WWE: Can we leave Roman Reigns alone now?

WWE, Roman Reigns (Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images)
WWE, Roman Reigns (Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images) /

Roman Reigns occupies a very specialist role in the WWE. He’s not there and yet he seems to be all anybody talks about.

The Guy – not to be confused with The Man, The Man or The Dude – has dominated our screens since his competitive debut as far back as Survivor Series 2012 when The Shield aided CM Punk’s escape with the WWE title. As such a divisive character, accused by many of being overpushed and accused by others of being uncharismatic, Roman Reigns has been the top full-time performer in the WWE for a number of years. He has held countless championships both as a solo competitor and as a tag team performer. He’s basically had it all and kept going.

Right now, however, Roman is not on our screens. I know this because of how painful it is to watch SmackDown knowing we won’t get to see that wet hair, that burly chest protector, and that strong fisting action that we always expect. Due to take on WWE Universal Champion Goldberg at WrestleMania, Roman would instead remain home.

As Roman stated in a recent interview with TMZ, this decision was due to the recent birth of his twin sons:

"“It’s my family, it’s my children, they are my legacy. No matter what I do in this world, my children are gonna be the ones to represent my name and carry our name forward. So I had to make that choice for them, to protect them being so young.”"

WWE’s response to Roman’s choice has been to slot Braun Strowman into the match so seamlessly that fans completely missed the clever storyline angle that the company put in place. As a shrewd fan myself, I’m fully aware of the long history between Goldberg and Strowman.

How anyone could have forgotten the intensity of the arm wrestling, the artistry of the cage fight or the brutality of February’s Bikini Contest is beyond me but I digress. Braun Strowman took the championship, Goldberg took his leave and Roman Reigns settled quietly into the background for a well-deserved break.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. Instead, Roman’s decision has been the source of unending speculation. He has been hounded, chased, and accused of a whole wealth of ills for the time off that he’s taken. Wrestling journalists have filled the airwaves talking about what Vince McMahon may or may not think. Some have given almost daily updates that constantly contradict each other. Fans have spoken about Roman’s health and old biases have found new life in the wake of an opportunity.

We don’t know when Roman Reigns will be back. Nobody knows when he will be back. There’s no reason to believe even the man himself knows for certain when he’ll be making his return but he’s far from the only one. AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Edge are either just or just about to return to Raw. Xavier Woods and Sami Zayn are missing from SmackDown. Yet, somehow, so many people are determined to talk about Roman.

When the top layer of talent are unavailable, the next layer gets greater prominence. Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega’s faction get pushed. Shinsuke Nakamura gets a Universal title match. Otis main events SmackDown twice in a row. Both women’s divisions get a major boost of airtime. This is even true of NXT, where Rhea Ripley took a month off. The underrated and underrepresented get a chance to show what they can do and talented men like Apollo Crews have done great things with the opportunity.

WWE meanwhile have been as quiet as they can be when it comes to Roman Reigns. They haven’t made reference to his absence. They’ve edited anything that might draw further attention to him. They’ve tried to ensure that as few questions as possible are asked. For his part, Roman himself has gone home and spent his time with his family.

Now I know I’m not the best person to comment on this given that I spent the last five years hiding in a bush Fortnite style outside Roman’s house, but hear me out here. Can we all just leave Roman alone now? Can journalists speculate less? Can that certain subsection of negative fandom stop questioning his diagnosis? Can a man look after his family in peace?

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Mr. Spear has given a lot to wrestling and its fans. As a man who makes his living by punching the air as close to somebody’s face as possible, he’s kept a lot of people entertained. When he lovingly cradles someone into a soft goodnight by ramming his shoulder into their guts, it comes after a spectacle of commitment and physicality. Basically, he’s great at getting beaten up for a living. We don’t need him to be there every week. There are a lot of people on SmackDown who can benefit from the airtime.

Meanwhile, Roman himself gets to stay with his family. He gave up a title shot and possibly a title, too, to do what he thought was right. There’s no news to be found here.