Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa’i) addressed his absence from WWE television in an interview with TMZ and stated his reasoning is not his personal health but having twin boys in February:
I actually am fine, and my immune system is fine. The drugs that I take in order to fight the leukemia, they don’t attack your immune system. But not everybody knew because I try to keep it secret in this crazy world but my children, you know – We just had two newborn twins, twin boys, they are eight weeks old.
The timing of the newborns would coincide with Reigns missing the Elimination Chamber event on March 8th, which originally advertised a men’s Chamber match and was dropped with the announcement that Reigns would be Goldberg’s challenger at WrestleMania.
Reigns also missed the March 6th episode of SmackDown and March 7th live event in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He returned on the March 13th episode of SmackDown, which was their first empty arena show at the WWE Performance Center and his last appearance was March 20th for a contract signing with Goldberg.
Prior to WrestleMania, he removed himself from the taping. In his absence, Braun Strowman took his place at WrestleMania and defeated Goldberg for the Universal title.
Since his removal, there have been no references to Reigns on SmackDown with the most glaring coming this past Monday where Reigns was edited off a Money in the Bank countdown clip with Seth Rollins cashing in at WrestleMania 31. Reigns has not been completely ignored as FS1 did air a one-hour ‘Best of WWE’ special on Reigns this past Tuesday and was part of a highlight package of Triple H’s WrestleMania losses two weeks ago.
Reigns did not indicate when he would return to WWE programming but did state his desire to return:
I miss it, I want to be out there, I want to get back to work, I want to get back to normal. But, I just feel I have an obligation not only to my family and myself but to my community and also to set the example because at the end of the day, we can do a lot of different things and say a lot of different things but it’s through our actions that speak volumes and that’s what I’m trying to do.
In October 2018., the 34-year old revealed that he was fighting leukemia for the second time in his life and returned to television the following February.