The history between Roman Reigns and CM Punk, marked by behind-the-scenes decisions and on-air confrontations, has laid the groundwork for a highly anticipated potential match in WWE. This development comes amidst longstanding tensions between the two wrestlers, dating back to their early interactions in the WWE.
Roman Reigns, currently holding the title of Universal Champion, first appeared on WWE's main roster as part of The Shield during the Survivor Series 2012. This debut was significant as The Shield assisted CM Punk in retaining his championship. However, CM Punk disclosed on Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast that he initially envisioned Chris Hero in Reigns' role within The Shield, a decision later overridden by WWE.
“They wanted Roman Reigns. They came to me and they were like ‘what about Leakee?' I didn't… it wasn't my hill to die on. I said ‘sure' because it made sense to me. Oh, they want their guy in, he's the pretty guy, but that's good because this guy can learn from working under me.”
The relationship between Reigns and Punk further soured in 2013. During a storyline involving The Shield, Punk was instructed to emphasize Reigns' strengths in their matches. Punk's frustration with these directives was openly discussed on the same podcast, leading to the creation of “make Roman look strong” memes. Reigns later commented on the Loaded Management podcast that these memes added challenges to his professional role, indicating a strained relationship with Punk.
“So while we're putting the match together, every two minutes somebody new is coming up to me. ‘Hey, you've gotta make him look really strong.' So I got so sick of Michael Hayes, and everybody else coming up to me, people who weren't even involved in the match ‘hey, you're making him look really strong, right?' And I finally said ‘you know what? You know what would make them look really strong? If they beat me.' Because three guys can't beat one guy. That's fking dumb. ‘But no, Vince wants you to go over.' ‘Okay.' ‘But you gotta make ‘em look…' ‘God damn it! I fking get it! I know how to do the job, shut the f**k up.” (h/t Cagesideseats)
Despite these issues, a match between Roman Reigns and CM Punk is rumored to be in consideration by WWE at WrestleMania 40, as reported by Sports Illustrated. Such a match would not only capitalize on their shared history but also offer a compelling narrative given their current standings in WWE. Both wrestlers have indicated a willingness to collaborate if required, suggesting that past differences could be set aside for a potential high-profile match.