Roman Reigns shocked the professional wrestling world Monday night when he announced he’s relinquishing the Universal Title.
This isn’t the storyline, and he’s not suffering from an in-ring injury. Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoa’i, announced he has leukemia and is stepping away from the ring for treatment.
Reigns actually acknowledged he has been living with the disease for 11 years, and it recently returned. He made the announcement at the beginning of “Monday Night RAW,” unsurprisingly announcing he’s taking some time off to get healthy.
He vowed to eventually return to the ring where he’s been on the WWE’s main roster since 2012.
“After I’m done whooping leukemia’s ass once again, I’m coming back home,” he said in an emotional speech in the middle of the ring.
Here’s the WWE’s statement, via Cageside Seats:
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. 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.
Reigns had been the WWE’s Universal champion since Aug. 19 when he won the title for the first time, ending Brock Lesnar’s 500-plus-day reign as the champion. Reigns was scheduled to defend the title at WWE’s “Crown Jewel” show on Nov. 2 in Saudi Arabia. That was going to be a triple-threat match vs. Reigns and Braun Strowman. The WWE didn’t make any announcements about how it would continue without Reigns in the picture.
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