Roman Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoaʻi, is reportedly out of his WrestleMania 36 match with Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship, per several sources.
Reigns, who has been diagnosed with leukemia twice, but has gone into remission both times, does not feel comfortable performing during the coronavirus pandemic. As a cancer survivor, Reigns is more at-risk of having serious, and potentially fatal complications if he contracts the virus.
People who contracted the coronavirus who are chronically ill and/or elderly are at a greater risk of dying than others, and Reigns identifies with the first group.
Reigns’ History With Leukemia
Reigns was originally diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 when he was attempting to begin an NFL career. He went undrafted out of Georgia Tech but was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. The diagnosis came during his physical with the team. Reigns worked and was fortunate to have the disease go into remission.
Unfortunately, it returned in 2018 after Reigns had established himself as a megastar with WWE.
After a six-month hiatus, Reigns returned with his disease back into remission.
While he is healthy now, it’s understandable and commendable he does not take this unnecessary risk. Many have praised Reigns for making this decision despite potential pressures from his promotion to push through with this increasingly odd version of WrestleMania.
Why Reigns Decision is Being Made Public Now
Due to the shutdowns across the world, WWE has already had to make massive changes to its signature event. For the first time ever, WrestleMania is set to be pre-recorded from a variety of locations.
The news on Reigns is breaking now, a little over a week before the two-night event is scheduled to take place on April 4-5, because it’s very likely Reigns’ scheduled match with Goldberg was supposed to be recorded soon, or over the last day or so when tapings reportedly began.
Roman Reigns’ Success and WWE Championship History
The 34-year-old has been one of WWE’s most decorated performers over the past 10 years. Along with Seth Rollins and the since-departed Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley with AEW), Reigns made a historic splash on WWE’s main roster when the trio debuted as The Shield in 2012.
Since then, Reigns has gone on to win seven WWE championships, including three runs as the WWE Heavyweight titleholder. Reigns is also one of the top merchandise sellers in the company, and content including him on WWE’s social media channels is consistently among the most-watched content.
In addition to his WWE success, Reigns has starred alongside former WWE Superstar, and his real-life cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a Fast and Furious spinoff called Hobbs and Shaw.