Speaking to ESPN, during a feature where the sports network spoke to Taker’s various WrestleMania opponents, Roman Reigns said that he wanted to lose the match “out of respect.”
“It’s something that everybody who gets into the business wants, to get into the ring with The Undertaker,” said Reigns. “And I remember the first thing I thought was that I wanted to put him over. I wanted to lose. Immediately, that was my instinct. Out of respect.”
Ultimately, Reigns would go over during the match and that was probably the decision of the man who informed Reigns he would be facing Taker, Vince McMahon.
During the “Undertaker: The Last Ride” series and in succeeding interviews, Taker has said that he was disappointed with the match as he was not in the best physical shape and did not feel that he gave a good performance and felt he hadn’t done a good enough job getting Reigns “over” with the crowd.
Reigns told ESPN that he himself was disappointed in the match and found himself crying backstage afterward.
“It was such an emotional overload,” said Reigns. “For bad reasons and good reasons too.”
“As a perfectionist, I think Mark can agree that we had such an awesome story. If it had all went perfectly, aw man, it would have been so fire,” he added.
“I had so many hopes and aspirations to take advantage of that man’s time and do right by him, and I just felt like I failed that situation,” Reigns said.
According to Reigns, the feeling of failure from that match drove him to be a better wrestler and performer.
“It just lit a fire under my ass. I don’t think I had a bad match since,” he told ESPN.