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WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns' 7 Harshest Takedowns

When Reigns steps in the ring, fans can expect Superman punches and spears in spades...

By Benjamin Bullard
Wrestler Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns couldn’t ask for a more fitting title than The Head of the Table. After all, the reigning WWE Universal Champion is the Superstar heir to a long and proud lineage of wrestling royalty, and he’s personally responsible for some of the nastiest takedowns this side of the glory days of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — who just so happens to be a real-life part of the Tribal Chief’s extended royal family. 

When Reigns steps in the ring, fans can expect Superman punches and spears in spades, but they’re by no means the only moves in his deep, dirty bag of match-ending tricks. Now that we’re clear of Reigns’ big championship win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38, the time is right to take a look back and marvel at just how long he’s been putting opponents down — with prejudice.

Fire up the lights and cue the “Head of the Table” theme: We’re taking a tour of some of the most memorable takedowns of Reigns’ incredible WWE career.

1. Spearing Rey Mysterio At Sole Survivor, 2013 Survivor Series

This shouldn’t be nearly as awesome as it is — but the devil’s in the details. Everything about Reigns’ brutal, warp-speed spear of Rey Mysterio during the 2013 Sole Survivor Series felt like a whiplash payoff to a grueling elimination match for the ages; an Earth-shaking moment that happened so fast it left fans in the arena in a momentary state of shock. Mysterio barely had time to find his footing after climbing into the ring before Reigns came in for a textbook shot that left his final challenger of the evening ice cold on the mat. It’s an unforgettable WWE moment, and it cemented Reigns’ ultimate victory that night as The Shield’s last man standing. Check out Reigns’ big blast beginning around the 3:25 mark in the clip, but keep your eyes peeled: This one’s over almost as soon as it begins.

2. Superman Punching John Cena At No Mercy 2017

Nothing here but good, clean showmanship. Reigns and Cena came together in 2017 for an unforgettable undercard encounter that almost stole the show away from No Mercy headliners Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. In a slugfest loaded with signature moves from both superstars, it was Reigns who delivered the ultimate attitude adjustment, delivering a perfect Superman Punch to stun Cena before dropping the hammer with a match-ending spear. When he got back on his feet, even Cena was impressed: The Peacemaker star stuck around the ring to, well, make peace, genuflecting to Reigns with a crowd-pleasing bow of respect.

3. 'Reigns Is Alive!': Spearing Sheamus At Raw 2015

Talk about a gauntlet. The narrative was all on Sheamus’ side on a Monday night in December of 2015 — and for most of the match, it looked like even Reigns was, too. The Celtic Warrior had Reigns right where he wanted him at almost every turn, serving up blow after bloody, bruising blow, leaving Reigns sputtering for breath on a steamy evening when he’d already put himself through the wringer. Things looked especially bleak as Sheamus spooled up one final Brogue kick to put The Big Dog down for good — but Reigns summoned his last bit of energy to swing the momentum just at the perfect time. Getting to his feet just as Sheamus closed in, he put everything he had into one of the sweetest spears you’ll ever see — all before half-collapsing atop his opponent for just long enough to get the pin. 

4. Cleaning Up The Rock’s Mess At Royal Rumble 2015

These days the Tribal Chief might be the WWE star fans love to love. But back before he started walking the dark side, Reigns had gotten into a mid-2010s groove of being the superstar fans really loved to hate. Stranded in a Royal Rumble standoff against Big Show and Kane, what he really needed was a little help from his friends — or, better still, from family. Cue the surprise entrance of the Rock, who came bouncing along in street clothes to lend his cousin a brief, but definitely decisive, assist. Once Big Show and Kane had gotten a rude sniff of what The Rock was cooking, it was down to just Reigns and Rusev (who had never been eliminated and seized the moment to clamber back into the ring). It was too little, too late: Reigns wasted no time in mopping up what was left of the mayhem with a speedy spear and a swift toss-out, winning the Royal Rumble main event while The Rock stuck around to bask in the spotlight beside his Samoan homie. 

5. Breaking The Cage With Brock Lesnar At Greatest Royal Rumble 2018

This was an epic rematch of 2018’s WrestleMania 34, with Brock Lesnar successfully defending his title — on a foot-touching technicality that the refs didn’t catch — against Reigns. No matter: The bout turned out to be too brutal and too entertaining to stay confined to the Great Royal Rumble’s steel cage. Both superstars got their licks in with major OMG moments, but it was Reigns’ rocket blast propelling Lesnar out of the cage and onto the cold concrete that whipped fans to the height of frenzy. The stunned crowd assumed Reigns had won the match, though the refs ended up calling it for Lesnar, since the light-speed crash looked like it had technically allowed Lesnar to “escape” the cage first. But in the moment, everyone was too busy picking their jaws up off the floor to doubt that anyone other than Reigns had taken this one…with a vengeance.

6. Superman Punching Mark Henry’s Mouth Shut At SmackDown in 2015

There’s a time for talk, and a time for action. In an awesome bit of trash-talking theater that brought Henry back from injury on what proved a very special 2015 episode of SmackDown, Reigns let his body do all the talking after enduring a searing lecture from Henry about how a real superstar earns respect. Reigns tried to defuse the tension, walking away from the heat with a cool “Whatever, man.” But the blow-off only served to send The World’s Strongest Man over the edge — a mistake Henry almost instantly regretted. Lashing out at Reigns’ disrespect with a rude shove to the chest, Henry quickly found himself on the receiving end of a massive Superman punch as Reigns sprang off the ropes and came sailing in from the right. The move finished Henry, but Reigns wasn’t done: Moments later, he went scampering out of the ring to deliver one final spear that sent both superstars straight into the barricade. Call it respect earned.

7. Rey Mysterio, The Human Piñata At Hell In A Cell 2021

Most of the takedowns we’ve seen so far hail from earlier in Reigns’ career. But The Tribal Chief was in top form at 2021’s Hell in a Cell, making Rey Mysterio rue the day he ever threw down the gauntlet in a long-running storyline squabble pitting the Mysterios against Reigns’ cousins Jey and Jimmy Uso. In the early going, things went back and forth between the superstar duo so long as the fight stayed in the ring. But the real action started when the brawl spilled out onto the concrete. The reigning Universal Champion put family first in a big way, throwing Rey Mysterio around the arena like a frisbee and battering his helpless body upside the cage like a spin-cycle rag doll. Start at the 2:45 mark in the video…and let the agony wash over you like candy from above.