A Backstage Perspective On The Day Roman Reigns Announced His Leukemia

The day Roman Reigns announced was battling Leukemia was a day many fans may never forget. The “this isn’t part of the show” feeling washed over many of us and we were glued to the television screens.

What we will never experience is what that was like backstage for the wrestlers and staff of WWE. Kazeem Famuyide was a writer during that time and told the story from his perspective on the Wrasslerap podcast with Emilio Sparks.

The day Roman annonces that he has Leukemia. Usually, going into the show you have a full script ready to go. Worst case scenerio, you at least have the beginning half of the script to start the show. The rest will go through as the show goes on. That is on crazy days. That usually doesn’t happen, but sometimes, crazy days, we are finishing the show as it’s going on.

We’re putting Raw together, and we were like “yo, Roman is not gonna be able to make it there”. We asked if he was hurt, and nobody knows, nobody knows anything. The script literally just says “Roman Reigns promo for ten minutes.” With nothing on it. We have no idea what’s going on. I have to write and produce Heyman’s promo about that. My part just says “Heyman reacts to Roman Reigns promo from beginning of show and leads to Lesnar.” So I’m sitting there with Heyman, trying to figure out what’s going to happen. Heyman comes up and says “Kaz, you know what’s going on?” and I was like “no”. So we go to Vince’s office, I sit outside, cause you don’t just roll up into Vince’s office.

There was Hunter in there, HBK, Vince and Heyman. They all walk in, I wait outside. Heyman comes out and says “brother you’re covered.” When I say “Reigning, defending” hit Strowman’s music.

I was in Gorilla when Roman was going out to tell the world what was happening. So I am sitting there with everybody in Gorilla.

The whole lockeroom was out there. At first they were watching on little tv’s in the back. As soon as he said “My name is Joe and I’ve been living with Leukemia for twelve years.” Everyone crowded the shit. Just shock. People are in tears, like, I remember seeing so many people in tears. Just, fucking Seth and Sasha and I got choked up. You go to wwe.com and you can see when Roman comes through Gorilla and I’m back there, shell shocked like “Did that just fucking happen?” It was one of the most surreal experiences that I’ve ever seen.

I knew around the end of December that Roman was going to come back. It was great news man and we were really fucking excited.

Kazeem Famuyide on the Wrasslerap Podcast
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