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Roman Reigns' Best Career History SummerSlam Matches
The Tribal Chief's body of work at SummerSlam is nothing short of legendary.
You don't reach the heights of a career like Roman Reigns by resting on your laurels. Having one of the most captivating characters in sports entertainment history puts you on the map – but routinely stealing the show on the biggest events solidifies your status as a living legend.
With SummerSlam one week away, it's the perfect time to reflect on the illustrious career of the reigning Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. After our conversation with Paul Heyman earlier this week, USA Insider has come away with a newfound appreciation for the Tribal Chief. We've lamented in the past that WWE desperately needs someone to step up and dethrone the champion, but our chat with the Special Counsel made us believers in Reigns' unparalleled 1,000-day title reign.
Roman Reigns is doing something right. As he prepares for Tribal Combat against his cousin Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on August 5, we're putting five of his greatest SummerSlam matches under the microscope.
Ending Brock's 500-Day Reign – SummerSlam 2018
There's no more prominent opponent for a WWE Superstar than Brock Lesnar. Many in the WWE Universe regard the Beast as the gatekeeper of immortality; it doesn't matter how high you ascend in pro wrestling; you don't mean anything unless you can pin Brock Lesnar's shoulders to the mat. In 2018 that's precisely what happened. The WWE Universe was stunned as Roman Reigns became Universal Champion – although perhaps Brock Lesnar was stunned even more.
Many wrestling historians pinpoint this match as when Roman Reigns took a metaphorical leap in his career and began operating on a higher level. Ending the near-two-year reign of Brock Lesnar can do that for a WWE Superstar.
It's interesting to think about this match and wonder how it affected the mindset of Roman Reigns – we're sure he often looks back on SummerSlam 2018. In fact, in 2023, it's almost like Roman Reigns looked at the 500-day reign of Brock Lesnar and thought, "I can beat that."
The Future is Now – SummerSlam 2021
While John Cena's full-time in-ring WWE career is over, the world saw John Cena take a break from Hollywood in an attempt to reestablish himself as one of the greatest Superstars ever. To do that, Cena shocked the world in 2021 and laid down a challenge to Roman Reigns and his Universal Title.
In wrestling, usually, the hero comes back and vanquishes the monster – setting the stage for an improbable comeback run that ignites the imagination of a new generation of fans who didn't grow up watching the hero dominate. Unfortunately for John Cena, at SummerSlam 2021, Roman Reigns was that monster – and the monster won. For members of the WWE Universe looking forward to Cena capturing the Universal Title and once again being the face of professional wrestling, to say they were disappointed by the results of SummerSlam 2021 is an understatement.
Thanks to one unforgettable match, Roman Reigns reminded the world that John Cena's time was up – arguably for good.
The Wildest Match Ever – SummerSlam 2022
We specifically brought up SummerSlam 2022 during our conversation with Paul Heyman, noting how the Last Man Standing match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will forever live on as one of the most insane spectacles in wrestling history. We've written about this match ad nauseam for a reason: There's nothing else like it. This match hits all the boxes for fans of plunder, tables, and farm equipment. For fans of two of the biggest Superstars ever colliding like wild bulls in front of a sold-out arena for the most prestigious championship in the world, this match delivered in spades.
What's even more unbelievable than the match itself is the fact that one year later, Roman Reigns is still holding the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. It's a testament to the man's work ethic, overwhelming power, and undeterred focus.
Four-Way Mayhem – SummerSlam 2017
One of the most underrated SummerSlam matches ever was this gem from 2017. It was a dream match for many in the WWE Universe: A Fatal Four-Way match involving Brock Lesnar defending the Universal Championship against Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, and Roman Reigns. It is exceedingly rare for superheavyweights to collide in a four-way match in modern-day WWE, let alone battle for a world title at The Biggest Party of the Summer! The WWE Universe's anticipation reached a fever pitch ahead of the match.
And boy, did the match deliver! All four Superstars converged in the WWE equivalent of the classic Rampage arcade game. And although Roman Reigns was unsuccessful in his attempt to win the Universal Title, the fans nevertheless appreciated the ungodly effort the future Tribal Chief put into this oft-forgotten masterpiece of a match.
Taking Down the Legend Killer – SummerSlam 2014
2014 was nearly ten years ago – a lifetime in pro wrestling – but it marked the first time that Roman Reigns showed the WWE Universe what he was capable of. On that fateful night in Los Angeles, California, Randy Orton discovered firsthand what the upstart young rookie could do in singles competition. Although Reigns was a member of The Shield since his WWE debut, many fans earmarked him as the breakout star of the faction – perhaps putting unnecessary pressure on Reigns in the process.
If Roman Reigns was feeling pressure against Randy Orton, he sure didn't seem affected by it. His win against the Legend Killer cemented his status as a singles star, and it served as the first time Reigns sent a message to the WWE locker room – if he could dismantle Randy Orton, he could dismantle anyone.
It's a mantra that he follows to this day. And on August 5, during Tribal Combat against Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, he'll look to take another step closer to immortality.