The recent edition of WWE’s Super Bowl, Wrestlemania, is still scheduled to take place, but in a modified capacity. Raymond James Stadium was set to be the host of the wrestling world’s most anticipated yearly event on April 5th. However, the venue has been moved to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando and will span over a course of 2 days. Just like its regularly aired TV programs, RAW and SmackDown!, it will be without fans in attendance. Unfortunately, there will be one more large modification. The WWE will be without the services of its top draw and fan favorite Joseph Anoa’i, otherwise known by millions of fans as Roman Reigns.
Reigns recently made this decision to withdraw from his matchup against champion Bill Goldberg due to concerns surrounding his health. For those unaware of his story, at 22 years of age, Joseph (Roman) was diagnosed with cancer. His battle with leukemia lasted 11 years before going into remission. However, in October of 2018, it returned and the WWE Superstar was forced to relinquish his world title, withdrawing from action. Thankfully, he was able to beat it once more and went into remission.
BREAKING: @ryansatin reports Roman Reigns, who has battled leukemia, did not feel comfortable competing at the WWE Performance Center at #WrestleMania against Goldberg. He will be replaced. #WWE https://t.co/ixMb0rLCkB— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) March 27, 2020
With the severity of the coronavirus and its spread across the country at an alarming rate, it places individuals like Roman Reigns at great risk due to being “immunocompromised”. The likelihood of this global pandemic slowing down seems very uncertain this point. Even though it was a tough decision he didn’t want to make, Reigns has chosen to step away and fight another day.
ROMAN REIGNS IS OFF WRESTLEMANIA!— Gorilla Position (@WWEGP) March 27, 2020
Roman tells WWE officials he’s no longer comfortable doing the Performance Center shows during this Coronavirus pandemic because of his impaired immune system as a result of his battles with Leukemia. He’ll no longer face Goldberg. Much respect pic.twitter.com/fWsHzmOkjZ
As to his replacement, a formal decision has not been issued. WOR (Wrestling Observer Radio) states that the official announcement will be made on the upcoming episode of SmackDown! WOR has also learned that Braun Strowman will be the recipient of this honor. In addition, the “Monster Among Men” (Strowman) has reportedly already taped the match at the Performance Center. Goldberg and Strowman are two of the industry’s most intense goliaths in the ring. With that being said, there should be no drop off in fan appeal.
Wrestlmania 36 will air on the WWE Network over two nights, April 4th and 5th. Unfortunately, it will be without Roman Reigns. Although the WWE is taking every precaution to protect those they employ, Reigns feels that stepping away from the company’s largest event is in his best interest. Will there be others who will follow? It remains to be seen. Until then, he will serve as its only pioneer. We can certainly understand his decision and hope that this pandemic will come to a close in the very near future.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!