Roman Reigns is no stranger to boos. However, the night after WrestleMania 33 was exceptionally hostile.
When Roman Reigns pinned The Undertaker the night before it was was a symbolic moment in wrestling. Yes, the torch got passed (along with any other conventional metaphors you'd like to add) but something else happened. By retiring The Undertaker, Reigns essentially placed an embargo on the generations of Undertaker fans. This was no longer the WWE they loved.
So when Reigns took the microphone the following night, the fans were ready to riot. Reigns stood in silence for 15 minutes as the crowd showered him in vitriolic chants like "Please retire" and "F--k you Roman."
For The Big Dog, it was one one of the most gratifying moments in his career. He shared the experience on SI's Off The Board podcast.
"...I just felt like everybody was on a string at that point and I was just pulling them. There's a little thing where you can see I pretty much mouth it, 'I got em in the palm of my hand.' I had thousands of people doing exactly what I wanted them to do and it's like master plan and it's unfolding perfectly in front of your eyes."
Reigns would add that because the crowd was so hot, he had to stay put. However, the segment ran long and actually cost other wrestlers' camera time:
I could've stayed out there for another 20 minutes. We had other segments and other brothers that had to go out there and do their work. But the whole time, I was looking at every different cameraman and they're all telling me to 'go home' and that signal is just one finger doing a little circle, saying 'wrap it up, take it home, let's go,' and I sat there and looked at cameramen doing that for five to 10 minutes...but there was that electricity out there and you don't leave the table when you're on the heater."
To close the 15 minutes protest, Reigns trolled the crowd by saying "This is my yard now." Was this always the plan to say so little?
"We threw around a few different ideas, but it wasn't going to be much longer than that. Maybe a line or two more. But we felt after what happened the night before, it was fitting to keep it simple and let the crowd do all the work and luckily we had a great crowd, super energetic."
Reigns' 5-word promo could not have been more effective. To watch a wrestler be so vehemently hated for 15 minutes was rare sight - and one that will likely never be duplicated.