On this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, things started off with WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns walking out to the ring to the usual chorus of boos. Shortly after that, he revealed that he was relinquishing the title due to his leukemia battle returning — and the mood in the arena immediately changed to a somber one. Backstage, there was much of the same sentiment, as there were very few people present who actually knew how the show would begin on that night.
When Reigns came out into the arena, Michael Cole even exclaimed his appearance with his usual gusto. After Reigns began speaking and revealed his sad news, the announcers became very quiet. Everyone just listened to Roman Reigns speak, because they had no idea about anything that he was telling them.
PW Insider is reporting that around 99 percent of those in the backstage area had no idea what Reigns was going to announce during Raw‘s opening segment. As for those who actually knew about the announcement on Monday, only the upper-tier members of WWE management and those in the McMahon family’s inner circle had any advance knowledge of the facts.
The ringside announcers — Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young — were not advised of the situation before Monday Night Raw began. Therefore, everything that you heard and the look of shock on the faces of other industry figures was indeed real.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) October 23, 2018
It is possible that the Talent Relations department was also aware of the announcement, but the majority of the WWE roster was unaware of Roman Reigns’ health condition. Of course, Reigns’ family also knew of the return of his leukemia, but this was something that was kept on the down-low out of respect to the superstar.
Aside from the fact that so many WWE superstars respect Roman Reigns and are friends with him, this revelation would also explain the looks of shock on their faces in the video below.
EXCLUSIVE: Moments after announcing that his returning leukemia has forced him to relinquish the Universal Championship, @WWERomanReigns is met with an outpouring of support backstage. #Raw pic.twitter.com/JRv0iYLILJ
— WWE (@WWE) October 23, 2018
Later in the evening there was a major heel turn to end Monday Night Raw, as reported by Inquisitr. The Shield won the Raw Tag Team Championships, but shortly after, Dean Ambrose turned on Seth Rollins — destroying his Shield brother to end the evening.
Wrestling Observer Live, by way of Cageside Seats, is reporting that an Ambrose heel turn was always in the works. The only thing that changed is that WWE originally wanted it to happen at Survivor Series next month, but Roman Reigns’ leukemia announcement caused the angle to be pushed ahead. It’s obvious that the company wanted to give Reigns the respect that he deserves, keeping things very quiet so he could tell the world on his own terms.