Over the past few days WWE has put on two major events: the Money In The Bank pay-per-view and the June 20 edition of Raw, whose storytelling choices could have effects on the company for months or even years to come. However, both shows have been overshadowed by the personal lives of various members of the company’s roster.
First off came the suspension of longtime commentator and Hall of Fame wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler after a domestic incident with his fiancé led to both of their arrests late last week. He’s since been released, though the two have been ordered to stay away from each other until a July 1 court date. Then came the bizarre story of popular female performer Paige being handcuffed and taken to the hospital by police in Las Vegas early Monday morning. Specifics of the incident are still unknown, though Paige did compete on Raw Monday night.
While the Lawler and Paige stories were black eyes for the company, their potential long-term effects pale in comparison to today’s bombshell news that former WWE Champion Roman Reigns has been suspended due to a Wellness Policy violation. The company’s release on the matter doesn’t specify what substance Reigns was suspended for or if he intentionally ingested said substance. In a statement on Twitter, the former champion said, “I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.”
The timing of Reigns suspension puts booking of Reigns over the last three days in a new light. First he lost his championship clean to Seth Rollins Sunday night, who then subsequently lost the title to Dean Ambrose. On Raw, Reigns and Rollins had a number-one contendership match that ended in a double count-out and set up a triple threat match between the three former Shield members at the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view. While it’s unknown at this time if Reigns will still perform on the show, it should be noted that Battleground takes place after the suspension concludes.
The booking of the championship, combined with the fact that Reigns would be back in time for the highly anticipated triple threat match have led some to believe that WWE was aware of Reigns’ failure and adjusted the timeline of his suspension to fit their story goals, which would be in-line with some of the company’s previous actions. It should also be noted that the suspension means Reigns will not be present for the much-hyped WWE Draft on July 19. The Draft will separate the company’s talent between Raw and Smackdown as the latter show goes live and moves to Tuesdays. Reigns was heavily rumored to be the main star on Raw after the draft.
The last two days should have been banner ones for WWE programming, however, the personal issues of some of the company’s talent have gotten them headlines for all the wrong reasons.