After weeks of speculation, Braun Strowman was announced as Roman Reigns’ replacement at WrestleMania 36 on this week’s Friday Night SmackDown.
There was no pre-recorded segment or video, it was announced by Michael Cole in a match graphic.
Reports of Reigns pulling out of WrestleMania 36 came out late last Thursday night when Pro Wrestling Sheet stated that the former Universal Champion expressed to WWE that he wasn’t comfortable doing more Performance Center shows during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the source, Reigns doesn’t want to risk his health because he’s immunocompromised following his battles with leukemia. The WWE would honor the request.
It wouldn’t be until earlier this week that Roman took to Instagram to confirm and give his reason for pulling out.
“You already know what’s going on. It’s all over the news—the dirtsheets, whatever you want to call em—that I pulled out of WrestleMania. And it’s funny because for years now, years, people are like, ‘Don’t show up to WrestleMania! We don’t want you in it!’ Ya know what I mean?” Roman said. “There’s a nice handful of dudes and haters that didn’t want me there. But the moment I make a choice for me and my family, I’m a ‘coward.’ I’m a ‘sissy.’ A lot of different things that I am now. But you don’t know the whole story.”
Roman would later thank the fans for their support saying, “For all my fans, I’m sorry I didn’t get to compete this year and put on a show and entertain … but sometimes things are more important and I had to make a choice for me and my family.”
The March 27 episode of Friday Night SmackDown did not have the news of Roman’s replacement, but WWE instead would wait for the final blue brand episode before WrestleMania 36 to announce it.
Braun Strowman is now set to take on Goldberg who won the Universal Championship from “The Fiend” at February’s Super Showdown show in Saudi Arabia. Roman Reigns then challenged Goldberg on the next episode of SmackDown.
Strowman was Intercontinental Champion until the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in March when he was pinned by Sami Zayn with the help of Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura.
WrestleMania 36 was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. However, the spreading virus caused the promotion to move the event to multiple locations over two days. The biggest show on WWE’s calendar will now take place on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5.
Goldberg returned to the ring at the Super Showdown show in Saudi Arabia in February. He challenged “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and won the Universal Championship from him.
The following night, Roman Reigns came out to challenge Goldberg in what was being sold as a battle between the masters of The Spear. Both men appeared on the March 20 episode of Friday Night SmackDown to hold a contract signing and build up their match.
WrestleMania is scheduled for Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5.
What do you think of Roman’s replacement? Who do you think will win the match at WrestleMania? Let us know in the comments section.