Roman Reigns Aims to Finish a Battle From 11 Years Ago
By: Salvatore Cento
Being body slammed into and through announcer’s tables. Thrown face first into steel cages. Having a three hundred and fifty pound monster fall down on your chest from the top rope.
But his next challenge didn’t come from another WWE wrestler.
These are just some of the hurdles that 33 year old Leati Joseph Anoa’i goes through on a weekly basis being a WWE superstar.
With a ring name of Roman Reigns, Anoa’i has had feuds with the likes of other world renowned superstars, such as The Undertaker, John Cena and most recently, The Conqueror, Brock Lesnar.
Anoa’i made his debut for the company in September of 2010, wrestling first in the developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling.
It was only in 2012 when he made his chaotic debut on nationwide programming, interrupting the main event of a pay per view called Survivor Series, in which he was a part of the invading stable called the Shield.
On October 22nd 2018, slowly walking out to a massive crowd for a live showing of Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island, Reigns was met with the same tenacity that he was met with every week. A roaring wave of boo’s.
Even though he was pushed as the main “babyface” of the company starting in 2013, which meant he was a good guy in wrestling jargon, fans heavily disapproved of him for one reason or another.
He didn’t wait a moment after grabbing a microphone to break the news. After apologizing for not being who he said he was going to be regarding a fighting champion and a workhorse when he compared himself to a former champion a few months ago, he made a statement that ushered the crowd silent.
“My real name is Joe and I’ve been living with Leukemia for eleven years.”
After defeating cancer of the blood once in 2008, and being in remission all of this time, the disease had found a way to come up once again in the father of three and the wrestler who headlined the last four Wrestlemania’s.
Explaining how he had to vacate the WWE Universal Championship, before leaving the ring, Joe laid out the title on the mat in front of his feet and left it there, joining his stablemates at the top of the entrance ramp, who participated in doing their “Shield” logo one more time
Once being called The Hounds of Justice, his partners, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were now fighting back tears
In between matches, the rest of the three hour broadcast was filled with emotional, heartfelt goodbyes and numerous replays of the infamous speech.
Legendary wrestlers, including Ric Flair, Mick Foley and Kurt Angle also voiced their condolences on Twitter and hoped that he would make a speedy return to the ring.
Inserted into the following week’s Monday Night Raw, the same children who were usually featured in promotional segments for pediatric cancer, who interacted with various superstars were now trying to inspire one of WWE’s own to keep on fighting the good fight.
“You’re not alone, Roman”, Jacob said.
“You got this, we love you”, was whispered by another child.
Even though this will surely take time away from his in ring career, the former World Heavyweight, United States, Intercontinental and Tag Team champion is still very much scheduled to appear at the ACE Comic Con this January from the 11th to the 13th in Glendale Arizona.
With the backing of his loved ones as well as all the fans that encompass the WWE Universe, Leati Joseph Anoa’i aims to settle the score once and for, laying the sickness down for the last time and getting the three count for the win he rightfully deserves.