There was a lot of discussion last fall about how WWE used Joe Anoaʻi’s leukemia in Roman Reigns-related storylines. The focus was mostly on the decision to turn Dean Ambrose’s character the night of Reigns announcement, and a subsequent reference Ambrose made to Reigns’ deserving his situation.
One of many big revelations in Chris Jericho’s podcast with Jon Moxley (the name Ambrose is going by now that he left WWE) involves that issue. And according to Mox, there was another line Vince McMahon wanted him to say that was much, much worse.
Moxley doesn’t know who wrote it, and refuses to say what it was, so we’re left to our imaginations. But the story is still quite remarkable:
“This promo also had a line regarding my actual friend, who’s going through actual leukemia, that Vince wanted me to say. That he tried to talk me into saying. This is where I absolutely drew the line. I was like, ‘absolutely not’... he was like, ‘well, if you feel uncomfortable, that’s fine.’ That’s where I finally had to put my foot down [Jericho: ‘This is another cancer reference to Roman?’] Yeah.
And it is the worst line. You can not - I’m not gonna say it on air. I’ll tell you after we’re done, but I’m not even gonna say it on air, that’s how bad it was. It would have been like a thing where like somebody would have had to get fired. Maybe me. They would have like lost sponsors, Susan G. Komen and all that would have been like - and I don’t know who wrote it, I don’t know if it was Vince himself or if it was a writer and you’re listening right now, you should be ashamed of yourself. You wouldn’t believe it.
But if I’d a just said it? If I’d been like, ‘ok’ and just read the script? I can’t imagine... but it would have been on me. Not on Vince.”
More to come, and we recommend giving this entire edition of Talk Is Jericho a listen here.