Sometimes, the biggest battles in life are outside the ring.
WWE’s universal champion Roman Reigns stunned the wrestling world on Monday night after he announced that he is leaving the sport as he wages a real-life battle against leukemia.
Prayers out to Roman Reigns 🙏
— Complex (@Complex) October 23, 2018
Dressed in street clothes, the 33-year old opened the Monday episode of Raw with a shocking revelation that he is again suffering from the cancer of the blood.
“That’s all lies and it’s a lie because the reality is my name is Joe and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years and unfortunately it’s back,” said Reigns, whose real name is Joe A’noia.
The promotion’s biggest active star was initially diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago at the age of 22. Now that it has returned, Reigns had to relinquish his universal championship belt effectively immediately to focus on continuing his battle with the disease.
“Because the leukaemia is back, I can’t fulfil my role. I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish the universal championship. I’m not going to lie, I’ll take every prayer you can send my way but I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m not looking for you to feel bad for me because I have faith.”
— WWE (@WWE) October 23, 2018
‘I Will Beat This’
The former Georgia Tech standout made it clear that Monday night was not his last appearance inside the WWE ring. He vowed to ‘whip leukaemia’s ass’ and promised his fans that he will back very soon.
“I want to make one thing clear: By no means is this a retirement speech because after I’m done whupping leukaemia’s ass, I’m coming back home. And when I do, it’s not going to be about titles and being on top, it’s about a purpose.”
“I’m coming back because I want to show you all at home and my family and my children and my wife that when life throws a curveball at me, I will choke up and I will swing for the fences every single time. I will beat this and I will be back so you will see me very, very soon.”
Meanwhile, in a rare sight, the wrestling community came together to show their support to Reigns’ battle. Some WWE stars took to social media to give their message of support to the embattled former champion.
‘Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief.’ You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support. #ThankYouRoman #NeverGiveUp
— John Cena (@JohnCena) October 23, 2018
@WWERomanReigns My Family And I Are Thinking Of You And Are Keeping You In Our Prayers! We Are Here For You! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) October 23, 2018
About to board my flight to Newark and hearing news about my #GoodBrother and one of the hardest working, strongest brothers I know @WWERomanReigns , got a pit in my stomach.
My family throwing so many prayers at you..
Love you bro.
— Karl Anderson (@KarlAndersonWWE) October 23, 2018
Fight on to victory my courageous brother! pic.twitter.com/wuYAoxa48p
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) October 23, 2018
— The Usos (@WWEUsos) October 23, 2018
(Featured Image Source: WWE/YouTube)