Roman Reigns to Leave the WWE Ring for Battle with Leukemia
On the October 22nd edition of WWE RAW, current Universal Champion Roman Reigns stunned the WWE Universe and pundits around the world when he announced that his Leukemia has returned. It was shocking because the majority of people didn’t even know that Reigns first bout with Leukemia was in 2008. Through effective treatments, the disease has been in remission since then. Unfortunately, Roman recently found out that the disease has returned and he will have to leave the WWE for the forseeable future.
Reigns, real name Joe Anoai, opened the episode of RAW by telling everyone his real name is Joe and began talking about his current run in the WWE. Once he mentioned his real name, the entire live audience gasped and became quiet. Eventually, Reigns would explain what’s going on and say that he would have to forfeit the Universal Championship and focus on his health.
With pro wrestling, especially sports entertainment, it’s hard to tell when something is real. Once Reigns began talking about Leukemia, it became real to everyone in the crowd and at the fans at home. For a wrestler that has been booed out of venues and constantly receiving backlash due to a perceived force feeding from the WWE brass, Reigns captured everyone’s hearts and compassion within seconds.
Roman made it clear that he was not retiring, but that he was going to beat Leukemia again and come back to the WWE. Reigns closed his speech with the following sentiments:
“I am coming back because I want to show all of you, the whole world, I want to show my family, my friends, my children and my wife, that when life throws a curve ball at me, I am the type of man that will stand in that batter’s box, I will crowd the plate, I will choke up and I will swing for the fences every single time. Because I will beat this and I will be back and you will see me very, very soon.”
Roman was loudly cheered and supported as he left the ring and walked back up the ramp. At the top of the stage, Roman’s teammates Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose came out and they all hugged as the crowd cheered even louder. Both Ambrose and Rollins were visibly upset over this announcement.
Who all Knew About Reigns’ Announcement?
The buzz going around is that only a handful of people knew ahead of time about Reigns’ health and about his announcement. Right now, there’s only speculations as to who knew. Apparently, not even the RAW announce team knew about what Roman was going to say as they were as stunned as everyone else.
Being Showered With Support
Immediately after Reigns left the ring, embraced Ambrose and Rollins, and RAW went to commercial break, Twitter blew up with the news of Roman’s health. However, it wasn’t just the WWE fans and wrestling outlets talking about this or giving their support. Many of the industry’s top stars began expressing their love and support for Roman Reigns. The following is a few Tweets from some of WWE’s biggest stars:
“My Family And I Are Thinking Of You And Are Keeping You In Our Prayers! We Are Here For You!” – Ric Flair
“Fight on to victory my courageous brother!” – Bret Hart
“Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief.’ You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support.” – John Cena
“A warrior, through and through. @WWERomanReigns, your entire #WWE family stands with you.” – Vince McMahon
Final Thoughts about Roman Reigns
There have been many moments throughout the last few decades of pro wrestling where we as fans sat back and said goodbye or even shed a few tears over the forced departure of a favorite wrestler. Some of these memorable moments include when Arn Anderson retired on Monday Nitro, when Edge had to retire due to neck injuries, and most recently when Daniel Bryan was forced to retire due to injuries.
But, there was something different about what Roman Reigns did. Something more resonating about his message. There was something more serious and more concerning than forced retirements due to injury. There was the somberness of a serious disease cutting down one of the company’s conquering heroes. There was a man name Joe who stepped out from Roman’s shadow, took off the superhero outfit and showed his vulnerability to the world.
The show will go on with the WWE and they didn’t waste any time using Roman’s battle with Leukemia as part of a storyline. That’s what the WWE always does, regardless of how tasteless and despicable it can be at times. But, the WWE Universe and general wrestling fans will never forget Roman’s promo on RAW no matter how diluted the WWE makes it with their storylines. For Roman’s speech has instantly become a landmark moment in the history of pro wrestling. Prayers to Joe Anoai that he can beat this disease once again.
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