Roman Reigns discusses the night Dean Ambrose turned heel.
The Oct. 22 episode of WWE Raw opened with Roman Reigns announcing his leukemia had returned and that he would have to step away from WWE. The segment ended with Roman walking up the ramp and being greeted by Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in a tearful embrace. Less than three hours later, Ambrose stunned the world, laying out Rollins moments after the duo won the Raw Tag Team Titles.
Some criticized the heel turn coming on the same night as Roman's announcement, while others felt the shock factor made it more effective. Speaking to Yahoo Sports, Reigns weighed in on the timing of Ambrose's turn.
“That’s where it’s hard. The majority of the time, we’re just factoring in Roman, the character, but who I really am, Joe, was all over that first segment. We really broke the fourth wall down and it was so real it changed the dynamic of the crowd and emotion. It’s like hitting a wall almost in a car wreck, getting that kind of news. For me, as Joe, it was hard to tell, but as Roman, I just thought ‘next man up’ like in any professional sport or form of entertainment, the show must go on," said Roman. "I felt comfortable with that fact that we need to continue to entertain our fans, push these storylines and our product. As long as I was on board with it, it wasn’t going to be tasteless. I think it came off great, it had such a huge impact that night.”
Ambrose remained heel for months, continuing his feud with Rollins and bringing up Reigns and his leukemia at various points. Ambrose lost momentum as a heel at the end of 2018 and eventually faded into the midcard. On the Feb. 25 episode of Raw, Reigns announced he was in remission, bringing him back into the WWE mix. The Shield reunited on Mar. 4 with their latest reformation being billed as "one last ride." Ambrose is reportedly set to leave the company in April after his contract expires.
The Shield will take on Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, & Bobby Lashley tonight at WWE Fastlane.