Roman Reigns Tests Positive for COVID-19; WWE Day 1 Match vs. Brock Lesnar Off

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2022

Roman Reigns greets the fans ahead of his match during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Roman Reigns won't take part in his scheduled Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the WWE Day 1 pay-per-view Saturday night after he tested positive for COVID-19, according to WWE. 

Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp first reported he was in COVID-19 protocols. 

Sapp noted that with Reigns out, Lesnar will be added to the Fatal 4-Way WWE Championship match between Big E, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley, making it a Fatal 5-Way.

Reigns vs. Lesnar likely would have been the main event of the show in Atlanta, as they previously headlined Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia in October.

Following the report, Reigns confirmed that he tested positive to COVID-19 and is looking forward to returning to action soon:

Roman Reigns @WWERomanReigns

I yearn to perform tonight at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWEDay1?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWEDay1</a> to defend my Universal Championship. However, unfortunately, earlier today I tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the proper protocols I am unable to compete as originally scheduled. I look forward to returning to action as soon as possible.

Reigns was held off of WWE live events this week along with several other key Superstars. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later reported that WWE was playing it safe with some of its wrestlers to "minimize risk" in relation to COVID-19 and preserve their availability for Day 1.

Big E, Rollins and Lashley, all of whom are competing in the WWE Championship match at Day 1, were absent from Monday's Raw, as were Raw Women's Championship match participants Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan.

On Sunday, Rollins tweeted, "Merry Covid Christmas," implying that he may have produced a positive test.

Reigns has twice been diagnosed with leukemia in his life, and he announced in 2018 that it had returned after previously going into remission. He returned to action four months later after going into remission again.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reigns was scheduled to face Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36 in April 2020, but he pulled out of the event and took a four-month hiatus before returning in August 2020.

Reigns later told TMZ that he made the decision to step away since his wife had recently given birth to twins before adding: "A lot of people ... they think that it was based off of my heath and the history of my fight against leukemia. Talking to my doctors and stuff, I actually am fine and my immune system is good."

Since his August 2020 return, Reigns has enjoyed the most impressive and successful run of his career.

Nicknamed The Tribal Chief, Reigns is WWE's top heel and has held the Universal Championship for nearly 500 days, leaving him just shy of Lesnar's record reign of 504 days.

Reigns recently fired Paul Heyman as his special counsel after Heyman seemed to be showing favoritism toward his former client in Lesnar, and Saturday's match seemed to be setting up for a huge angle.

Instead, Lesnar will compete for a different world title in a match that now figures to headline Day 1, and WWE may now have to go back to Reigns vs. Lesnar at a later date, perhaps later this month at the Royal Rumble or in April at WrestleMania 38.