Paul Heyman has provided details about how Roman Reigns started using the “Acknowledge Me” phrase during his WWE promos.
When Roman Reigns speaks while on WWE television in 2023, the “Special Counsel” Paul Heyman usually hands him the microphone, Reigns pauses and says two words to the crowd: “Acknowledge me.”
Once Reigns says that, the fans usually respond with a loud reaction where it’s a mix of cheers and boos for the Tribal Chief, who is the current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion that recently celebrated 1,000+ days as the Universal Champion. During that entire run, Paul Heyman has been there by Roman’s side.
Last week on the June 2nd edition of WWE Smackdown, Roman Reigns continued having problems with The Usos after Jimmy Uso had superkicked Reigns recently at Night of Champions. Reigns wanted Jimmy’s twin brother Jey to superkick Jimmy in return, but Jey wouldn’t do it. At one point it looked like Reigns would forgive Jimmy until he said “no” and Jimmy’s other brother Solo Sikoa hit Jimmy with a Samoan Spike to show that Solo was loyal to his cousin Roman.
As for Paul Heyman, he was recently part of a lengthy interview on the Tetragrammaton podcast with Rick Rubin to discuss a lot of things including how the “Acknowledge Me” phrase started for Reigns.
“That’s just Roman. He stumbles on to things. The ‘Acknowledged Me’ was a stumble. We were trying to figure out, you know, what does he really want? His first storyline as champion was with his cousin, Jey… Roman had said, ‘Well, you know what I really want from Jey? I don’t want his love, I have that. I don’t want his admiration. I don’t even want his obedience. I’ll take that from him. You know what I need? I’m The Head of the Table. I am The Tribal Chief. I need him to acknowledge me.”
“The moment he said it, we all got chills because we knew this is bigger than this moment. This is the declarative statement, this is the definition of the character. What does the character want? What does The Tribal Chief need? What does The Head of the Table seek? Acknowledgment. It’s emotional.”
Paul Heyman continued by mentioning catchphrases from past WWE legends like Steve Austin and The Rock. In Roman’s case, Heyman says that the Tribal Chief is needed, so he wants to be acknowledged.
“That’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so. Alpha male statement. If you smell what The Rock is cooking, same thing, very alpha male, very declarative, very boss, very dominant. What you gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you. In other words, you’re hopeless. You’re helpless. There’s nothing you can do.”
“These are prison declarative statements. Rest in peace. That means you’re dead. You’re dead motherf**ker. You’re against The Undertaker. You’re gonna die at the hands of The Dead Man.
“Roman’s catchphrase… it’s needy. The most confident performer. The best looking man. The guy that looks like a champion. The one guy that can handle Brock Lesnar. The D1 athlete. A second generation Samoan American wrestler, and he’s needy. He’s a Tribal Chief. He’s the Head of the Table. He runs the family. He’s the biggest star, but he’s needy. He needs you to acknowledge him. Please acknowledge me.”
“I’m not here for your love. I’m not here for your affirmation. I’m not here for you to to cheer my name. I just need you to acknowledge me. It’s unbelievable. It puts the power in the audience to react any way they want.”
Paul Heyman also told a story in the same interview about how his pairing with Roman Reigns began…from the mind of Vince McMahon. It’s a classic Paul Heyman story just like all of them are.