Shortly after the announcement, Reigns tweeted out, “I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses, I own it.”
The WWE Wellness Policy was put into place in February 2006, shortly after the death of Eddie Guerrero. While there’s a long list of prohibited substances, the policy boils down to the following as illegal: “The “non-medical use” and associated abuse of prescription medications and performance enhancing drugs, as well as the use, possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs, by WWE Talent are unacceptable and prohibited by this Policy, as is the use of masking agents or diuretics taken to conceal or obscure the use of prohibited drugs.”
A first-time violation, as is the case for Roman Reigns, results in an automatic 30-day suspension. The second violation is a 60-day suspension. If a wrestler violates the policy for a third time, their contract would be terminated, and they would be prohibited from being rehired for at least a year after their firing.
The announcement of the suspension comes in the middle of a whirlwind week for Roman Reigns. First, on Sunday, he lost his title after being beaten cleanly by Seth Rollins, which caught many fans by surprise. Then, the next night on Raw, he earned a spot in the main event of Battleground in a triple-threat match against his former Shield brethren, Rollins and new champion Dean Ambrose, who had cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase after Rollins beat Reigns.
It’s worth noting that Battleground is 33 days after the suspension takes effect, so if WWE wants, Roman Reigns can still compete, and the dream match is still intact. The only big event that Reigns would be missing is the WWE draft, on July 19th, which is something that Reigns does not need to be present for. Since the triple-threat is already such an established feud, it’s also a match that doesn’t completely need Reigns to be involved in the build. It will be awkward for sure if they decide not to acknowledge the suspension on-air in the next month, however, if there was ever a time for him to be suspended, this is a pretty good time for it.
This isn’t the first time a high-profile superstar was suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. Randy Orton was suspended in 2006 for failing a test. The failed test actually occurred in the middle of a build toward a major Summerslam match against Hulk Hogan, so Orton was allowed to compete on TV through Summerslam before being pulled from TV. Orton was later suspended again, for 60-days this time, in 2012. Earlier in 2006, Rob Van Dam was suspended for 30-days after being arrested for possession while he was the WWE champion. He stayed on TV long enough to drop both the WWE and ECW championships, and then he was suspended. Others who were suspended include Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler and Ryback.
We’ll now have to wait and see what WWE decides to do with Reigns. Online, they aren’t shying away from his suspension, as it is the top story on WWE.com, and his apology has been retweeted by the company. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that WWE decides to ignore a superstar’s absence onscreen if they didn’t bring it up on Raw or Smackdown. My guess is that he does compete at Battleground, but the real question then becomes what WWE does with him after the suspension is lifted. Will he still be viewed as the top guy after this? Only time will tell.