Roman Reigns Announces Leave of Absence Due to Leukemia Battle
Tonight we kicked off Monday Night Raw on USA Network with a big announcement from Roman Reigns (whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoa’i). Reigns announced just moments after Monday Night Raw started that he was diagnosed with leukemia 11 years ago. He went into remission in late 2008 and signed with the WWE in 2010 and made the main roster as a member of The Shield in 2012.
Reigns won the Universal Title on August 19th, 2018 at SummerSlam after successfully beating Brock Lesnar. Tonight Reigns announced that he had to relinquish the Universal Title due to leukemia returning. He started his announcement off by telling the WWE universe that when he won the title he made a promise to the fans that he would be a fighting champion and that he would defend his title every chance that he had to the best of his ability. He added that it was all a lie because his real name is Joe and he has been living with leukemia for 11 years. He added that his leukemia has returned and because of that he has to relinquish the title and focus on his family and his health.
He made it a point to tell the WWE universe that this was in no way a retirement speech because when he “kicks leukemia’s ass” he will “come back home.” He added that when he returns it won’t be about the titles or being on top, it will be about having a purpose. He went on to say, “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.” Check out the full announcement below.
So what does that mean for the Universal Title? Reigns was supposed to defend his title in a triple threat match against Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman at the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. Due to his announcement, the WWE has decided to make it a head-to-head match between Lesnar and Strowman at the same event coming up on November 2nd.
We ended the night off with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, Reigns’ fellow Shield members, winning the Tag Team Championships from Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. In a surprising turn of events, Ambrose then turned on Rollins. Fans are a little outraged that Ambrose chose tonight, of all nights, to turn on The Shield. It will make for one hell of a storyline though.
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