield broke up and they went on their wildly divergent paths towards solo stardom. There’s no saying how far Roman or Dean’s careers in pro wrestling will go, but one thing the two of them can expect is that the other will always be nearby, loudly supporting his friend.