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Roman Reigns out of Wrestleman...
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Roman Reigns out of Wrestlemania over coronavirus fears

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

17:45 27 Mar 2020

One of the WWE's star performers - Roman Reigns - has been forced to withdraw from Wrestlemania due to fears related to COVID-19.

The 34-year old was due to face off against veteran Bill Goldberg in a Universal Title match the weekend after next.

Wrestlemania this year, for the first time, will play out without a crowd present in the humble setting of the WWE's Performance Centre.

Reigns (real name, Joe Anoa'i) was originally diagnosed with leukaemia when he was 22. The disease returned when he was at the peak of his WWE powers in October of 2018.

By February of 2019, Reigns was able to return after announcing he was in remission.

WWE were forced to abandon plans to stage this year's Wrestlemania at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, but only after a tense stand-off between the company and city officials.

Their main Raw, Smackdown and NXT shows have all been taped at an empty performance centre in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic.

Indeed, to fill the gap left by the cancellation of their traditional NXT Takeover and Hall of Fame shows on Wrestlemania weekend, the WWE are splitting 'Mania across two nights (April 4 & 5).

Due to the volatile and rapidly-moving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, WWE have banked taped Raw and Smackdown shows for the coming weeks.

But possibly their most drastic step has been to pre-record the entirety of this year's Wrestlemania card.

This hasn't come without its issues, and WWE superstars are certainly not immune to the virus.

It was reported that Rey Mysterio Jr. withdrew from the card and a slated match with Andrade 'Cien' Almas as a result of showing COVID-19-like symptoms.

But the withdrawal of Reigns is a huge blow to the company.

His scheduled match with Goldberg was one of the main attractions for the weekend's festivities.

According to Ryan Satin at the Pro Wrestling Sheet, Reigns told the company he was uncomfortable with performing at the Performance Centre as his previous leukaemia battles had left him immunocompromised and he didn't want to take any risks with his health.

WWE have sourced a replacement opponent for Goldberg who will still defend his title.

According to the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, Reigns is not alone in pulling out.

Meltzer claims Reigns' withdrawal was as a result of fellow performer The Miz turning up to the tapings sick, which upset both Reigns and The Usos tag-team.

Among the other names reported to have pulled out of Wrestlemania at time of writing were the recently-returned Edge, Daniel Bryan, The Usos, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley and Dana Brooke.

Vince McMahon was believed to be overseeing production of Wrestlemania despite the fact - at the age of 74 - he would be deemed at high risk of contracting the virus.

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Read more about

Dana Brooke Daniel Bryan Dave Meltzer John Morison Kevin Owens Rey Mysterio Jr. Roman Reigns The Miz Vince McMahon WWE Wrestlemania

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