"Damn, Roman. Last year you was the MAN, Roman. The f--- happened to you?"
That Wellness Policy violation, that's what.
In what's become one of the most surprising moments in his short career, three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns was popped for a Wellness Policy violation, aka he failed some kind of drug test (it's good to note that this has to have been something bigger than a pot charge, as the WWE states that pot charges are usually just a $2,500 fine per positive test, although Reigns could've pulled an Evan Bourne and had been smoking that Spice). The WWE released the following official statement on the matter:
WWE has suspended Joe Anoa`i (Roman Reigns) for 30 days effective immediately for his first violation of the company’s talent wellness policy.
You know it's real when they use your government. Their statement was followed by a apology that was sent from Roman's Twitter account:
I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) June 21, 2016
While Roman's far from the first superstar to get popped with a Wellness Policy violation since the WWE started making these violations public in 2007, he's possibly the biggest superstar to get hit with a violation since Randy Orton caught a 60-day suspension in 2012. And, truthfully, this could have a huge effect on Reigns' future in the WWE.
Hopefully, the WWE treats Roman Reigns as well as they treated Randy Orton during his multiple violations (his 2012 violation is technically his second, although there is some question about if they let him slide for a previous violation so that he wouldn't hit their "three strikes and you're out" policy). While far from being as polarizing as John Cena, there was a time where Randy Orton was essentially their No. 2 superstar, and with that kind of support from the WWE you're practically guaranteed an easy re-entry when your suspension is up. Reigns, to the dismay of many fans, is seen to be John Cena's successor, and while the "YOU CAN'T WRESTLE" chants (or outright boos) won't stop for quite a while, as long as Vince McMahon wants to push Reigns as the future of their organization, they'll be OK with having him jump back into the hunt for the World Heavyweight Championship.
But that's assuming that they want to continue on their path. While Roman lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Seth Rollins (who immediately lost it to Dean Ambrose) at the WWE's Money In The Bank event this past Sunday, the WWE had announced at the following night's Raw show that Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose would be facing each other at their July 24 event Battleground in a Triple Threat match for the title. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer reported that they knew the test result "in advance of the (Money In The Bank) pay-per-view." It technically doesn't make a difference; his 30-day suspension would ideally start today (June 21), which would give him enough time to be back rather quickly for the Battleground main event.
(NOTE: The Wrestling Observer received a quote from the WWE, stating that "The suspension runs through July 20. He is eligible to return on July 21. Battleground is on July 24. We are considering all of our creative options." Word on their decision could come as early as at tonight's Smackdown taping in Tuscon.)
His return truly depends on how the WWE feels about him.
Interesting, too, is that Reigns—the WWE's current golden boy—would end up missing one of the most important nights in the WWE this year: The recently-scheduled draft on July 19, which would find the roster being split between Raw and the Smackdown show which is moving to Tuesdays and will be live (in what's being reported as a move the USA Network is pushing due to Smackdown's dismal ratings). It's going to look odd when Reigns, the superstar they've been grooming to run the ship for the last two years, isn't there to get properly drafted. His return truly depends on how the WWE feels about him. While the Creative team at WWE has no problem bucking the pleas of the audience, it's still a situation where a superstar who isn't as "over" with the fanbase as they want him to be violating their Wellness Policy. While being not only the face on their Wellness Policy page, but featured in the WWE's campaign against bullying and for being a great dad.
So which way does the WWE fall? On the one hand we have a man that many fans have very vocally hated for some time. A man who in the face of all of the vitriol has been given every push possible to the top position in the organization. This is also a man who just got hit with a Wellness violation in the middle of said rocky stretch. It might just end up being how Vince McMahon feels on a particular day, although his tweeted apology was included in the official announcement. That isn't normally how these things go, and could speak to how the WWE is handling Roman's future in the company.
For a while, Roman would come out on WWE television saying "I'm not a bad guy, I'm not a good guy. I'm THE guy." Hopefully THE guy keeps his nose/urine/blood clean so he can continue to ride the wave that the WWE has laid before him, or he'll be THE guy who's wallowing in line for the Intercontinental title, or worse: TNA.