WWE Universal Championship

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WWE Universal Championship
Details
PromotionWWE
BrandSmackDown
Date establishedJuly 25, 2016
Current champion(s)Cody Rhodes
Date wonApril 7, 2024
Other name(s)
  • WWE Universal Championship
    (2016–present)
  • Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
    (2022–present)[a]

The WWE Universal Championship is a professional wrestling world championship in WWE for the men of the SmackDown brand. It is one of three world championships in WWE, along with the WWE Championship (with which it is currently defended together as the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship) and the World Heavyweight Championship from the Raw brand. The current champion is Cody Rhodes, who is in his first reign. He beat Roman Reigns in a Bloodline rules match on April 7, 2024 at night two of WrestleMania XL. Reigns had held the title for more than one thousand days.

History[change | change source]

Creation[change | change source]

With the return of the WWE Brand Extension in the middle of 2016,[1][2] a draft took place in July 19. The WWE Champion Dean Ambrose was drafted to SmackDown. And as a result, Raw was left without a world title.[3] On the July 25, 2016 episode of Raw, Stephanie McMahon and the general manager Mick Foley created the WWE Universal Championship to be the world title of the program.[4] The first champion was determined at SummerSlam on August 21, 2016. Finn Bálor beat Seth Rollins to win the title.[5]

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship[change | change source]

Two-time and longest reining champion Roman Reigns with the SmackDown design of the belt (2019–2023). He held the title for 1,316 days during his second reign, which is the fourth-longest world title reign in WWE history and the longest of any WWE title since 1988.

At WrestleMania 38 Night 2 on April 3, 2022, SmackDown's Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in a Winner Takes All match to win both championships and become the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. WWE called the match a championship unification match; however, both titles's histories are still seperately active with Reigns being a double champion, defending both titles together across both brands as the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. On the April 24, 2023, episode of Raw, WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H announced that regardless of what brand Reigns was drafted to in the 2023 WWE Draft, he and his undisputed championship would become exclusive to that brand. Triple H then prsented a new World Heavyweight Championship for the other brand, which was won by Seth "Freakin" Rollins at Night of Champions. Reigns was drafted to SmackDown and the World Heavyweight Championship became exclusive to Raw. On the June 2, 2023, episode of SmackDown, Triple H gave Reigns with a new singular championship belt to represent the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Despite this, Reigns' manager Paul Heyman continued to carry the old WWE and Universal Championship belts until the end of July.

Title history[change | change source]

Reigns[change | change source]

Reign The reign number for the specific champion listed
Location The city in which the title was won
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the title was won
+ Indicates the current reign is changing daily
No. Wrestler Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes
1 Finn Bálor 1 August 21, 2016 <1 New York, NY SummerSlam Beat Seth Rollins in a pinfall and submission-only match[broken anchor] to become the first champion.
Vacated August 22, 2016 New York, NY Raw Vacated after Finn Bálor got a shoulder injury during the match at SummerSlam.
2 Kevin Owens 1 August 29, 2016 188 Houston, TX Raw This was a four-way[broken anchor] elimination match, also involving Big Cass, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
3 Goldberg 1 March 5, 2017 28 Milwaukee, WI Fastlane
4 Brock Lesnar 1 April 2, 2017 504 Orlando, FL WrestleMania 33
5 Roman Reigns 1 August 19, 2018 64 Brooklyn, NY SummerSlam
Vacated October 22, 2018 Providence, RI Raw Vacated after Roman Reigns got leukemia.
6 Brock Lesnar 2 November 2, 2018 156 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Crown Jewel Beat Braun Strowman to win the vacant title.
7 Seth Rollins 1 April 7, 2019 98 East Rutherford, NJ WrestleMania 35
8 Brock Lesnar 3 July 14, 2019 28 Pittsburgh, PA Extreme Rules Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Seth Rollins
9 Seth Rollins 2 August 11, 2019 80 Toronto, Canada SummerSlam
10 The Fiend (Bray Wyatt) 1 October 31, 2019 118 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Crown Jewel This was a Falls Count Anywhere match that could not be stopped for any reason.
The title became exclusive to the SmackDown brand because of Wyatt's status as a SmackDown wrestler.
11 Goldberg 2 February 27, 2020 37 Super Show-Down
12 Braun Strowman 1 April 3, 2020 141 Orlando, FL WrestleMania 36
13 The Fiend (Bray Wyatt) 2 August 23rd, 2020 6 SummerSlam
14 Roman Reigns 2 August 30, 2020 1,316 Payback This was a triple threat match, also involving Braun Strowman.

This is the fifth-longest world championship reign in WWE history, and the longest reign for any WWE championship since 1988.

15 Cody Rhodes 1 April 7, 2024 44 Philadelphia, PA WrestleMania XL Night 2 This was a Bloodline Rules match.

Combined reigns[change | change source]

Record three-time champion Brock Lesnar with the first design of the belt (2016-2019)

As of May 21, 2024.

Indicates the current champion
Indicates the current champion
¤ The exact length of at least one title reign is uncertain, so the shortest length is considered.
<1 Reign was less than a day
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
days
Combined days
rec. by WWE
1 Roman Reigns 2 1,380 1,379
2 Brock Lesnar 3 688 686
3 Kevin Owens 1 188 188
4 Seth Rollins 2 179 178
5 Braun Strowman 1 ¤150 141
6 "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt 2 126 124
7 Goldberg 2 ¤55 64
8 Cody Rhodes 1 44+ 43+
9 Finn Bálor 1 1 <1

Footnotes[change | change source]

  1. Together with the WWE Championship.

References[change | change source]

  1. Steinberg, Brian (May 25, 2016). "WWE's 'Smackdown' Will Move To Live Broadcast On USA (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  2. "WWE's destiny to be determined during SmackDown's Live premiere". WWE. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  3. "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  4. Tedesco, Mike (July 25, 2016). "WWE RAW Results – 7/25/16 (Live from Pittsburgh, fallout from Battleground, new era of RAW begins)". Wrestleview. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  5. Laboon, Jeff. "Finn Bálor def. Seth Rollins". WWE. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

Other websites[change | change source]