Photo credit: WWE.com.
The upcoming WrestleMania 36 match between Roman Reigns and Goldberg is reportedly per Ryan Satin of the Pro Wrestling Sheet:
“Sources with knowledge of the situation say that Reigns expressed to WWE that he did not feel comfortable doing any more of the Performance Center exhibits during the coronavirus pandemic because he is immune from his battle with leukemia and did not want to risk his health,”
“We are told that WWE honored his request and he will now be replaced by someone else in the match against Goldberg, although it is unclear who right now.”
Reigns, who played college football at Georgia Tech and attempted an NFL career, was diagnosed with leukemia after a physical with the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, per Maya A. Jones of The Undefeated.
He went on remission two years later, but on October 22, 2018 Reigns announced it Monday Night Raw, that his leukemia came back.
Four months later, Reigns returned to the ring and said his leukemia was in remission.
Reigns is at higher risk for COVID-19 as a former cancer patient. Mayo Clinic offered more guidance on the issue:
“Because cancer treatments weaken the body’s immune system, cancer patients are among those at risk of serious disease from COVID-19,” the Mayo Clinic wrote.
The match would be held in front of no fans at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The background to the match was as follows.
Goldberg shocked “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the title of Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on February 27, and as he tried to find out who his next opponent would be on SmackDown the following night, The Big Dog immediately responded to the challenge.
Governments returned to action just over a year ago after missing four months to seek treatment for leukemia. With his cancer in remission, he has returned to his workhorse role.
While he has largely stayed out of the title picture for the past year, he has had notable feuds with the likes of Drew McIntyre, Shane McMahon, Erick Rowan and King Corbin.
The Big Dog’s long-standing rivalry with The Lone Wolf ended after he won a Falls Count Anywhere match at the Royal Rumble in January and then won in a steel cage match at Super ShowDown.
With no more obstacles on Reign’s path, he was free to finally pursue the title he had to relinquish in October 2018 after being diagnosed with leukemia.
A vocal part of the fan base was apparently against Goldberg beating The Fiend for the Universal Championship at Super ShowDown, but it may have been by design in hopes of getting fans to back The Big Dog.
In addition, Reigns vs. Goldberg is often discussed as a dream match over the years because of the many parallels between them.
They were both prominent collegiate football players in the same state, with Reigns playing at Georgia Tech and Goldberg at the University of Georgia before continuing to play professionally in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.
Reigns and Goldberg are also both intense individuals in the ring and use the appropriate javelin as a signature move, which was among the biggest angles that came into their match.
There were no high expectations for the match in terms of being a technical masterpiece, but both men are accomplished artists who do not need much time to leave a lasting impression.
But the match will no longer occur because Reigns understandably prioritizes his health.