WWE is World Wrestling Entertainment. A beautiful mixture of sports and entertainment. Unbelievable athletes that tell stories that are sometimes even more unbelievable. It is known as being “fake” because of its scripted promos and match outcomes. I promise you that the opening to Monday Night Raw tonight was not a “promo” or a “story.”
Roman Reigns stepped into the ring to talk to the fans in attendance and the millions watching at home not as a character, but as Joe Anoa’i. Joe Anoa’i is the real life name of Roman Reigns. Reigns confessed to the fans that at the age of 22, he was diagnosed with Leukemia but was able to send it into remission relatively quickly. So for 11 years, he has lived with this and yet it has been such a large secret in a day in age that secrets don’t exist. Roman announced that the Leukemia had returned and he would be relinquishing his title and taking an indefinite leave of absence to seek treatment and fight this battle to which the crowd responded with tears of sadness and serenaded Roman with “Thank you Roman” chants.
For those of you readers that don’t know Roman Reigns. He is the current Universal Champion and is viewed by WWE brass as “the guy” within the company. That means he’s the guy you put on the card to sell tickets, to sell merchandise, to shake the hands and kiss the babies. The WWE fans though, have widely rejected the Roman Reigns character for the better part of the last 5 years but tonight you could tell that everyone was behind him and it was because this was not about a storyline. This was about real life. This news also gave the wrestling world the opportunity to show just how incredible of a person Roman Reigns really is. Twitter is buzzing with nothing but incredible words and well wishes from peers and fans alike.
This is shocking and sad news to the wrestling community. I myself have never been a fan of the Roman Reigns character in the WWE, but I am a giant fan of the tough, hard working family man that Joe Anoa’i is. I believe I speak for every single wrestling fan when I say, we’re behind you every step of the way in your fight big dog. We have no doubt, you’ll be back in your yard soon enough.