The world of professional wrestling is known for going way over the top and giving you wild and strange reasons for the audience to give them their money. The people in charge dream up all kinds of ways to keep their audience glued to their shows and most of all, keep spending their money on the shows the company puts on.
And sometimes reality gets involved.
Monday night, the WWE’S RAW show started with top star Roman Reigns coming to the right with his title belt over his shoulder. This is something WWE fans have seen numerous times over many years.
Roman then said his name was Joe and that he has Leukemia.
He went on the explain that he had been battling the disease for most of his life and that it had been in remission for the last decade. Recently, however, he had learned that it had returned.
Roman announced on live television that he was “Going home” (for treatment) and that because of his health, he couldn’t live up to the promises he had been making of being a “workhorse” and defending the belt on TV as much as he wanted. He announced this was no retirement speech and that he would be back “as soon as he kicked Leukemia’s ass.”
He laid down his Universal Title belt and walked up the ramp. He had a moment with the two other members of the Shield group he had been a part of on and off since he debuted on WWE’s programming and that was it.
The audience was not aware this was going to happen. Other than “missing” non-televised shows over the weekend, there was no sign of any health problems recently for Reigns that would lead to anyone suspecting this. The WWE did send out a press release to a number of news sources before the end of the night (This was not one of them) but this was done after the announcement was made.
The wrestling show went on with matters as normal. The Belt that Reigns vacated will be filled in the main event of the Controversial Crown Jewel Event scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia on November Second. Reigns was scheduled to defend his title in a 3-way match against Brock Lesnar and Braun Stroman. After the announcement, Reign will no longer be part of the match and Lesnar and Strowman will fight each other for the vacant belt instead.
Reigns’ partners in The Shield, Dean Ambrose and Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins together won the Tag team Titles in the main event of the night before Ambrose turned against Rollins and attack him to the shock of an audience still trying to process the announcement that started the show.
Reigns has been with the WWE since 2010. He is the son of 70’s and 80’s wrestler Sika the Wild Samoan and is a member of the well known Anoaʻi family that has been a big part of Pro Wrestling since the 1970s. Also part of that family is Duane “The Rock” Johnson and current WWE wrestlers the Uso Twins, all of which are Roman’s Cousins. Ther large family also includes former WWE Champion Yokozuna, The Uso’s father Rikishi, Afa the Wild Samoan and numerous other uncles and cousins involved in Pro Wrestling. Roman himself has a young daughter Joelle, who has appeared in a few commercials for the company with her father. He also is a father to twins boys who were born in 2016.
Roman has been pushed as the top star of the WWE for a number of years. He has been in the headline match in the company’s top show, Wrestlemania for the last four years. This is despite his often negative reactions from crowds and many fans saw him as WWE owner Vince McMahon’s habit of featuring wrestlers more based on their looks instead of performance ability. Although he was predominantly the WWE’s top “good guy” he was routinely booed when he would appear. After announcing his medical diagnosis, the crowd of the show chanted his name in one of the few times he received a positive response from the audience.
After his announcement, he received online support not only from fans but from others in the Wrestling industry all over the world.
A champion transcends any company. @WWERomanReigns, on behalf of NJPW we all wish you a speedy recovery.
All gimmicks aside, my prayers and thoughts are with you @WWERomanReigns . Much Ofas always Uce
And from all of us here at The Nacho, we too wish the best in the battle Roman is facing.