“Do you think he knew about this last week?” Seth asks.
“No,” Dean replies shortly, shaking his head. “No.”
Dean Ambrose: Chronicle
When I shared this picture with a friend of mine—who dislikes wrestling in the extreme but has become invested in Roman despite it—the first thing she remarked that it was a good photo, very reflective... and then wondered if he knew then that the leukemia had come back. To be perfectly honest, it’s never looked the same to me since.
Unable to leave things alone, I dug into the URL, knowing the metadata is often found there. It appears that this photo was taken on 15 October 2018, exactly one week before Roman would make his announcement on Raw. Later that week it was reported that Roman informed Mr. McMahon of his diagnosis on 18 October (then going on to miss the weekend’s house shows), which in turn caused speculation that he’d learned himself on the 16th or 17th. There’s no reason to doubt Dean’s answer to Seth; his reactions to Roman’s announcement weren’t kayfabe. But what we don’t know is how Roman felt on the 15th, or if he was in fact waiting for news.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. By the time we learned of it, Roman had already decided how to tackle this: with faith and positivity, showing strength in the face of adversity. He says his family are warriors, and he’s borne out that truth every day since.
There’s a saying that Katrina survivors have a divide in their lives; “Before the Storm” and “After the Storm”. That feels very true here, too. And I for one cannot wait to see Roman’s “After” story.