Top WWE Superstar Roman Reigns (real name Joe Anoa’i) will return to “Raw” on Monday to “address his fight against leukemia,” the pro-wrestling company said on Thursday.
In addition to a quick press brief sent to TheWrap and others via email, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon tweeted out the (hopefully) good news on Thursday. The boss hashtagged his post with #fighter, #proud and #classy.
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) February 21, 2019
Anoa’i, a leader in the locker room and the face of the pro-wrestling company, stunned a “Monday Night Raw” crowd in October when he revealed an 11-year battle with cancer. The disease had been in remission until a recent diagnosis.
Reigns, who was WWE Universal Champion at the time, surrendered the top “Raw” title at the very top of the show.
“For months now, maybe even a full year, I’ve come out here and spoke as Roman Reigns and I said a lot of things. I said that I’d be here every single week. I said I’d be a fighting champion, I said that I’d be consistent and I said that I’d be a workhorse but…that’s all lies,” Reigns said in the middle of the ring to open the show. “That’s a lie because the reality is…my real name is Joe…and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years. And unfortunately, it’s back.”
Reigns went on to discuss how he was first diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 22 when he had no money and after he had ended his brief pro football career.
“But you want to know who gave me a chance? The team that gave me a chance was WWE,” he said. “And when I finally made it to the main roster and I was on the road they put me in front of all of you…and to be honest, you have all made my dreams come true.”
“By no means is this a retirement speech,” Reigns promised at the time. “I will beat this, I will be back, and you will see me very, very soon.”
Readers can watch that somber segment here.
Monday’s episode will air live from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
“Raw” airs Mondays at 8/7c on USA Network.
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