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Roman Reigns was forced to relinquish the WWE Universal title in 2018, in order to battle leukemia

5 WWE Superstars who survived a major illness

WWE Superstars often have to step away from the squared circle. It could be to deal with injuries, filming a movie or simply scheduled time off. Or possibly even maternity leave.

But what about when a performer faces a different kind of challenge outside the ring? Many times, we've heard stories about brave warriors being beset by maladies beyond the squared circle. It shows the audience the true human element of the athletes in sports entertainment.


When the wrestler in question finally battles back, it's a victory in life. Here are five superstars who defeated terrible illnesses outside the ring.

#5 - The Big Show

The Big Show suffered from the same condition that made Andre the Giant so massive

As everyone knows, Paul Wight's massive size is a product of acromegaly, a pituitary disorder. He was diagnosed with the condition in his childhood. His body produced more growth hormones than was needed. So, by the time Big Show was 19 years old, he was already over seven feet tall.


While that kind of size is great for the squared circle, it can be deadly if gone untreated. Show had surgery to correct the condition in the early 1990s, and was able to play college basketball before joining the ranks of WCW.

Of course, he's one of the greatest big men of all time and a living legend... all because medical science was able to stop his incredible growth.

#4 - Alexa Bliss


It's hard to believe that Alexa Bliss was ever concerned about her appearance. But as a teenager, she suffered from serious bouts of anxiety and depression, which led to an eating disorder.

Bliss was 15 when her weight fell to dangerously low levels. Her body went into shock, causing her pulse to drop to 25 beats per minute.


Little Miss Bliss would emerge from it all and eventually pursue bodybuilding and fitness competitions. She joined WWE in 2013 and has excelled in her career. Along with winning both the SmackDown and RAW Women's Championships, she's one of the most recognizable stars on the main roster today.

#3 - Bret Hart

Many of The Hitman's health issues began when he suffered a famed concussion after he was accidentally kicked in the head by Goldberg. After the incident, Hart decided to wrestle further, which led to more concussions.

This kick from Goldberg was basically the end of The Hitman's career

Bret Hart's health scares didn't end there. His life after wrestling has involved battling a number of issues, including being hospitalized after a stroke.

In the fall of 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Hitman had a robotic prostatectomy operation in 2016 as a result of early discovery, and was able to recover.

The Excellence of Execution is still staying active today, writing and making public appearances.

#2 - Triple H

The Game experienced what was reported as a cardiac episode in late 2021. He had to undergo life-saving surgery. It would require him to get a defibrillator implanted in his chest, which would end any chance of him ever returning to the ring.

Triple H left his wrestling boots in the ring


Triple H announced his retirement at this year's WrestleMania in the traditional way: by leaving his boots in the ring. In doing so, he ended a spectacular run as an in-ring competitor.

After stepping away from his role to rest and deal with medical issues, The King of Kings returned to WWE in a much different capacity Since taking over control of the WWE product from Vince McMahon, The Game has been drawing rave reviews from fans.

#1 - WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns vacates his title as he leaves to undergo treatment

In one of the most talked-about stories in recent memory, WWE's biggest star walked out to the ring on RAW in 2018 and made a terrible announcement. The leukemia that he was originally diagnosed with when he was 22 years old had returned.

The crowd sat in stunned silence as Reigns addressed them under his real name, Joe. He then exited the ring, vacating the WWE Universal Championship and leaving it laying on the mat.

It was a surreal moment, and a total shock to many in the crowd and the viewing audience. So much so that many in the WWE Universe thought it might have all been staged, just to get the fans on The Big Dog's side.

It wasn't, however, and Roman returned to action four months later after receiving medical clearance. As everyone knows, he's rebounded nicely, becoming pro wrestling's biggest star and the WWE Universal Champion for nearly 800 days now.


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Edited by
Jacob Terrell
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