WWE’s Roman Reigns pulls out of WrestleMania 36 due to coronavirus concerns

Roman Reigns has pulled out of WrestleMania.

The WWE superstar will not be going forward with his scheduled Universal championship match with Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 because of coronavirus health concerns, according to reports. The 34-year-old Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoa’i, asked out of performing in the match because he has leukemia and is immunocompromised, putting him at greater risk if he contracts COVID-19.

Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first to report Reigns would not appear at WrestleMania and that he expressed to the company that he was no longer comfortable doing the Performance Center shows  during the pandemic and did not want risk his health. WWE honored his wishes.

WrestleMania 36, which was originally supposed to take place at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, is scheduled to air April 4-5 and is hosted by former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The event is set to take place on closed sets at multiple locations, including the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla, with essential personnel only. Reigns was at the facility last week for a storyline contract signing on “Friday Night SmackDown” with Goldberg.

Request for comment from WWE was not returned early Friday morning.

WWE will now seek a new opponent for Goldberg, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet.

WWE had put in an advance taping schedule into place before Orlando issuing a stay-at-home order in response to coronavirus that will close all non-essential businesses in the city for two weeks starting Thursday, according to Variety.

Reigns was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 and revealed to world in October 2018 that it had returned. He relinquished the Universal championship and took a break from WWE to deal with his health. Reigns returned in February 2019 to announce he was in remission and was again with WWE on a full-time basis.

That company has been running its television shows with only essential personnel and no audience at its Performance Center for more than two weeks.

Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer, told Variety that everyone entering the building is undergoing “extensive testing and screening when you first come in the facility” and no one is able to be “milling around” the backstage area and catering. WWE’s doctors are taking everyone’s temperature, and if you have a temperature “over 100.4 degrees, you are automatically asked to leave.”

“If you’ve been out of the country or been in touch or in contact with anybody who’s been out of the country you’re not allowed in the facility,” McMahon said. “We’re taking every precaution we can. It’s also why you don’t see talent or anyone else in the audience. We really are adhering to all the guidelines that we can to maintain the health and safety of our crew and our performers.”

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