Roman Reigns might not be the most famous professional wrestler of the past 30 years, but he might be the most fascinating in terms of the way he’s been perceived and treated by fans. Anointed as a chosen one by Vince McMahon and WWE, fans soured on him in their preference for indie darling turned underdog favorite, Daniel Bryan. In the years that followed, Reigns was almost always positioned as the conquering hero, but so many wrestling fans rejected the notion, favoring bad guys and NXT call-ups to take out Vince’s golden boy.
That drama culminated in 2018 when Reigns finally defeated Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam to wrest the WWE Universal Championship and begin what was expected to be something of a victory lap. His title reign was short-lived, however, when in October he made the bombshell announcement that he was battling leukemia and would be taking a leave of absence from the company in order to treat it.
At the time it was unclear if and when he would return. Furthermore, although unimportant, the news immediately reversed years of hard feelings and unrelating boos from the audience. They weren’t seeing Roman Reigns anymore, just Joe Anoa’i. And that was someone they could get behind.
WWE kept moving without Reigns, as it always does. The title returned to Lesnar, who will face-off against Reigns’ running buddy Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania. However, it looks like its possible that Reigns could insert himself into that drama in some way. That’s because Reigns returned to Monday Night Raw this week to announce that his leukemia was in remission.
“We didn’t just swing for the fences, man, we hit a home run. So when I tell you this I’m so grateful, I’m so humbled, and I’m so honored to announce this…”
At this point, the crowd started chanting “WrestleMania,” to which Roman said, “we’ll get to that later.” And then, he added…
“The good news is…I’m in remission, Y’all.”
The crowd went wild in a way they’ve rarely if ever done for Roman Reigns. But of course, this time, they’re cheering for Joe Anoa’i. As he walked back up the ramp, Rollins appeared and greeted him with a hug. While Rollins and Dean Ambrose both greeted Reigns last time he was there, Ambrose is (technically) a bad guy now, and so it didn’t make much sense storyline-wise.
(Though it should be noted that later on that evening, Reigns and Rollins emerged to save Ambrose from an attack, thereby reforming The Shield once more).
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2019
As for what happens next… it’s too early to tell. As mentioned, it’s very likely that Reigns gets involved in Rollins and Lesnar’s match in some way, whether that be as a third opponent or as someone in Rollins’ corner. From there, there are plenty of storyline directions to play with, from Reigns demanding his title back to him or Rollins turning on one another.
But that’s for another day. Today it’s just good to see Roman Reigns back in a WWE ring and knowing he’ll keep being back in one for the foreseeable future. For a long time, a lot of people would’ve found it impossible to say that, but it’s amazing what a little humanity can do for people.