Roman Reigns sent a shockwave through the WWE on Monday when he announced that he would be stepping down as Universal Champion. Reigns stated that this is due to his ongoing battle with leukemia, an illness he’s kept secret since 2007.
Reigns, born Leati Joseph Anoaʻi, has been a controversial figure during his time with the WWE, with many fans feeling that he lacks the necessary magnetism to rival legendary figures like John Cena or his cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Despite this, many of Reigns’ peers have taken to Twitter to voice their support and admiration.
Several WWE Superstars Have Praised Reigns’ Courage & Honesty
Cena, who has previously faced Reigns, said that the WWE Superstar was courageous for being honest with his fans. “Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief,” he wrote. “You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support.”
Chad Gable also tweeted out his support, writing: “Roman Reigns exemplifies everything I believe a true leader should be. Proud to have shared a locker room with him, and I’ll be proud to share it with him again after he wins this battle.” Check out additional reactions from King Tez, Candice LeRae, and Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart below.
The Usos, made up of brothers Jey and Jimmy Uso, shared a photo of them and Reigns as children. “We been here for u, and will stay here for u. Day one uce. We love you,” they wrote. Jey and Jimmy are Reigns’ cousins, and all three of them are part of the revered Anoaʻi family along with The Rock and Nia Jax.
Others Praised Reigns for His Willingness to Drop His Wrestling Persona to Address Fans
John Layfield, the longest reigning champion in SmackDown history, said that Reigns is a gentleman in the wrestling world. “Just saw the @WWERomanReigns news. Absolutely heartbreaking,” he tweeted. “Roman is one of nicest guys I have ever met in this business and was a pleasure every time I had the pleasure to work with him. My best wishes to him!”
Johnny Gargano was similarly complimentive, writing: “Our job gives us the ability to portray larger than life characters who possess super human qualities and characteristics. After hearing his story it’s very apparent that Joe Anoa’i is just as much of a superhero as “Roman Reigns” is.” Reactions from Billie Kay and Tony Nese are also listed below.
Shortly after Reigns’ Monday Night RAW appearance, WWE released a statement clarifying his plans for the future:
“Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns (aka Joe Anoa’i) announced that he is relinquishing the WWE Universal Championship and taking a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia, which had been in remission since late 2008,” they wrote. “Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease.”
You can watch the video of Reigns’ announcement above. “I will beat this, I will be back, and you will see me very, very soon,” he tells the audience. He also tells them that by no means is his brief absence a retirement from the WWE. He said that after he’s done “whooping leukemia’s a*s once again”, he’s coming back to reclaim his Universal Champion title.