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Roman Reigns, WWE's Top Star, Takes Leave Of Absence After Leukemia Diagnosis

Roman Reigns, WWE's Top Star, Takes Leave Of Absence After Leukemia Diagnosis

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) fans received some sad news Monday night, when top performer Roman Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoa’i, announced on "Raw" that he will be leaving the company to undergo treatment for leukemia.

Reigns was adamant he will return to the company once his treatment is complete, but there’s no doubt his departure will have an impact on WWE’s business and its content in the near future.

Cancer ‘Curveball’

Reigns, who was the WWE Universal Champion prior to relinquishing the title, was scheduled to headline the upcoming Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia in less than two weeks. Reigns said he was originally diagnosed with leukemia back in 2008 at age 22.

“Sometimes life throws you a curveball and the best thing for me to do is to go home and focus on my health,” Anoa’i said to the WWE audience. “I will beat this and I will be back so you will see me very, very soon.”

Reigns is certainly one of the most popular and profitable performers at WWE at the moment. Earlier this year, Dave Meltzer, founder of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, said Reigns trailed only John Cena in current WWE merchandise sales.

Tough Month

WWE has dealt with its fair share of adversity in the month of October. Prior to Reigns’ departure, WWE faced media criticism for continuing with its Crown Jewel Saudi Arabia event following news of the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Meltzer recently said the status of the Crown Jewel event and WWE’s 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia is currently hanging in the balance.

“It’s in jeopardy from outside forces that are pretty much, you know I don’t know the exact dialogue but there is absolutely pressure on [CEO Vince McMahon] not to go now,” Meltzer said.

Earlier this month, Meltzer told Benzinga WWE’s Saudi deal could be worth $450 million, and the Saudi’s may not be open to cancelling or postponing the event.

Latest From WWE

As of Monday morning, WWE spokesperson Brad Klein said the company still plans on going ahead with the Crown Jewel event but WWE is “currently monitoring the situation.”

WWE stock traded lower by 1.5 percent Tuesday, but remains up 166 percent year-to-date. Shares traded around $82 at time of publication.

Related Links:

Heavy Is The Crown: WWE's Saudi Arabia Problem

Citi Raises WWE Price Target Based On Free Cash Flow Outlook

Photo credit: InFlamester20, from Wikimedia Commons


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Posted-In: Crown Jewel Dave Meltzer Jamal Khashoggi Roman Reigns Saudi ArabiaNews Sports General Best of Benzinga

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