Roman Reigns' announcement that his leukemia had returned sent shock waves through the pro wrestling industry -- including among longtime friends who didn't know that he'd battled it over a decade prior.
Fightful.com spent the duration of Tuesday afternoon reaching out to wrestlers within WWE, and others that have worked with Reigns throughout this career. The attitude backstage was said to have been incredibly somber, although Roman himself was optimistic, joking and laughing with some longtime friends and co-workers after initially getting greetings after his promo.
One WWE wrestler said that Reigns' top spot on the card extended far beyond his in-ring and on-screen portrayal. He was and is considered a locker room leader, often eliminating problem causers and resolving issues that went on that looked like they could disturb morale. He also on numerous occasions reached out to younger talent and gave them advice on conduct in the locker room and backstage.
Another talent on the Smackdown roster said that many still didn't know backstage what Reigns' announcement would be until he said it on the air. There was a rush of talent to the Gorilla position once the situation became clear. The mood didn't really recover after the opening segment, despite the aforementioned talent saying Raw hit a "home run" after.
Former Fightful Podcast personality, and longtime WWE wrestler Shane Helms told us that he had no knowledge of Reigns' diagnosis -- current or former. Helms famously teamed with Roman Reigns' brother Rosey for well over two years between 2003 and 2005, and wasn't aware that Reigns had battled leukemia.
Fightful will continue to reach out to others, both within WWE and outside, for their feelings on the matter.