Roman Reigns Clears COVID-19 Protocols, Will Confront Brock Lesnar at WWE SmackDown

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 6, 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)

After missing last weekend's WWE Day 1 pay-per-view due to a positive COVID-19 test, Universal champion Roman Reigns has been cleared to return to action.

WWE announced the news Thursday and noted that Reigns will be present for Friday's SmackDown to confront new WWE champion Brock Lesnar:


BREAKING: <a href="https://twitter.com/WWERomanReigns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWERomanReigns</a> has been medically cleared and is set to return at tomorrow's Friday Night <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a>.<br><br>What will <a href="https://twitter.com/BrockLesnar?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrockLesnar</a> have in store for their explosive confrontation?<a href="https://t.co/XwdDFSEX0i">https://t.co/XwdDFSEX0i</a> <a href="https://t.co/1vbMQO6XZW">pic.twitter.com/1vbMQO6XZW</a>

Reigns and Lesnar were supposed to face each other at Day 1 in a Universal Championship match, but after Reigns was removed from the card, Lesnar was added to the WWE title match, beating Big E, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens in a Fatal 5-Way to become the new champ.

WWE announced just hours before Day 1 that Reigns would be unable to compete, leading to The Tribal Chief releasing the following statement:

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.

Ultimately, Reigns didn't miss much time, and his much-needed presence will be available to the blue brand on Friday night.

After Lesnar reunited with his advocate Paul Heyman on Raw, The Beast Incarnate divulged that he would be on Friday's SmackDown for a segment involving Reigns.

Lashley won a Fatal 4-Way involving Big E, Rollins and Owens on Raw, meaning Lashley will challenge Lesnar for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble later this month in a dream match.

There are still plenty of loose ends to tie up when it comes to Reigns and Lesnar, however, as their rivalry was never resolved.

Heyman is a big part of the equation, as he was seemingly showing some favoritism toward Lesnar even while serving as Reigns' special counsel. As a result, Reigns fired Heyman and hit him with a Superman Punch.

Despite the Heyman factor, Lesnar and Reigns are going in different directions for now, although Friday could serve as a way to leave some meat on the bone for their feud in the future.

Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania 38 in April may still be a possibility either in a champion vs. champion match or in the aftermath of one of the two Superstars losing their title in the coming weeks and months.

Regardless of what the plans are, Lesnar and Reigns are perhaps the two biggest stars WWE has to offer, and their confrontation on SmackDown promises to be must-see television.

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