Last week, the WWE Universe was surprised to learn that former three-time WWE World Heavyweight champion Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days due to a violation of the company’s wellness policy. Having lost the WWE title just two days prior, the suspension seemed to coincide with him dropping the title.
On the RAW following Money in the Bank, a triple threat match was made for WWE Battleground, pitting Reigns against Seth Rollins — the man who defeated him for the title at MITB — and current WWE World Heavyweight champion Dean Ambrose. Many have questioned Reigns’ motives and the particular substance — which has yet to be revealed — he was using.
“Well, it’s embarrassing for the talent,” Ross said during an appearance on Submission Radio. “I have no idea what substance that he, you wanna hope invariantly, was taking. There’s a lot of the wrestlers, men and women, that are really big into the supplements out of the health food stores, and if they’re not careful and they don’t really vet it and see what’s on those ingredients, they can be inadvertently taking something that’s against the wellness program. So I’m assuming that’s what he did.”
Reigns, 31, has risen to the top of the WWE food chain since The Shield split up in 2014. In addition to being the last two Wrestlemania main events, the Samoan Superman is a former Royal Rumble winner, Tag Team champion, and generally viewed as the WWE’s heir apparent to John Cena.
Despite the negative press that Reigns, a top performer in the company, has generated for violating the policy, Ross feels that he should not be ostracized for his mistake.
WWE suspends former World Heavyweight champion Roman Reigns 30 days for violating talent wellness policy. pic.twitter.com/Ddpx8jFHLc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2016
“He’s a hell of a good kid. I had a lot of fun when he was in developmental, when I was still working in WWE, helping him and talking with him, kind of mentoring him a little bit, like a lot of guys did, cause you wanted to mentor him cause he listened and he put what you told him into practice,” Ross said of his experience with Reigns. “So I was disappointed in him. And he’s gotta pay more attention if that’s what the case was. And hopefully he’ll learn a great lesson out of these thirty days he’s sitting. And hopefully he won’t be sitting, he’ll be getting better. And I sent out a tweet @JRsBBQ recently that said, ‘the game’s not over, it’s an inadvertent timeout’. So now you gotta come back better than you left and make up for lost time.”
— Joey Styles (@JoeyStyles) June 21, 2016
By the time that Reigns’ suspension is over, he will be eligible to compete at Battleground for the WWE World Heavyweight championship. There has been a lot of backlash over the situation with reports stating that WWE knew of Reigns’ failed test before the MITB pay-per-view. However, in Ross’ mind, the suspension doesn’t only hurt Reigns; it also hurts his two Battleground adversaries.
With that in mind, “Good Ol’ J.R.” hopes that WWE figures out a way to not let the suspension ruin their plans.
“So I don’t know that it hurt WWE. You have to re-arrange creative. I’m sure that he’ll come back. I would put him back in a triple threat match at Payback. You don’t want to discount the other guys’ efforts creatively and what they’ve built to get to this triple threat match. It costs the other two guys as much as it cost Reigns if you don’t have him in the match. And so I don’t know who wins in that equation. The fans don’t win. So I think the triple match should be booked and held. But he’s gotta be smarter in what he takes. The company has invested lots of money, the talent has invested lots of their time and efforts into helping him, and he’s gotta just be smarter than he was. And like I said, I just want to believe that it was totally inadvertent and that it will not happen again.”
[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]