Roman Reigns may not have won the 2020 Royal Rumble, but he had a big night, working double duty in Houston. Reigns opened the show with a victory over King Corbin and was the final man eliminated in the Royal Rumble match, ultimately being tossed by Drew McIntyre.
Reigns missed last year's Royal Rumble event as he battled leukemia, which is fortunately in remission.
Speaking on WWE Backstage, Reigns discussed pulling double duty after missing last year's event.
"It was such a great story for me. Such a blessing to be here, to be healthy, feeling good. That's always such a blessing. Sometimes, you can take your eye off the ball and get distracted, but the little things can add up and make that big picture. To be apart of Royal Rumble, to be healthy, to be participating, to be part of the show, but be in that double-duty role and have that responsibility, not only to start the show but to close it and make that moment to put Drew to the next level and get him that win. I take a lot of pride in that," he said.
Not only was Sunday an emotional day for Reigns as he missed the 2019 Royal Rumble, but hours before the event was set to start, the world mourned the sudden and tragic passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
When asked about the vibe backstage following the news of Bryant's passing, Reigns replied, "It was heavy. I think we all went through it together. The world felt the magnitude of the loss. It was such a tragic incident. I was raised a Lakers fan. I watched Kobe through his entire career. I think anyone around my age, this generation, we all did. It was just so sad to see a fellow performer, an entertainer in his own right through sports, to have that happen. We all took it upon ourselves to use that moment to be grateful for what we have. To be appreciative for what we have. But we know we have a job to do. We know we have to move forward, tuck those feelings where we need, and put on a show and create that escapism and distraction and go on about our business. But it was so tough. For me, it was a lot of emotions just being able to come back and be in it, compared to last year. Then you add that on, it was such an emotional day. My heart goes out to all the families involved. Everyone dealing with this tragedy. We are praying for you, thinking about you. May God be with you."
In an interview with the LA Times, Reigns said the first thing he did after getting home from the Royal Rumble was hug his daughter.
You can find other wrestlers mourning the loss of Kobe and remembering the Black Mamba by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.