Roman Reigns shocked the WWE Universe on Monday Night Raw when he announced that he was diagnosed with leukemia and that he would need to surrender the WWE Universal Championship.
Reigns opened the show by apologizing to the fans for not being the fighting champion that he promised he would be, and that he had been battling the cancer for the last 11 years.
"My real name is Joe, and I've been living with leukemia for 11 years," Reigns said at the start of his promo.
He assured fans in the building that he was not retiring, and that he would be back in the WWE once he had beaten the cancer again.
"You know the deal, you know how life is," Reigns said. "Life is not fair, it's not all peaches and cream. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And right now the best thing for me to do is to go home, to focus on my family and my health.
"But I want to make one thing clear, by no means is this a retirement speech," he continued. "Because after I'm done whooping leukemia's ass once again I'm coming back home. And when I do, it's not just going to be about titles and being on top, no it's about a purpose. I am coming back because I want to show all of you, the whole world, I want to show my family, my friends, my children and my wife, that when life throws a curve ball at me, I am the type of man that will stand in that batter's box, I will crowd the plate, I will choke up and I will swing for the fences every single time. Because I will beat this and I will be back and you will see me very, very soon."
Reigns was joined at the top of the ramp by his Shield brothers, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, as the crowd chanted "Thank You Roman."
WWE released a statement shortly after Reigns' announcement reporting that, until its recent reappearance, his cancer had been in remission since 2008.0comments
"Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease," the statement read.
Reigns won the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam in August in a match against Brock Lesnar. He was scheduled to defend his title at the upcoming Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 2 in a triple threat match involving Lesnar and Braun Strowman.