The WWE and its fans are still recovering after the shocking announcement by now-former Universal Champion Roman Reigns on Monday Night RAW two weeks back that he was battling leukemia and taking a leave of absence to get well.
While Roman’s words certainly had an affect on the WWE Universe and roster, one member of the roster was impacted more than the others, Reigns’ cousin Nia Jax. Roman and Nia, along with Tamina, The Rock and SmackDown Live’s The Usos are of course all part of the same family tree, the famed Samoan Wrestling Dynasty.
Nia spoke with SportBible.com yesterday prior to RAW in Manchester and discussed Reigns’ public revelation and how it affected the locker room:
“He’s such a quiet, humble person. Roman Reigns is this larger than life, Superman character but the true Joe, Joe Anoa’i is a very shy humble guy and he’s super giving and loving. So that’s why when the news came out everybody was hit hard. I feel like that day there was just a hole in the entire locker room. He gives advice to everybody and he’s always there for everybody. And he carried the company on his shoulders on his shoulders for the last few years. There’s nothing he would say no to and he works his butt off. We thank him so much for all the contributions he’s given. I think we’re all still getting used to it. I think everybody’s trying to find their footing now we’ve lost our Superman.”
The former RAW Women’s Champion would also let us in on a little secret, saying she gathered all of the female Superstars at WWE’s Evolution pay-per-view on October 28th send a tribute to ‘The Big Dog’ just before the event that she also did on the broadcast with Tamina:
“It was so important. Prior to that, I had all the girls, present, past and future, do that tribute to him privately. I sent him a text and it was a video of him, my cousin Tamina and my aunt (Ata Johnson, The Rock’s mother). Then we had all the girls do the ‘OOH AHH!’ [Reigns’ battle cry] and he really loved it. It was really important.”
Quotes c/o SportBible
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WWE News: Royal Rumble Kickoff Matches Revealed, Updated Card
A look at the updated lineup for Sunday’s Royal Rumble!
Now that WWE’s Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live are in the books, the WWE Universe’s attention turns to this weekend’s big events, more specifically Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Since WWE revealed a number of participants this for the Women’s Royal Rumble Match this past Sunday on Twitter, there haven’t been nearly as many updates to the card as we saw the previous couple of weeks. That’s not to say there weren’t any however, as it looks like WWE may be removing John Cena from the Men’s Royal Rumble (see the latest here), while Titus O’Neil declared his entry this past Monday on top of Alexa Bliss announcing her return for the women’s side, as well as Lacey Evans revealing she too will enter.
Tonight during SmackDown Live, WWE officially moved two matches over to the Kickoff which will now see Rusev defend the US Title against Shinsuke Nakamura, plus a Fatal 4-Way for the Cruiserweight Championship when Buddy Murphy faces Hideo Itami, Kalisto and Akira Tozawa.
Here’s a look at the updated card for Royal Rumble this Sunday, airing live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network at 7PM EST with the Kickoff beginning at 5PM and also available on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter:
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
R-Truth (#30), Drew McIntyre, Xavier Woods, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, Andrade, Samoa Joe, Baron Corbin,
Elias, Apollo Crews, Mustafa Ali, John Cena, Titus O’Neil
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Carmella (#30), Natalya, Bayley, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan,
Lacey Evans, Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, Mickie James, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Lana,
Charlotte Flair, Dana Brooke, Zelina Vega, Nia Jax, Tamina, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Naomi, Nikki Cross
(C) Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor
(C) Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
RAW Women’s Championship
(C) Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks
SmackDown Women’s Championship
(C) Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
SmackDown Tag Team Championship
(C) The Bar vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon
Kickoff – United States Championship
(C) Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Kickoff – Fatal 4-Way for the Cruiserweight Championship
(C) Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami
WWE News: Update On JoJo’s Recent Absence From WWE
Where has JoJo Offerman been lately?
Over the past couple of weeks, some members of the WWE Universe have taken notice that the usual Monday Night RAW ring announcer, JoJo Offerman, has been absent from the program and instead Mike Rome has stepped in to fill the duties.
There have been some rumors that perhaps JoJo had left the company or perhaps was in some hot water, however that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to PWInsider, JoJo has merely been off the road recently to deal with what’s being called a “personal situation”, but it’s not known when she will be back.
Of course we learned today that she will not be at Sunday’s Royal Rumble in Phoenix, Arizona, as WWE announced that Mike Rome and regular SmackDown Live ring announcer Greg Hamilton would be emceeing the event.
After first joining the company in 2013 and being a cast member on the inaugural season of E! Network’s Total Divas, JoJo’s in-ring career was short-lived and she quickly was moved into the ring announcer’s role. She would start in NXT before being moved to the main roster in 2015.