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2 Years And Counting: Roman Reigns' Greatest 'Undisputed Champion' Title Defenses
Today marks the 2-year anniversary of Roman Reigns' title reign. Can anyone defeat this behemoth?
Tonight on SmackDown, Roman Reigns will reach the unprecedented two-year mark as the WWE Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion. For the past two years, the Tribal Chief has run roughshod over WWE’s entire roster and dominated all challengers from Brock Lesnar to Edge.
On RAW, The Bloodline promised fans an epic celebration on SmackDown to commemorate Roman’s 730-day reign. Although Roman has one of the stiffest challenges of his career in Drew McIntyre this coming Saturday at Clash at the Castle, The Bloodline seems unbothered as they continue to terrorize RAW and SmackDown.
Many fans believe McIntyre has a better chance of winning this match than any of Roman’s past challengers, but that’s what we said about Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, and Kevin Owens too before Roman defeated them. So, let’s take a look back on The Tribal Chief’s title reign and examine the moments that made him the Head of the Table we know today.
That’s right. If you recall, Reigns had a brutal and violent feud with his own cousin and now teammate, Jey Uso, which eventually led to the creation of The Bloodline. At Clash of Champions 2020, Reigns battled Jey over more than just their family name, but also for the start of his own faction. At the time, the injured Jimmy Uso was unhappy with his brother for essentially being Roman’s sidekick for the past few months while he was injured. He knew Jey was better than just a sidekick: He was a main event player in the tag team division, after all!
So when Roman Reigns utterly destroyed Jey at Clash of Champions with a ground-and-pound-style flurry of offense, Jimmy literally threw in the towel and ended the match. This further divided the Usos as Jey claimed he could have won the match while Jimmy protested that he was just protecting his brother. This would lead to Jey being granted a rematch inside of Hell in a Cell with the added “I Quit” match stipulation. Roman would use Jimmy as a hostage and choke him unconscious until Jey was forced to quit to save his brother.
This feud kicked off Roman’s title reign as a dominant and savage champion that would protect his title at all costs, even hurting his own family to hang onto the gold. Fast forward two years and now you have The Bloodline, so it seems Roman’s master plan worked.
Kevin Owens proved one of Roman’s biggest challenges and many fans believe that if it weren't for the Usos' interference, Owens would’ve ended this historic title reign 18 months ago. At TLC 2020, Reigns defeated Owens in a TLC match for the WWE Championship by choking him out on top of a ladder, causing him to fall off and allowing Roman to easily grab the title. Owens requested a rematch inside a steel cage due to The Usos interfering in the ladder match as the no disqualification style of rules allowed for legal interference.
Owens was granted his rematch inside a steel cage on Christmas Eve 2020. He believed the steel cage stipulation would even up the odds and prevent The Usos from interfering in the match, but he was sorely mistaken. Jey Uso grabbed KO’s arm through the outside and managed to handcuff him to the cage. It was a tantalizing and heartbreaking victory as Owens not only had the upper hand before outside forces handcuffed him to the cage, but his feet were still only a few feet away from the ground. Roman slowly teased Owens before calmly stepping outside the cage for the victory. This is a great example of The Usos paying dividends for Reigns as The Bloodline started to strengthen on this day.
Edge and Daniel Bryan
At WrestleMania 37, Roman Reigns defeated two legends at the same time.
“Smash 'em. Stack 'em. Pin 'em,” Reigns touted after his victory, and that’s exactly what he did. Reigns dominated during the Triple Threat match against Edge and Daniel Bryan, two of WWE’s greatest modern stars. In the prior month, Reigns was arguably on the verge of defeating Bryan before Edge interfered with a steel chair, inserting himself into the title picture and forcing WrestleMania 37's main event into a Triple Threat match.
The day of, Reigns dragged Edge’s limp body over Daniel Bryan and convincingly pinned both men at the same time. This was the start of Roman taking his game to the next level with The Bloodline bragging in the upcoming weeks that he was then in “God mode.”
At SummerSlam 2021, John Cena set out to prove Roman Reigns was just a phase and the leader of the “Cenation” was still at the top of the WWE mountain. In the weeks leading up to their SummerSlam battle, Cena absolutely schooled Reigns on the microphone with some of WWE’s most heated disses ever. He clearly managed to worm his way under Reigns' skin and many fans believed he would put The Tribal Chief in his place. They were very wrong.
Reigns dominated Cena from bell to bell and won in convincing fashion with a Spear to not only retain his championship but receive the passing of the torch from Cena. This match established Reigns as the next big star in WWE and this victory was one of Roman’s biggest and most important ones ever.
The Rivalry between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns has spanned almost an entire decade at this point with both men trying to knock each other off the top of the WWE mountain. Reigns and Lesnar traded multiple victories in the past, but their main event match at WrestleMania 38 held the biggest stakes. With Roman Reigns walking into WrestleMania as the Universal Champion and Lesnar walking in as WWE Champion, both men agreed to put their titles on the line to unify the championships into one main Undisputed WWE Championship. There was only room on the top of the mountain for one of these behemoths and at WrestleMania 38, we found out that monster was Roman Reigns.
In a competitive matchup, Reigns defeated Lesnar to become the Undisputed Champion and cement his legacy as one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. With wins against The Undertaker, John Cena, Edge, and Brock Lesnar in the past two years, no Superstar has a better argument for being The Head of the Table than Reigns. His title defense at this year’s SummerSlam further proved that Reigns is here to stay.
Tune into Clash at the Castle this Saturday on the WWE Network on Peacock to see if Reigns really loses his title, or if he will prove once again that he’s on a different level than anybody else.