Over the past couple of weeks, since Roman Reigns was forced to vacate the Universal Title to focus on his battle with Leukemia, there has been a lot of speculation. How long will this take him out of action, will WWE use this as a storyline to get him massively over as a face, will the Big Dog ever be booed again? Frankly, I don’t care. I only care about Reigns getting healthy, surviving, and getting his life back. Whether that life includes wrestling at all is completely beside the point to me.
I want to be clear, this is certainly not the only way to process the news of Reign’s illness. It’s not the “right” way, because there isn’t a wrong way. If it helps you to envision Reign’s comeback at a WrestleMania, the crowd on its feet and Reigns tearing up just a little, more power to you. It’s not that the image of that doesn’t make me smile, it does. It’s something more complicated than that. We have a really strange relationship with reality as wrestling fans. It’s part of the beauty of escapism, but it also makes things hurt more when they’re real. This, to me and to millions of us who have brushed with cancer, this is so very real.
It’s so real, in fact, that it makes the escapism, not matter. Yes, the Universal Title means something, but it also doesn’t. Not really, not in the grand scheme, not compared to a man’s life. Boos and cheers, merchandise sales? They are nothing. They mean nothing.
My father was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, he beat it twice throughout my most formative years. He got to see my college graduation and I hope he gets to see many more milestones. In those moments, it definitely is special to have him there. The reality is, though, that as happy as those few moments are, they are insignificant next to the joy of having him here every day. Emailing him an article I saw, going to him for advice, or just hugging him, those things matter more. Much more. Big moments are wonderful but life is made up of a few of those and a whole lot of little ones in between. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember those little ones until they’re threatened.
Roman Reigns has a life filled with a few more big moments than the average person. I won’t diminish how it must feel to reach that dream. Like all of us, he also has a million tiny moments in between title wins and WrestleMania matches. He has those little moments shared between his family, his close friends, the people who know and love him the most. So for me, that’s what’s really important here. Not another reign as Universal Champion, but that he gets more of those moments. In the larger-than-life world of WWE, let’s not take the smaller things for granted.
Surely coming back to the WWE is a goal of Reigns, he said so himself in his goodbye promo. If and when that day comes, I’ll be cheering just as loud as the next person. I also won’t be disappointed if Reigns decides it’s best for his health and his family to move into a backstage or training role. We don’t really know what’s going to happen after everything is said and done. In the meantime, it’s not on my mind. It all seems so small against the man’s battle for his life.
From everyone here at VultureHound, we wish Reigns the best. He’s in our hearts and we know that although he has a long, hard road ahead, he’ll get through it with a smile on his face.
If you’d like to donate to organizations that are working for research, patient support, and awareness, please visit: