Rey Mysterio says he’s enjoyed Roman Reigns’ "360 degrees" character change in WWE ahead of their Hell in a Cell meeting for the Universal title on Sunday.
Veteran Mysterio challenges Reigns for the gold at this weekend’s pay-per-view, marking the first time he’ll set foot in the iconic cell structure for a match.
Reigns, meanwhile, is flying high at the top of Friday Night SmackDown, having held the Universal title for the better part of a year.
He’s been aided by a fresh twist to his on-screen character, his brooding style now oozing with confidence and swagger as the Head of the Table and WWE’s Tribal Chief.
It has proved a hit with fans, too, who had previously struggled to identify with the former Shield member, even despite his impressive body of work and natural star power.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star ahead of their marquee bout, even Mysterio admits to having enjoyed watching the massive change in how Reigns has presented himself.
He said: "I really enjoyed, from a fan perspective, his change – the 360 degrees change he made to become the Roman Reigns that he is now.
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"I enjoy watching his cockiness and how he is pretty much saying he is in control of SmackDown and anything that happens."
As opponents in the ring, however, Mysterio and Reigns have traded bitter blows in recent weeks.
He rightly points out that, as dominant as Reigns is, his own list of accolades from a glittering career will take some beating.
In fact, he plans on "shutting down" the 36-year-old this Sunday – and taking his crown.
"I admire what he has done and I applaud his accomplishments," Mysterio adds.
"But there’s nowhere near the accomplishments I’ve made in the past 30-plus years that I have been in this industry.
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"It actually gives me a taste of what could happen at this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell. Could it be that close?
"Brock Lesnar, we almost took him down at Survivor Series, so I just can’t wait.
"This is my first time being in the Hell in a Cell, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can because it’s the first and possibly the last – I don’t know if could compete in one of those matches again.
"I am so looking forward to shutting Roman down, possibly in the way nobody has been able to shut him down."
WWE Hell in a Cell airs this Sunday, 20 June on BT Sport Box Office and WWE Network. Visit wwe.com for more.
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