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WWE using Roman Reigns’ leukemia in promos is gross and, more importantly, it doesn’t work

During this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Dean Ambrose was cutting a promo on Seth Rollins backstage and said this:

”Over the past six years, The Shield did more harm than good. Sure, they loved The Shield all over the world but nobody knows how we were when the cameras stopped rolling. We were rotten to the core from the very beginning, and now time has caught up to us and we’re all going to pay for it in different ways. The old saying goes ‘what goes around comes back around on ya.’ It’s come back around on us in a big way and now we’re all going to get what we deserve. I mean look at Roman. For Roman’s part, for what Roman did in The Shield, he has to answer to the man upstairs. What’s worse, you have to answer to me.”

That’s pretty gross.

I quite like the idea for the story, that The Shield were a pack of dogs who did some wild shit and now it’s time they pay the price for that. It’s just the kind of longer term storytelling this company isn’t known for, and needs much more of. But they completely take me out of it by having Ambrose bring up Roman Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis like that and using it as fodder for said story.

Again, I like the idea behind it. If this were a movie that established an emotional connection to the characters and one of said characters was diagnosed with leukemia and another character used that line, it works really well. We can enjoy it for what it is because there is the disconnect that comes with knowing we aren’t dealing in reality.

That’s not the case here. Roman Reigns is a character on TV, yes, but he’s also an actual human being who is legitimately battling leukemia. The real person could die from it, and WWE is writing one of its fake fighters to use that in a promo to say he’s going to do something worse to one of its other fake fighters in the fake fighting they’re promoting.

Pro wrestling has a fine line to walk in terms of how wrestlers create interest in matches, and I’m in favor of pushing the envelope in that regard. They should be trying to take it as far as they can. But the risk of that is saying something just gross enough that it takes you out of it completely.

That’s what happened here.

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