Roman Reigns is out of action as he battles leukemia. But is WWE exploiting his illness to make money?
When it comes to wrestling storylines, WWE likes to push the envelope by incorporating a star’s personal life to draw more heat.
In 2006, they decided to use the real life triangle between Edge, Lita, and Matt Hardy as a storyline to get Edge and Lita over as heels. The couple’s betrayal of Matt both off and onscreen lead to a course of boos and Lita being called vulgar names.
Then in 2015 when Paige was feuding with Charlotte, she made a snide comment about Charlotte’s deceased brother Reid. The segment was met with criticism and Charlotte’s mother even chastised the company for using her son’s name.
Most recently, WWE decided to push the envelope once again by using Roman Reigns’ leukemia battle in Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose’s feud. On an episode of RAW, Ambrose delivered a promo about karma saying that Reigns would have to answer to the man upstairs.
Fans were outraged by the promo and said that WWE went too far with that comment.
Roman Reigns is WWE’s top star and when he announced he had leukemia; fellow wrestlers and fans across the world rallied behind him.
Yet, WWE seems to be exploiting his illness in order to fuel storylines.
We know that WWE would use Roman’s battle with leukemia in Dean and Seth’s feud, after all Dean turned heel the night of Roman’s announcement. The company plans to use Roman’s situation to further the storyline between the former Shield brothers, and if the rumors are true it could come into play if Rollins fights Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania.
So is WWE going too far by including Roman’s illness in their feuds?
With Dean and Seth’s rivalry, Roman’s bound to be mentioned, yet WWE did cross the line by implying that Roman’s getting what he deserves with his cancer. Not only was that uncomfortable for the audience to hear, but it was bound to be uncomfortable for Ambrose since he and Roman are close in real life.
As a fan, I wouldn’t want to see WWE use Roman’s cancer for storyline purposes. Even if Roman gave his consent, this is a personal matter and WWE should give Roman and his family the privacy they deserve.
This week there wasn’t any mention of Roman Reigns, so is it possible that WWE learned from last week’s backlash?
WWE is a company that shows they don’t care when it comes using a wrestler’s personal life for gain.
Roman Reigns is going to become the next wrestler to have his private life the focus of WWE storylines, even though he’s not on television. If WWE insists on continuing using Roman’s cancer for storyline purposes, one would hope it would be done tastefully.
Yet, given WWE’s history that’s not going to happen. Vince McMahon loves to create controversy and if he can use a wrestler’s illness to garner heat, he’s going to do it. However, if there’s any more promos like the one referring to Roman possibly dying, it’s going to cause more outrage and viewers may start to tune out due to WWE’s heartless antics.