Roman Reigns took to his Instagram page to confirm the news that he is not going to be competing at WrestleMania 36 in his scheduled Universal Championship match against Goldberg. Roman mentioned that his decision to pull out of the show was for his family and for himself. He apologized to those who were looking forward to seeing him compete at WrestleMania but added that there are things more important at the moment. It was in February of 2019 that Roman Reigns returned to WWE after overcoming his second battle with Leukemia.
NXT founder and senior Producer, Paul “Triple H” Levesque made the rounds on the media circuit to promote WrestleMania 36 and he stopped past Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN. Levesque was asked about Roman Reigns pulling himself from WrestleMania and he said that the way Reigns will be pulled from the show in storyline, will be done in a “unique manner”.
“Well it’s a funny thing. I think you can watch our business in multiple different ways, and one of them is the storyline aspect of it. Another way is the online component of it, and the reality of it behind the scenes. Roman has his situation and his reasons for doing the things that he’s doing, but I will say from our standpoint and the storyline standpoint, it’s going to play out in a unique manner, and we want it to play out that way. It’s not necessarily putting me in an awkward position, it’s just for me saying, ‘I don’t want to give away the ending of the movie before the movie takes place.’ I think everybody just has to watch and see how this unfolds.”
The COVID-19 outbreak and WWE continuing to run shows has drawn both negative and positive reactions from their viewers. The sports-entertainment company are presenting WrestleMania as a two-day event this year in-which no fans will be in attendance. Some of the matches were taped at the WWE Performance Center and there were some that were taped in different locations. They also taped this Friday’s SmackDown and next Monday’s episode of RAW. In response to the negative comments, Levesque had the following to say about WWE’s “critics”:
“Look, there’s going to be critics of everything. I think we’re doing this to provide what we believe is an essential service in entertaining our fans, entertaining people around the world, and I think you see that with ESPN picking up past WrestleManias, and FOX, NBC and that partnership, we can put out content… even our historic content is evergreen in nature because of the storytelling aspect of what we do, and I say this a lot, we’re more akin to the ‘Rocky’ movie than we are actual boxing. Once the event takes place live in boxing, you’re kind of done with it. With us, you’ll watch it over and over again, because it’s the story, and the characters, and the emotion that you feel. You’ll go back and relive those epic moments — Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3, or whatever connects with you from the past. We’re working with the government officials very closely. We’re taking all of the precautions, we’re screening our talent. Anybody that’s uncomfortable doing this doesn’t have to. The crew and the staff is very, very limited. We’re working the talent waves, where we bring them in for their particular stuff and then they can leave, and keeping people as separated as possible, trying to do this in as safe a way as possible, while still being able to perform a vital service. We’re following CDC recommendations, as well as Dr. Joseph Maroon, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas and their medical advice on how we deal with all of this as well.”
Along with Reigns pulling out the show, another change was made to the card via Andrade suffering an injury. He was supposed to tag with Angel Garza to challenge The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) for the RAW Tag Team Championships but filling in for Andrade in the title match at WrestleMania is Austin Theory.