By Banjo Colbourne
Tonight, RAW brings one of the most shocking moments to rock the WWE universe since the retirement of Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns has had to step away from not only his newly won Universal Title but also his hard-earned career and position as a top-man in the company.
So from the beginning, The Dunkin's Donut Center gives Roman a ruckus roar of disapproval with an overtone of younger/female fans shrieking with glee to see their favourite superstar. The RAW announce team plug the upcoming match at (the still unconfirmed) Crown Jewel and everything seems to be normal, However, Roman doesn't possess the fire and smugness of face that he usually carries to the ring, he looks somewhat forlorn and battle-worn.
Wearing his casual clothing, the tactical vest left in the locker room he walks down the ramp, breathing deeply with something very clearly on his mind.
It seemed as though not even his commentary colleagues knew what was coming in his show-opening promo.
He allows the crowd to give it's back and forth reaction, between boo's, ovations and the deep-smark chorus of "Roman Sucks!" being chanted throughout the arena, Roman stands in the center of the ring visibly taking it all in.
He eventually speaks, and from the first line we all can see this is a no-nonsense promo, using the line "I've spoken to you as Roman Reigns." Breaking kayfabe, at this point it is either going to be a shoot on WWE or something incredibly serious? We go on to find out it's the latter.
As the character Roman Reign, he said that he would be a "Fighting Champion, The Workhorse of WWE and that he'd be there every week." Which he now knows as lies (I am sure the crowd at this point we're anticipating the long-desired heel turn.) But then he reintroduces himself as Joe, and that he has been living with Leukaemia for the past eleven years.
The crowd at this point mutes and realizes what is happening here, apart from some Muppet who thought it'd be funny to yell out "WHAT!" after every line…
Someone, please put that idiot to sleep.
Reigns went on to say that his condition has returned, and due to this, he cannot continue with his position in the company, as a ‘work horse’ or as the Universal Champion.
It seems at this point that the Universal Title is officially cursed.
(Maybe time for the needed facelift of the title now.)
Roman asked for no sympathy or ‘feeling sorry' because he has faith, and went on to talk about his first experience with cancer, and the battles he went through to not only beat it, but to overcome adversity and make it to the WWE where he thanks his Fans, Haters and everyone in-between for their reactions, in turn making his dreams come true.
The crowd, the WWE Universe breaks into a chant of "Thank You Roman,"
And at that moment it seemed that everyone in the WWE Universe is chanting unanimously.
This ovation is cut short by the late Universal Champion, giving the confirmed announcement that he will be taking some time away to focus on his health and to spend time with his family, also reiterating that this is not a retirement speech, because when he "is done whopping leukaemia’s ass, he will be returning home."
He states that when he returns it will not just be for title reigns, it will be for a purpose and that is because he wants to show his family, friends and the WWE Universe, that he is the kind of man that will (he says a lot of baseball references here, something a mere Australian like myself does not understand) never be brought down and will come back fighting every time.
He finishes his universe-shocking speech with "I will beat this! I will be back! So you will see me very, very soon! Thank you!"
I was pleased to see that the WWE Universe didn't continue to try and put themselves over, they allowed themselves to put their opinions of the Big Dog aside, and show their appreciation for the polarizing athlete that is, Roman Reigns.
He lays down the Universal Championship in the ring.
As he walked up the ramp, the crowd continues to chant their appraisal, where he is joined by his ‘Shield Brothers,' Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Where they embrace. I wouldn't consider myself a crier, however seeing how visibly upset Seth Rollins was made my heart drop into my stomach and tears well in my eyes.
The Shield just seems to be as cursed as the Universal Title at this point in time.
Roman reigns departure from the current roster of WWE will leave a 1.91m, 120kg hole in the company that is not easy to replace. Whether you're a smark and claim Roman to be Vince's toy or a fanboy and are convinced that he is the greatest wrestler since ‘The Rock,' it cannot be said lightly that he was an integral character in the WWE Universe.
We, as fans can only send him our prayers, thoughts, and love during this terrible time.
Hopefully, his time away will result in a refreshing comeback to the company, where he can escape this character-curse he has been in for the last few years.
Regardless, what happens in the WWE moving forward, it should be the least of his concern.
Get well Joe Anoa'i, We hope to see you soon.
Double-superman punch and spear the shit outta that cancer.