Oh, how quickly things can change. According to the latest issue of Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE on-air talent are forbidden from mentioning Roman Reigns on television. Reigns was initially set to face Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 but backed out at the last minute after The Miz became ill. Reigns, a Leukemia survivor, was reportedly concerned for his health in the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, Braun Strowman faced Goldberg instead, defeating him for the title. Meltzer says that this may have killed Goldberg's role as a Bruno Sammartino type figure who Paul Heyman planned to keep protected and continue to use for years to come. More interestingly, Strowman has avoided mentioning how he got his title shot, and no one else on TV has mentioned Reigns since before WrestleMania either.
Has WWE's Roman Reigns as Poochie Storyline Reached Its Natural Conclusion?
This marks a stark reversal from WWE's previous position on Roman Reigns, which had up to that point been akin to, "One, Roman needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever Roman's not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking 'Where's Roman?'" It's unknown whether Roman Reigns, WWE kayfabe, has decided to return to his home planet and whether or not he died on the way there.
WWE has spent years pushing Roman Reigns as the face of the company but botched that push so severely that Reigns was booed out of every arena and had to take a hiatus from WWE for Leukemia treatment and return before he the crowd was willing to cheer him. The execution of Reigns' push was bizarre in that he appears to be a naturally likable person with charisma and talent in the ring. The rejection of Reigns has mainly been a rejection of WWE's book strategy, which often seems to be explicitly planned to spit its own fans.
Undoubtedly, Roman Reigns will return to WWE when he feels the working environment is safe enough. Hopefully, WWE's refusal to mention him on television has more to do with avoiding the bad publicity of one of its top stars refusing to work the shows WWE insists are totally safe during the pandemic and not some form of punishment.