What a difference a week can make in the career of a top WWE Superstar.
Heading into Money in the Bank, Roman Reigns was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and regarded by Vince McMahon as one of two important anchors for the forthcoming Brand Extension. Then, at the show on June 19, he lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Seth Rollins in a surprising clean pinfall. This would indicate that McMahon was wavering on his previous commitment to feature Reigns as the “face of the company.” Two days later, Reigns was suspended 30 days for his first violation of the Talent Wellness Program. He is the biggest WWE Superstar to be suspended for a violation of the program and at the most inopportune time.
WWE has not disclosed what led to the violation. Reigns has been pulled from his scheduled live event appearances, including a match against Rollins at Madison Square Garden on July 16.
Backed by other published reports, a source in WWE indicated to the Pro Wrestling Torch that organization officials were aware of the violation prior to Money in the Bank, prompting the decision to have Reigns drop the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Rollins, who then lost the title to Dean Ambrose. That means when WWE announced a Triple Threat Match for Battleground on July 24, organization officials were aware Reigns would be suspended and unable to appear on television in the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view event. When McMahon instituted the Wellness Program, he had a policy that wrestlers could still appear on television even when suspended, but without pay. He privately contended that fans shouldn’t be punished for a wrestler’s mistake. His policy did not last.
Reigns acknowledged his suspension on Twitter, saying that he made a mistake.
“I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it,” Reigns tweeted.