Top 5 WWE Universal Championship matches
In July 2016, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley introduced the WWE Universal Championship in honor of the WWE Universe. The inaugural champion was Finn Balor, who defeated Seth Rollins at SummerSlam that year.
When McMahon and Foley unveiled the title, the live crowd was displeased with the design, and some even took their frustrations to social media. However, as time passed, the fans grew to acknowledge it because of the value WWE Superstars have attached to the championship.
The primary reason for the WWE Universal Championship’s prestige is the slew of incredible title matches fans have witnessed over the years. It’s only been around for five years, but most matches have been par excellence.
Here’s a short list of honorable mentions before we move on to the top five Universal Championship matches:
- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing Match (WWE Royal Rumble 2021)
- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE SummerSlam 2019)
- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso (WWE Clash of Champions 2020)
- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Fastlane 2021)
Note: This list strictly represents the views of the author.
#5 Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso in an “I Quit” Hell in a Cell match ( WWE Hell in a Cell 2020)
After his shocking heel turn and Universal Championship victory, Roman Reigns moved onto a profoundly personal rivalry with Jey Uso, which culminated inside Hell in a Cell.
The “I Quit” Hell in a Cell match between the two cousins was a strong ‘Match of the Year’ candidate. It had the perfect blend of emotion, physicality, drama, and tenacity.
Jey Uso was the under-dog heading into the fierce battle, and he played his role to perfection. Meanwhile, Reigns was the ruthless monster, who had turned his back on everyone, who wanted respect and acknowledgement. These dynamics played into the brutal affair excellently.
As most fans had anticipated, Reigns dominated his cousin throughout the match with a flurry of forearms, strikes, clotheslines, Superman punches, and Spears. Uso was in no mood to quit and he took the fight to his larger foe by whipping him with a leather strap. However, the Tribal Chief retaliated with a Spear and attacked the challenger with the strap.
Towards the end, Reigns placed the steel steps over his rival and demanded that Uso quit. Jimmy Uso came out to restore order and plead Reigns for mercy. Just as the champion broke down into tears, he locked the Guillotine Choke on Jimmy, forcing his brother to utter “I quit.”
After the hellacious battle, the Wild Samoans enshrined Reigns with a garland and raised his hands as the Usos looked on in dismay and disappointment.
The match accomplished its intended goals. It established Reigns as the monster he had become and forced Jey Uso to fall in line.
#4 Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns in a No Disqualification Match (WWE Royal Rumble 2017)
Back in early 2017, the Universal Championship was new and less prestigious than its counterpart – the WWE Championship. However, Kevin Owens’ match with Roman Reigns helped enhance the title’s status and position.
With Owens’ best friend, Chris Jericho, locked in a shark cage suspended above the ring, the Big Dog had a fair shot at the Universal Championship. It was an all-out war between the two fierce rivals.
The champion executed a Frog Splash onto his opponent through the table. Jericho handed him the brass knuckles, which Owens used to hit a Superman punch. However, Reigns kept kicking out and fighting back.
Luckily for the Prizefighter, Braun Strowman emerged and brutally assaulted Reigns. Strowman drove the challenger through a table with a Running Powerslam, and Owens pinned Reigns.
The two WWE Superstars collided again in a Last Man Standing Match four years later at the same event. However, their brutal affair in the Alamodome was undoubtedly the best.
The live crowd was red-hot and invested in their contest as it could have gone either way. Y2J was entertaining and amazing as always, adding some intrigue to the match. The Monster Among Men’s shocking involvement was the icing on the cake to a wonderful clash.