WWE‘s Roman Reigns has been a top star of the wrestling business for some time. From his debut on the main roster as part of the Shield faction alongside Seth Rollins and AEW’s Jon Moxley, Reigns clearly emerged as the talent that WWE wished to push as a new top star. Wrestling fans weren’t always supportive of Reigns’ push, yet as he began to reveal more of his personal struggles with health, he gained the support of those who could see the person behind the character.
Reigns had previously pulled out of a match with Goldberg at Wrestlemania 36 due to health concerns, and now has been removed from the Day 1 pay-per-view event due to testing positive for COVID-19. Reigns was initially meant to face Brock Lesnar in the main event of Day 1 for the Universal Championship, a title that Roman Reigns has held for over a year. The positive test result came as a surprise for many, including WWE who were forced to find a new space for Brock Lesnar on the match card and a new main event.
As for the Day 1 event, the scheduled main event match was swapped with the scheduled Fatal Four Way match for the WWE Championship, featuring Big E, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. Brock Lesnar was quickly inserted into this match as a last minute fifth participant. At the end of the night Brock Lesnar was standing tall as the new WWE Champion, after beating the four other men in the match.
Many fans on Twitter showed their support for Roman Reigns. After a previous battle with leukemia, Reigns was forced to rellinquish his title and step away from wrestling for a time, and with a positive COVID-19 test result, many fans are again concerned with the superstar’s health. “You will be missed but your health is more important & outweighs everything else,” one fan wrote, showing that even though Roman Reigns is currently playing a bad guy character or “heel,” that wrestling fans will still support the person behind the character. Reigns’ positive test is by no means the first case of COVID-19 among WWE superstars, as the disease made its way throught the performance centre in June of last year.
After over a year of WWE programming being taped inside the Thunderdome, fans were finally able to return to watch their favorite wrestlers compete in 2021, yet taking the show back on the road in front of live audiences has seen its share of negatives as well as positives. COVID-19 cases have been a larger concern with people again packed into stadiums, and in November of 2021 a fan even attacked Seth Rollins.