More than four months after revealing he was battling leukemia, Roman Reigns — real name Joseph Anoa’i — announced he was in remission and was returning to WWE.
“I’m probably going to say this a lot, but I’m going to start off by saying ‘Thank you’,” Anoa’i said. “I missed y’all. I’m serious, I missed y’all, there’s no other job like this, there’s no other fanbase like you guys. I used to say this is my yard, but this is our yard.
“Before my announcement in October, I was terrified, I was scared, I was insecure. I didn’t know if I wanted to share that secret with the world. I was scared to tell everybody because I didn’t know how you’d react. The amount of thoughts, the amount of blessings, the amount of prayers you sent me was overwhelming, it was Godsent. So many people prayed for me, God’s voicemail was full. That was how strong it was to be surrounded by you all’s love and you all’s grace.”
“I can do anything with that kind of strength and love. That overwhelming support you gave me, it gave me strength, it gave me new life, it gave me new purpose.
“When I made my announcement I said I was going to swing for the fences, we did better than y’all, we didn’t just swing for the fences, we hit a home run. When I tell you this I am so grateful, so humbled and so honored to announce this: The good news is, I’m in remission.
“So with that being said, the Big Dog is back.”
After addressing the crowd, he was met by fellow Shield member Seth Rollins as Anoa’i walked back up the ramp, who he shared an embrace with.
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2019
Anoa’i’s announcement opened “Raw,” with the crowd giving him an overwhelmingly ovation. Anoa’i was also sporting a new t-shirt with his logo on it with the words “We Fight, We Believe, We Overcome.” Anoa’i spent several minutes interacting with crowd members and embracing members of his family seated ringside.
Anoa’i announced last October that he was taking time off from WWE after his leukemia resurfaced after being in remission for a decade.
“My real name is Joe and I’ve been living with Leukemia for 11 years and unfortunately, it’s back. And because the leukemia is back, I cannot fulfill my role, I can’t be that fighting champion [I said I would be],” Anoa’i announced at the time.
Since revealing he was battling leukemia, Anoa’i has been absent from WWE programming and was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship.
In addition to undergoing treatment for leukemia, Anoa’i has been involved in side projects during his hiatus from WWE. Despite being mostly silent on social media, Anoa’i revealed last month that he took on an acting role alongside his cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his upcoming film “Hobbs & Shaw,” a spin off of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
Anoa’i is also slated to appear on Nickelodeon’s “Cousins for Life” next month.
As far as Anoa’i’s WWE career goes, his announced return comes a little more than a month before the wrestling giant’s biggest event of the year, “WrestleMania.” Reigns has competed in the main event of “WrestleMania” each of the past four years and now has enough time to be a factor in the pay-per-view event this year, which takes place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on April 7.
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