(& Their Best Match) 5 Best Universal Champions Ever
The short history of the Universal Championship already features some of the biggest names in WWE having title reigns. WWE introduced the title back in 2016 when the brand split created the need for two world titles. Instead of bringing back an old to be an equal to the WWE Championship, WWE decided to create a new one.
The Raw brand started off with the prize before it moved to SmackDown in the draft. Each man to hold the title had ups and downs with some standing out stronger than others. Find out not only who had the best runs with that belt but just what bout is most associated with the reign. The following wrestlers were the best Universal Champions and the matches in question were their best for the title.
10Best Champion: Bray Wyatt
The Universal Championship has slim pickings compared to other important talents in WWE when looking at the best reigns. Bray Wyatt didn’t have an incredible run with the belt, but he used it to establish The Fiend as a top act.
The win over Seth Rollins saw Wyatt taking the belt to SmackDown and introducing a blue version of the formerly red title. Bray could have had a stronger reign, but it ended quickly at the hands of Goldberg when WWE wanted a big moment in Saudi Arabia.
9Best Match: Vs Daniel Bryan (Royal Rumble 2020)
The best match from Bray Wyatt to have the Universal Championship on the line featured him facing Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble 2020 event. Bryan was tasked with having a great match with The Fiend in an act that was limiting.
WWE added the stipulation of a strap match to create more excitement and it worked. Bryan and Wyatt had a great match in one of the final PPVs in front of a live crowd before the shutdown. A red-hot crowd witnessed Bray retaining in compelling fashion.
8Best Champion: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins winning the Universal Championship was a huge moment in his career when defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35. WWE put all their eggs in the Rollins basket to make him the top face on the Raw brand.
Rollins ending Brock’s dominant reign gave him a chance to have noteworthy matches for the title. There were a few negatives, but Rollins did his best with poor booking at times. The overall body of work made him a better Universal Champion than most.
7Best Match: Vs AJ Styles (Money In The Bank 2019)
WWE booked a dream match in Seth Rollins’ first major program after winning the Universal Championship. AJ Styles challenged Rollins for the gold at Money in the Bank 2019 in a great match.
Rollins struggled in most of his other programs as champ against Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt due to poor booking. Styles at least provided one strong opponent who gave him a positive memorable title defense.
6Best Champion: Kevin Owens
The instant injury of Finn Balor forced him to relinquish the Universal Championship and opened the opportunity for Kevin Owens to have the first extended title reign with the belt. Owens held the title for about seven months before dropping it to Goldberg.
The friendship between Owens and Chris Jericho was used in the top programs on the Raw brand. Owens had feuds with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins during his title run. The matches and promos of KO belong on the better side of the Universal Championship history.
5Best Match: Vs Seth Rollins (Hell In A Cell 2016)
WWE booked the biggest match between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins to take place inside of the Hell in a Cell structure. Both men left it all in the cage for a spectacular match involving weapons like chairs and tables.
The final match of the night was Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks in the first women’s match to main event a PPV, but Owens and Rollins stole the show. Chris Jericho’s interference even made sense for the overall story and didn’t take away from the performances.
4Best Champion: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar took over the Universal Championship history when winning it for the first time in 2017. The dominating victory over Goldberg started a title reign that would last about sixteen months. WWE doubled down on Brock getting booked above everyone else.
Lesnar had a mixed bag of results with both strong and weak memories. The best feuds with Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Finn Balor provided memorable moments. Brock came off as a great champion when he was around with most criticism instead about his part-time schedule.
3Best Match: Vs Samoa Joe (Great Balls Of Fire)
Some of Brock Lesnar’s matches best matches as Universal Champion came in non-title champion vs champion matches against AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. However, there were some strong choices when he defended the belt.
Samoa Joe stood out and came off as an equal to Brock when the two feuded. WWE elevated Joe into the title picture when facing Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire. The match was a blast with Joe holding his own until Brock prevailed with an F5 at the end.
2Best Champion: Roman Reigns
The second Universal Championship of Roman Reigns is still going, but he’s already become the best overall title holder of that belt. Reigns had a solid first run before having to vacate it after the shocking announcement of his battle with leukemia.
The 2020 heel turn of Roman showed a new side of him fans wanted for years. Reigns has been an outstanding Universal Champion with statement wins over Kevin Owens, Jey Uso and Cesaro. The performances of Roman have easily been the best thing for WWE in recent memory.
1Best Match: Vs Edge Vs Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania 37)
Roman Reigns has the deepest library of great matches involving the Universal Championship. Every wrestler to feud with Roman was able to showcase their best work during this title reign while still making him look strong.
The WrestleMania 37 main event of Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan was an instant classic. All three top tier superstars delivered in the ring with Roman dominating at the end for a shocking victory. Reigns not only had a great match, but it reestablished the dominance as the Universal Champion moving forward.