I know that professional wrestling isn’t every ones cup of tea. Yes it is scripted. Yes a lot of the acting tends to border on horrendous. But there are certain times where the fantasy takes a back seat to reality.
Roman Reigns (Joseph Anoa’i) was diagnosed with Leukemia 11 years ago. He has been battling it ever since and has not once let it effect his in ring career. Or his out of ring career either for that matter. Reigns continued to be one of the main brand ambassadors for WWE, showing up to all of their house shows as well as press appearances. But in October of 2018, Roman took to the squared circle to announce that he had to step away from the ring.
His Leukemia was back.
Sorry for the language, but it fucking sucked to watch this. There are moments in WWE where the curtains get pulled back and you actually get to see the other side of the business. The real people who are portraying these larger than life characters. It was especially tough to watch because of who it was saying this.
Roman Reigns has been universally boo’d for years. The company keeps shoving him down the fans throats and eventually the WWE Universe started to rebel against it. So watching the stunned faces in the crowd when they realized what was unfolding before their eyes was tough. Reigns has been portrayed as an unbeatable badass who can overcome all the odds. But what we were all witnessing was this same man have his career put in jeopardy by a very real, very dangerous opponent.
Needless to say that the industry was shaken by this announcement. Like the professional that Roman is, he never led on that he was constantly battling this. Apparently, not many people even knew about it other than management and a few of his closest friends (including his real life cousins, WWE tag team, The Usos). Many wrestlers from not only WWE but other promotions tweeted out their support for Roman. It was a very somber moment. And this only made it worse.
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose make up The Shield. A trio of bonafide superstars who became one of the most formidable, historic tag teams in WWE history before they broke up. They were badasses. So seeing them all like this just made this moment even more surreal and brought tears to almost everyones eyes who were watching.
Fast forward to tonight please.
I don’t give a shit, I’ll say it. That brought a tear to my eyes. You can’t understand it if you aren’t a wrestling fan, but you do actually grow somewhat attached to these guys. Some people just see WWE has men and women throwing eachother around in a ring. But what you don’t see is the impact that these characters have on their fans. Young and old. WWE is more than just sports entertainment.
To see Roman come back and get the ovation he deserves, it honestly brought chills. This dude has been a workhorse for this company and he gets shit from fans just because they want to be children and bitch and moan when the guy then don’t like doesn’t get a title run or wins a match.
Whether you like professional wrestling or not is besides the point. This is someone overcoming cancer and getting back to do what they love. If you can’t get behind that then there’s something wrong with you.
Welcome back Roman.