We probably shouldn’t be surprised by the outpouring of love and support directed at Roman Reigns from the wrestling community after his announcing he’s taking a leave of absence from WWE to battle a recurrence of the leukemia he’s lived with for more than a decade. Word has been Big Uce was the company’s backstage leader for a while, and that’s an honor which isn’t given lightly.
But it’s difficult to separate those reports from the reactions we saw him getting in arenas and online, based on opinions many of us had about his talents or position on the card.
This anecdote from indie wrestler Connor Braxton, who trained at Seth Rollins & Marek Brave’s Black And Brave Wrestling Academy in Moline, Illinois, pretty well illustrates what Reigns means to the business:
“A little known fact… after i finished training at The Black And Brave Wrestling Academy, I was without a pair of wrestling boots to use. With my first match a few days away, and zero dollars to my name, I was frantically looking around for a pair of boots.
I exhausted all my contacts in search of finding a pair, and asked Seth if he knew anyone looking to sell some. He told me Roman Reigns had a pair that he would be willing to sell me. I was ecstatic, but also very poor…
I asked how much he was looking to get for the pair, and he said he would ask Roman and see. Almost immediately, he responded and said, ‘Roman asked if you were a good brother, and said you can have them. He said just make sure you pass on the favor to someone else for the good of the wrestling business.’
Roman, you have no idea who I am. You went out of your way to help an aspiring professional wrestler have a chance. You are the goodest of brothers. The wrestling business is a much better place because of you. Thank you.”
The Reigns we cheered or booed was only one aspect of the man. Joe Anoa’i, the goodest of brothers, deserves nothing less than the biggest of pops.