In an appearance on the ACC Network, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns was asked about what qualities crossover from football, a sport Reigns once played, into wrestling. Reigns named two qualities, toughness and swag.
“I always start with you have to be tough to be on the field,” Reigns said. “To be on the gridiron you have to have a certain level of toughness, mentally and physically. And I think that definitely applies to being in the squared circle, to being in the WWE ring. Being on the road, as a performer, 52 weeks a year. We don’t have any weeks off, this isn’t like where we run seasons. This is a live show, 365 (days).
So you have to have a certain level of physical and mental toughness. Emotional toughness as well, being away from your family, being separated from your loved ones and being on your own. And then I also think there has to be a certain level of swag that I think American football players are not lacking at all. As a defensive lineman I had to kind of figure out how to display that a little differently, because you can be very physical. And sometimes you let your play really do the talking. But you always see within a wide receiver or a cornerback who is out on that island and they may not be getting as much attention or the ball thrown in their direction as much. So you see a lot of chitter chatter and a lot of smack talk. So I think that charisma, that level of athletic, competitive swag has to come out in the ring as well.”
Reigns was first diagnosed with leukemia back in 2007. After going into remission two years later, he would be diagnosed with it again in 2018, causing him to go on hiatus for several months to receive treatment. Reigns today tells his story to help give hope to others in similar situations, and calls the experience life changing.
“Nowadays I think we’re in a totally different place as far as blood cancers,” Reigns said. “And LOS has done a great job of being on the forefront of that awareness and the research involved and creating all these different medications to kind of put a cancel to blood cancer. That’s what we’re hoping for to continue to do that. And also take care of the young children. Create medicines that will not have a lasting effect on their future, that will keep them healthy now and also throughout the rest of their lives.
“To be able to team up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been, man, it’s been a godsend to be honest. And really shown and provided me a different purpose other than just putting smiles on faces. To really be able to reach out and show that support and connect with different people all over the world, through a very similar struggle that we’ve all gone through. And to be able to give them a little bit of hope with my story, it’s just been a very nice outcome. We don’t always have the success stories, but when we do I feel like we need to celebrate them. And for me to be able to do that with fans and strangers alike, it’s been life changing. It really has.”
You can watch the full interview below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ACC Network with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.