October 22 will be widely regarded as one of the saddest days in the history of the pro wrestling industry, as it was the day Roman Reigns announced he had been privately battling leukemia for years, and it had once again returned.
This horrific announcement shocked the WWE Universe. Fans might have booed Roman Reigns in the past, but they were deeply saddened by the announcement. We all wish Roman superman-punches leukemia, and returns to WWE, a place he considers home.
Roman Reigns was the most protected guy in the WWE, and his exit has given lots of other superstars the opportunity to flourish.
Here are 5 WWE superstars who have benefited from Roman's absence at the top.
Elias is one of the most talented wrestlers present today, he has the ability to hold the WWE Universe in his grasp via his mock-musical skill, and he has the looks Vince wants in his top guys, but for some reason Elias was never pushed.
Apart from his feud with Finn Balor, Elias has never had a full-fledged feud, or a program with one particular superstar. All Elias had to do till now was a musical program mocking host cities.
Due to Roman's departure, and Dean Ambrose's heel turn, WWE needed a top babyface in WWE. With Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn out with injury, Elias was the only performer WWE could have turned face on the RAW roster.
He turned face by attacking Constable Baron Corbin after an interrupted performance. This face turn has allowed him pick some impressive wins against Dolph Ziggler and Jinder Mahal.
If WWE books this right, Elias could become the next breakout star of the industry.
#4 Drew McIntyre
Drew always had the in-ring ability to become WWE's top star, but never had the right looks. After his release from the company in 2014, Drew McIntyre hit the gym and trained himself meticulously to become the monster he is today. Drew's present run in the company is nothing short of exceptional.
Roman Reigns went beast hunting, and finally defeated Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam this year, and a subsequent heel turn by Braun Strowman meant that Drew McIntyre could never be the dominant heel on RAW.
Roman's exit opened lots of doors, and Drew McIntyre knocked each down. Braun once again turned face, and Brock' sporadic appearances allowed Drew McIntyre to become the biggest bad guy in WWE.
In an act of dominance, Drew squashed a legendary Hall of Famer, Kurt Angle, this past week. It is clear WWE sees money in McIntyre, and the Universal title around his waist in the near future would be no surprise.
#3 Seth Rollins
Year 2018 has been the year of Seth Rollins. Rollins brought back his curb stomp, he defeated Roman Reigns and John Cena on the same night in a gauntlet match, won the RAW tag team championship one more time, and went on to win the Intercontinental Championship two times, and in the process became a grand slam champion.
One thing which has escaped Seth Rollins this year has been the top prize - the Universal Championship. Brock Lesnar's reign as the champion, and Roman Reigns going after the title restricted Seth Rollins to the upper mid-card.
Roman's exit was emotional for everyone including his best friend Seth Rollins. That night became even more emotional after Dean Ambrose assaulted him just after winning the RAW tag team championship. These incidents gave a lot of sympathy to the already over character of Rollins.
In the absence of Roman, this feud could be what Rollins desperately needs to become the biggest babyface in WWE.
#2 Dean Ambrose
WWE likes to attack the WWE Universe where it emotionally hurts. One such attack was the decision to turn Dean Ambrose heel on an emotional night. Seth Rollins and Dean went against Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler on a quest to win back the RAW tag team championship, as a tribute to Roman Reigns.
Moments after winning the title, Dean Ambrose snapped and attacked his Shield brother. Dean's character has been portrayed as a sadistic man who just wants Seth Rollins to get hurt.
WWE had been building up Ambrose's heel turn for a long time now, and the impact it created was parallel to none, and couldn't have happened in the presence of The Big Dog.
Dean's character had gotten stale in the past, and he was in dire need of a character change. Hope this brings lots of championships along with it.
#1 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar had one of the worst reigns in the history of WWE, but the sad thing is that the reign lasted for more than 500 days. This was done in an attempt to get Roman Reigns over with the fans, as Roman could be the one who slays the part-time champion.
WWE succeeded in their mission as the audience badly wanted a full-time champion that they would even support Roman Reigns in the process.
The WWE Universe got what they wanted as Roman finally beat The Beast to become the Universal Champion at SummerSlam, and it looked like Brock would never become champion again, as Roman was apparently scheduled to defeat both Brock and Braun at WWE Crown Jewel.
Roman's condition made the triple threat match a singles match between The Beast and The Monster Among Men, and Brock became a two time Universal Champion afterwards.
Brock can be reckoned as the guy who has benefited the most from Roman's absence. With Brock's contract not ending anytime soon, it looks like he will be holding the title for a long time once again.