Every 'Tribal Chief' Roman Reigns Title Match, Ranked

Roman Reigns has had an unquestionably incredible reign as WWE Champion and, more recently, WWE Undisputed Champion. As of the time of this writing, Roman has held at least one of the two most important belts in World Wrestling Entertainment for over two years and shows no signs of slowing down. The fact that Roman has been putting out some of the best character work of his career isn't hurting the product either.

It can be fun to point out that credible challengers for the Undisputed WWE Championship no longer exist, or to fantasy book the end of Roman's reign every time Goldberg or Brock Lesnar make another surprise return to the WWE. That said, Reigns' recent title defenses can be described (with apologies to Sheamus) as "banger after banger after banger." He's consistently getting fantastic work out of his challengers and making it more and more difficult for his detractors to make an argument for him to drop the title. Still, they haven't all been five-star matches, as we'll see as we go through our ranked list of title defenses in this current run by our "Tribal Chief," the "Head of the Table," Roman Reigns.

24. Elimination Chamber 2022: Reigns defeats Goldberg

The bottom of the barrel is this dumpster fire of a match, the longest six minutes of Roman's title reign, against former WCW monster Goldberg in Saudi Arabia. It's everything we feared when we got a better version of these recent Goldberg squashes — lots of headlocks and tie-ups, very little offense, clunky in ring action, and an overall sense of a man seeking a paycheck. Roman finished things off by catching Goldberg in his guillotine choke, ending the match and, seemingly, Goldberg's WWE career.

What is easily forgotten is the fact that this matchup was originally supposed to be a much bigger deal. It was actually scheduled to be one of the main events of WrestleMania 36 before Roman Reigns decided to pass on that show because of the pandemic and his personal medical history. After Roman returned, Goldberg laid out a challenge and a short term rivalry ensued, fueled by the seeming edict that Saudi shows had to have at least one WWE Legend competing on the card.

Whether or not the two years between that scheduled defense of Reigns' Universal Championship and this match had any bearing on the quality of the contest is arguable; the opinion that this is the worst of Roman's many title defenses is far less so.

23. SmackDown 10/16/2020: Reigns defeats Braun Strowman

A championship rematch of sorts, this match suffered from being against a powerhouse in Braun Strowman who simply wasn't the kind of wrestler who needed to be put into a 10-minute singles match. While Strowman got some offense in, Roman's championship run was just getting started and the finish never really seemed in doubt, especially since Roman had recently acquired the services of Paul Heyman. Roman won his second WWE Universal Championship defense via submission, locking the Monster Among Men into a guillotine choke that forced Braun to tap out.

This is the first match on our list that took place during the ThunderDome era of WWE television, and those matches present a challenge when ranking. AEW, WWE, and NXT, among other wrestling promotions, did their best to provide live entertainment while still keeping performers' safety in mind. WWE's solution was to rent the then-unused Amway Center (and later Tropicana Field and the Yuengling Center) and set it up with video boards displaying fans watching at home. It was a unique solution to a never before experienced problem, and while it had its growing pains, the ThunderDome ended up becoming a better experience than it had any right to be in a time when distractions were desperately needed.

22. SmackDown 12/3/2021: Reigns defeats Sami Zayn

Poor, poor Sami Zayn. Number one contenderships are few and far between, and, when there's a whole conspiracy against you, it's easy to be pressured into something you're not ready to do. Brock Lesnar, fresh off a suspension, took it upon himself to press Sami into taking on Roman Reigns on a random early December episode of "SmackDown," mostly so Brock could get his hands on Roman at the upcoming Day One premium live event. While that didn't end up working out the way Brock intended, the setup for the Zayn/Reigns championship "match" was funny, and it led to Brock turning on Sami just as quickly as he had earned Zayn's trust. Brock came out before the match to lend his support, but Sami chose to instead point out that Lesnar had come up short against Roman recently. That ended about as well as you'd think, with Brock absolutely decimating Zayn and propping him up in a corner for Roman. Ding, spear, guillotine, submission.

While the match was just barely able to be qualified as such, that was hardly the point. Sami was, and continues to be, gold on the microphone and he was never intended to be a serious threat to Roman. He was something to run through, another notch in Roman's belt — and if anything, the addition of Brock Lesnar to Sami's short-lived number one contender's spot made the inevitable squash an entertaining one. Also, look how far Sami has come since this match! An honorary Uso, Roman's chosen one, a valued member of The Bloodline, and the glue that holds together the most powerful faction in all of professional wrestling.

21. Crown Jewel 2021: Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar

We've seen Brock Lesnar, loveable farmhand, face off against Roman Reigns a number of times, and nearly all of those matches end with a Roman victory after some sort of interference or shenanigans. At the 2021 edition of Crown Jewel, Brock found himself the last man standing in the ring after an F-5 knocked out both Roman and referee Charles Robinson. After Roman recovered and hit Brock with a desperation spear, Paul Heyman tossed the championship belt in the ring between the two downed superstars. Brock grabbed it first, but as he stood up the Usos dove into the ring and hit Lesnar with a double superkick. That led to a Reigns belt shot to Brock's face as the replacement referee hit the ring (and took none of this interference into account) and Roman won by three count.

One of several of Roman's title defenses that required interference for him to pick up the win, this one was particularly interesting because of Paul Heyman's questionable loyalties leading into this match. Even as he tossed the title belt into the ring, it wasn't obvious whether it was meant for Reigns or Lesnar. While Lesnar was the man to collect it, in the end it was Reigns who was able to put the belt to use and continue his dominant championship run.

20. Elimination Chamber 2021: Reigns defeats Daniel Bryan

This is a tough match to rank so low, because the lead-in was an excellent Elimination Chamber match. Daniel Bryan managed to overcome five other superstars in the ThunderDome edition of the Elimination Chamber premium live event. Cesaro, King Corbin, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens would make a hell of a lineup to fight through on any night, and to survive all of those men meant Bryan was absolutely exhausted after he eliminated Jey by pinfall after a running knee strike.

But we're here to rank Roman's title defenses, and Reigns wasn't about to give Bryan the rest of the night to recover. Immediately after the Elimination Chamber was raised, Roman's music hit and he headed to the ring. To his credit, Bryan pulled himself off the mat and immediately reversed a spear into the Yes Lock. Sadly, Roman was able to power out, hit Bryan with a series of mounted punches, and quickly pick up the win after Roman applied a guillotine choke on an unconscious Daniel Bryan. Fortunately for Bryan, he would get a few more shots at Roman's title, as we'll see later on this list. Additionally, to take the bad taste out of fans mouths, Edge appeared and hit Roman with a spear after Roman's victory celebration, reminding fans that Edge had a Royal Rumble victory under his belt, guaranteeing him a championship match at WrestleMania.

19. WrestleMania 38: Reigns defeats Lesnar

Another of Roman's defenses against the mayor of Suplex City, the WrestleMania 38 match seemed to split fans between those who anticipated the match, and those who had zero desire to watch these two big meaty men slap meat once again. While Lesnar dominated early with a series of suplexes, Roman followed up with a couple spears (one through the announce table) and a pair of Superman punches. The rest of the match was exactly what we have come to expect, but the end of the match was sudden and surprising as Roman hit a clean spear for a three count.

There are a few reasons this match ends up on the lower end of our rankings. First, given Brock's part-time status, the likelihood of the Beast holding both major WWE championships seemed slim at best. Second, the match was fun, but it wasn't "good," per se. At the end of the day, each man used about three moves over and over again. And, of course, the finish required Roman to use both a low blow, a belt shot to Brock's face, and Paul Heyman breaking a submission by placing Roman's hand on the ropes — although, admittedly, the actual pinfall was the result of a spear and a clean three count. It was fun, it was expected, and it really shows how far the quality of Roman's title defenses has come, as this match is really quite good despite being low in our ranking.

18. SmackDown 9/3/2021: Reigns defeats Finn Balor

The first Universal Champion deserved better than this. A beatdown from the Usos prior to the match led to Roman having the upper hand for the better part of this "SmackDown" title defense. Finn got very little offense early on, and Roman looked dominant throughout; however, late in the match, Balor managed to make a comeback. Finn had Roman pinned after a Coup de Gras, but Roman hit a low blow from under Finn's cover. Reigns quickly locked a guillotine choke onto Balor, resulting in a referee stoppage as Balor passed out.

The number of clean wins Roman has on this list is tiny, and the frequency at which he relied on the Usos or other forms of cheating did become frustrating, in part because his character wasn't terribly interesting at the time. It wasn't a fun product, and it was fairly obvious that the challengers Reigns was presented with were just there to provide Roman with another easy title defense.

17. Royal Rumble 2022: Seth Rollins defeats Reigns by DQ

While still in the lower tier of Reigns' title matches, the build for Roman's only title defense against a fellow former SHIELD member was interesting for the way Seth Rollins was able to use the group's history to get into Roman's head. Rollins turned the dial to 11 after Roman made his entrance — first, oddly, as the "Head of the Table" typically enters last. The Shield stinger hit and the crowd went wild for the entrance from one of the greatest stables in recent pro wrestling history. Seth entered the arena from the crowd, decked out in his old SWAT team style ring gear.

Unfortunately for Rollins, head games will only get you so far against the "Tribal Chief." The match was actually pretty even, as both men got a lot of offense in and there were several close near falls. The Usos were barred from ringside, allowing fans to talk themselves into believing Seth really had a chance here. Rollins insisted on pushing Roman's buttons, constantly referencing their former partnership and offering up fist bumps to remind the champion that it was Rollins who ended their team. That led to Roman snapping, locking a guillotine choke onto Seth, and refusing to release it even after Rollins was able to grab the ropes. The referee was forced to award Seth the DQ victory, but the championship did not change hands.

16. SmackDown 6/18/2021: Reigns defeats Rey Mysterio

Roman's rivalry with Rey Mysterio began because Roman's cousins couldn't get the job done. The Usos were tasked by Reigns to win the "SmackDown" Tag Team Championships, but they were unable to take the belts off the Mysterios due, in part, to a bad referee decision. That led to Jimmy and Jey pleading their case to then-co-GMs Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville, and a rematch was set for later that same night. During that match, Reigns interfered to cost the Usos their title shot and went on to absolutely wreck both Rey and Dominik Mysterio, urging his cousins to help in the slaughter. When they didn't immediately respond, Roman became more furious, and took that anger out on young Dom.

Rey challenged Roman inside Hell in a Cell, although the match didn't take place at the 2021 edition of the Hell in a Cell premium live event. It was instead booked as the main event of the go-home "SmackDown" two days earlier. Rey challenged Roman to start the episode, saying he wouldn't wait another night to get his hands on the man who attacked his son. Roman obliged, and Rey hit a lot of weapon-based offense against the champ, including several chair shots and a fire extinguisher blast. At the end of the night, though, Roman wasn't going to be dropping his title on free TV (even if this was the first-ever Hell in a Cell match on "SmackDown"), and he finished Rey off with a guillotine choke, forcing a submission to end this entertaining match.

15. Hell in a Cell 2020: Roman Reigns defeats Jey Uso

It seems like there is always some tension within the Bloodline, whether it's between Jimmy and Jey Uso, or whether it's provided by Paul Heyman questioning his loyalties to Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Jey had recently returned to the active WWE roster, and lost a challenge for Roman's championship at Clash of Champions. He was doing his best to stay separate from Roman, while simultaneously trying to bring his brother back into the light, so to speak. Reigns demanded fealty from his cousin, and the challenge was made for the first ever Hell in a Cell "I Quit" match, where Roman would demand Jey profess his loyalty to the Head of the Table.

The match itself was unique not only for the stipulation, but also because it took place in the ThunderDome era. Every strike loudly echoed throughout the arena despite crowd noise being pumped in, especially when Jey found a leather strap beneath the ring and used it to beat on his cousin's back before Reigns did the same to him. Roman eventually got the upper hand, as always, and when he raised the steel ring steps over his head to finish Jey off, Jimmy Uso slid into the ring (the cage door had been opened after Roman threw the referee after the ref threatened to end the match early) to cover his brother. That led to a heartfelt moment between Jimmy and Roman, but one that quickly turned to horror as Roman locked Jimmy in a guillotine choke, forcing Jey to quit the match to save his brother and force both Usos into "indentured servitude" under Reigns.

14. SmackDown 12/25/2020: Reigns defeated Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens had a lengthy rivalry with Roman Reigns, one that led to three title defenses for our "Tribal Chief" against the Canadian superstar. Owens was pulled into Jey and Roman's family drama after Team "SmackDown" lost at Survivor Series 2020, which Roman blamed on a lack of respect for Jey and, therefore, for the Anoa'i family.

This steel cage match, the second confrontation between Roman and K.O., fell a little short simply because the other two matches the two had felt like more was at stake. Even though the title was on the line for all three matches, this pre-taped "SmackDown" match that aired on Christmas Day simply didn't give any indication that the title would change hands. The ending also didn't help this one in our rankings, as interference wins never feel earned. 

That said, any match featuring Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns is bound to be very good at minimum. It also featured a sequence midway through where both men traded finishers with some pretty close kickouts, but Jey Uso kept the title on the "Head of the Table" by handcuffing an exhausted Owens to the fencing of the steel cage, just out of reach of the cage door. That allowed Roman Reigns to simply walk out of the structure, raise the title high above his head, and mockingly claim victory over a furious and devastated Kevin Owens.

13. Extreme Rules 2021: Reigns defeats Demon Finn Balor

After his loss to Roman in their first meeting due to a pre-match beating by the Usos, Finn resorted to his inner Demon more quickly than he normally would for this brutal match with a questionable ending. There was very little build between Finn's last loss and his summoning of the Demon, but since the Demon King hadn't been seen in some time, hopes were high that Finn could overcome Reigns and finally take the title off Roman's waist. This was an Extreme Rules match, and Finn used that to his advantage for the majority of the match. He started by matching Roman's kendo stick with a themed 4-pack of sticks, and things escalated to multiple table attacks and a brutal trip through the crowd.

Even after an attack by both Usos derailed his momentum and led to Roman starting to gain control, an effect that used the Demon's "heartbeat" entrance to revitalize him after a beating by the Bloodline revived the Demon. Balor took to the top rope to hit a Coup de Gras, only for the turnbuckle to inexplicably implode when Finn went up for a second attack, leading to a quick spear and pinfall victory for Roman.

This was the last time we would see the Demon on any WWE or NXT programming. The Demon version of Finn Balor was a terror before this match, with only one loss in NXT and none after he moved up to the main roster. Roman so thoroughly destroyed Balor's alter ego that the Demon has been essentially retired, courtesy of our tribal chief.

12. Clash of Champions 2020: Reigns defeats Jey Uso

When Roman won the WWE Universal Championship at Payback 2020, it was a new version of the man. A character commonly criticized for being stale seemed fresh and revitalized with Paul Heyman by his side. The thing that Roman would need to keep that new coat of paint shiny was opponents who made him look cruel, mean, and able to hold on to that belt for, well, an excessive amount of time. One of the best moves WWE did to help establish that was to make Roman petty, and make him demand respect and acknowledgement from everyone, especially his bloodline.

Roman Reigns' first title defense was against his cousin, Jey Uso. It was a brutal match that was constructed to make Roman look like a beast. It also established early in Roman's heel run that he wouldn't be winning clean all that often; a low blow during a pin attempt by Jey allowed Roman to mercilessly beat his cousin, forcing Jimmy Uso to throw in the towel in order to save his brother. The official result was a "technical knockout," and with the win Roman was shown to be merciless, not only to opponents but even to family. In a well-done story beat, that same act of brotherly compassion was flipped on its head during Roman's second title defense, the Hell in a Cell match we discussed earlier.

11. Royal Rumble 2021: Roman Reigns defeats Kevin Owens

The setup for this match was a clever use of Roman's aggression and ego against him. After he'd run roughshod over "SmackDown" for weeks and used Jey Uso to help him win his first two meetings with Owens, Reigns decided he needed to punish GM Adam Pearce for his lack of respect. Owens, then out of the picture after Roman tossed him off a ledge on the New Year's Day edition of "SmackDown," had been a thorn in Roman's side for some time, but Pearce also sided with K.O. and that didn't sit well with the "Tribal Chief." A gauntlet match that was supposed to name a new challenger for Reigns ended with Jey and Roman destroying Shinsuke Nakamura and forcing Pearce to get a pinfall victory to challenge Roman at the Rumble. After Roman had signed the contract for their match, Pearce left the ring and an "old knee injury" crept up. Fortunately, he had a suitable replacement waiting in the wings: Kevin Owens.

The last of the Reigns versus Owens trilogy of matches took place in (and around) the ring at the 2021 Royal Rumble. Notable for taking place in the ThunderDome era, Reigns and Owens made a point of using a lot of the space available to them to make this match brutal and memorable despite the lack of fans. Some memorable spots included brawling among the video panels that had replaced fans, speeding around the arena in a golf cart, and Owens flying off ledges onto Reigns. Owens managed to handcuff Roman to a lighting stanchion and nearly had Reigns beat, until the "Head of the Table ” hit a low blow on K.O. and knocked out the referee to stop the ten count. In the end, Heyman arrived with a handcuff key to free Reigns, who applied a guillotine choke to end Owen's championship hopes.

10. Wrestlemania Backlash 2021: Reigns defeats Cesaro

At an event largely remembered for being the show where The Miz got eaten by zombies, WrestleMania Backlash also featured one of Roman's more unlikely opponents: Cesaro. While fans have always backed the "Swiss Superstar," Reigns refused to acknowledge him as a threat, or even a real challenge. A series of wins on "SmackDown," and his first (and only) WrestleMania singles victory over Seth Rollins, led to Cesaro improbably getting a title shot, thanks in part to beloved former GM Teddy Long.

The match itself was fantastic, although at this point in our list, fantastic is the norm. Cesaro pulled out all the stops, but an early shoulder injury factored heavily into Roman's offense and kept Cesaro from ever really getting a solid advantage. Still, it was a competitive match, and Roman actually won without resorting to cheating or interference, instead just viciously going after Cesaro's injury. Roman picked up the victory by decision after locking in a guillotine choke, his preferred method of victory. After the match, however, both Jey Uso and Seth Rollins took a turn beating Cesaro down. Jey attacked Cesaro after showing respect to Roman, and Seth attacked Cesaro after a brief stare down with Reigns to continue Cesaro and Rollins' longstanding feud.

9. Money in the Bank 2021: Reigns defeats Edge

Edge's one on one rematch with Roman after their triple threat meeting at WrestleMania 37 proved that Edge still had enough in the tank to put on an entertaining main event match. His battle with Reigns at Money in the Bank was stipulation-free and leaned on Edge as the grizzled returning hero after Edge's sort-of-heel-turn before the 'Mania match.

The pacing of this battle started slow but built up, as both performers were getting used to the fact that this was WWE's first show with fans in the attendance since WrestleMania. While the action was good, the match was overshadowed by the dustiest of Dusty finishes. We had a ref bump, followed by the Usos heading to the ring to interfere, followed by the Mysterios cutting them off, followed by a Seth Rollins attack, followed by a two count for Edge by a replacement ref, followed by another Rollins attack, followed by a distracted Edge eating a spear for a pinfall loss. If Reigns fatigue was an issue for the viewer by this point in his championship run, an ending like this was going to do nothing but intensify those feelings — which is why John Cena returning to close out the show was an inspired decision.

8. SummerSlam 2021: Reigns defeats John Cena

After John Cena showed up at Money in the Bank show, he challenged Reigns for his title, but Reigns declined. He accepted a challenge from Balor, but when it came time for the contract signing, Finn was attacked by Baron Corbin, allowing Cena an opportunity to sign his name to the SummerSlam contract. While that isn't generally how contracts work, Cena used this to propel him into his first match since his 2020 loss to Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Funhouse.

If there was a flaw in the setup to this match, it was Roman threatening to leave WWE if he lost this match. Cena's success outside of the ring and Reigns' recent success in it practically guaranteed another victory for our "Tribal Chief." That being said, Cena did his best to use his well-known "five moves of doom" to provoke a crowd response, and it worked. Three Attitude Adjustments, including one from the second rope and another through the announcers' table, weren't enough to keep Reigns down. Roman, without interference or cheating, was able to pin the "face of WWE" after a spear to retain his title, his momentum, his WWE career, and his place at the Head of the Table.

7. Fastlane 2021: Reigns defeats Daniel Bryan

While their Elimination Chamber "match" left a lot to be desired, the three full matches we got between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns were pure gold. This was Roman's first title defense against Bryan, but it also had Edge waiting for his own opportunity at the championship — an opportunity he had already earned by winning the 2021 Royal Rumble match. Edge was involved as the special enforcer for this match, and as a result, shenanigans ensued.

While Bryan opened the matchup strong, goading Roman and employing the stick-and-move tactics that found success against Brock Lesnar previously, Roman eventually settled down and gained the upper hand. Bryan rallied, but an accidental running attack to the referee led to Jey Uso getting involved and attacking both Edge and Bryan. Bryan was able to recover, only to accidentally hit Edge with a steel chair meant for Reigns. Bryan was somehow able to reverse an incoming spear into a Yes Lock, but a furious Edge attacked both men with a steel chair. Roman recovered first and crawled onto Bryan to secure the victory and set up a triple threat match at WrestleMania 37.

6. TLC 2020: Reigns defeats Kevin Owens in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match

Roman Reigns' first title defense against Kevin Owens led into over a month of feuding and two more championship matches to follow, though neither managed to top this battle in terms of sheer brutality. Owens and Reigns meeting at TLC was one of those few times a gimmick-based premium live event delivered on a build to its signature match. Owens was repeatedly screwed over in his quest to relieve Roman of his WWE Universal Championship, either by the Usos or Paul Heyman. That level of interference would eventually culminate in a steel cage match to keep interference at a minimum, though it didn't work out great for K.O., as we've seen already. With a TLC match, at least Owens knew what he was in for going into the contest.

This was essentially a handicap match with Owens battling both Reigns and Jey Uso throughout. The match was a drawn out, brutal affair that saw Owens come back after several Reigns finishers that would have put lesser men down. Owens actually had his hands on the championship a few times, but he was never left alone long enough to unclasp the belt. K.O. did manage to eliminate the threat Jey Uso posed with a stunner, but that seemed to enrage Reigns more. Roman spent a lot of time and energy throughout the match talking to Owens, but that might just have been because the ThunderDome necessitated a little extra noise from the participants. After Jey was taken out, Owens once again climbed the ladder to grab the championship. That was when he was met by Reigns, who punched Owens in the junk and locked a guillotine choke onto Owens until he was rendered unconscious. Roman let K.O.'s limp body fall to the mat and easily reclaim his Universal Championship.

5. WrestleMania 37: Reigns defeats Daniel Bryan and Edge

When Edge decided to choose violence after the Bryan/Reigns matchup at Fastlane, he leaned in on the darker side of his personality. After he won the Royal Rumble and chose Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan challenged Roman at Fastlane and Edge was not too pleased with his WrestleMania moment being taken from him. He attacked both men to set this match up, and what a match it was. Jey Uso was involved early, as Triple Threat matches are no DQ, but Edge took him out temporarily with an Edgecution on the steel stairs. Roman and Edge hitting simultaneous spears was amazing, and later a broken chair resulted in the birth of Edge's "crossface plus leverage with little metal bar" spot.

Triple threat matches in the WWE tend to rely on one participant falling into the "wrestling hole" behind the ring while the others do battle. This had very little of that, as all three participants (and, frequently, Jey Uso) were constantly interacting in creative and violent ways. It ended after Bryan was taken out by a con-chair-to shot, and a distracted Edge was felled by another, allowing Roman to drag Edge atop Bryan for an iconic ending to WrestleMania 37.

Let's take a moment to recognize what this match had for us, as wrestling fans: all three of these men cut promos essentially telling us that they believed their careers were over. They overcame spinal fusion surgery, a history of concussions, and leukemia, and did it at least in part just so they could return to the ring and keep entertaining fans worldwide. All three of them continue to compete at a high level today, which is really something special.

4. SmackDown 6/17/2022: Reigns defeats Riddle

When Randy Orton went down with an injury, plans had to change for the WWE Tag Team Championships as well as the Universal Championship. Up to that point, Orton was viewed as a legitimate contender to Roman's title, but with Randy gone things had to be moved around. Fortunately, the team of RK-Bro had become white hot at that point, with Riddle and Randy establishing themselves as two of the best babyfaces the company had to offer. The Usos won the "Raw" tag titles from Riddle and Orton, making themselves the Undisputed Tag Team Champs to match Roman's title. After doing so, they attacked both former Raw champions, and Orton remains out as of the time of this piece. Riddle, furious, demanded a match with Roman Reigns, and did everything he could to make that happen, frequently participating in matches on both "Raw" and "SmackDown" every week until he finally was granted his championship match.

Riddle dedicated the match to Randy, and became the opponent for Roman's first Universal Championship title defense. While it wasn't a long build, it was intense, and that intensity bled into this TV matchup. Riddle and Roman's chemistry was incredible, and Riddle did everything he could to get the victory, seamlessly combining his moveset with that of his mentor, "The Viper." There were so many RKOs and false finishes, any of which would have made the already hyped audience lose their minds if Riddle could have kept the champ down for a three count. Sadly, it wasn't to be, and this incredible match ended with a (very cool) Riddle springboard directly into a 45 degree Roman Reigns spear and pinfall.

3. Clash At The Castle 2022: Reigns defeats Drew McIntyre

This was probably the match most fans thought would go the way of the challenger. Drew McIntyre won the Universal Championship over Brock Lesnar during the ThunderDome era, and popular opinion was that Drew was "owed" a proper championship run in front of fans. With Drew hailing from Scotland, what better place for that win to take place than WWE's first premium live event in the UK since SummerSlam 1992?

Everything lined up for Drew to win that night. He got a dramatic video package, set to the entrance music he used during his first run with WWE. The crowd was vocally behind him throughout the match, which was fairly even from start to finish. Even when Theory entered the arena with his Money in the Bank briefcase, and fans prepared themselves for a cash-in to derail their hopes, boxer Tyson Fury emerged from behind the fan barricade to knock him out before Theory could alter the outcome of the match. Reigns grabbed a chair, but McIntyre hit two claymores.

It turns out, the "Head of the Table" had a plan. While the Usos did not make the trip overseas, their brother did — a debuting Solo Sikoa tripped up the referee as McIntyre went for a pin, allowing Roman to hit a spear and retain his championship.

2. SmackDown 4/30/2021: Roman defeated Daniel Bryan

This match signified the end of Bryan and Reigns' rivalry, and the end of an era for WWE. Daniel Bryan, having already lost three championship matches to Roman, put his career on the line to get one final shot at the "Head of the Table" on an episode of "SmackDown." The build on this show was nearly perfect, with a fully narrated introduction, an incredible Paul Heyman promo recapping Bryan's WWE career, and Roman debuting his epic new theme music during his entrance into the ThunderDome. Bryan pulled out all the stops in this match, which took nearly a quarter of the show's runtime, and the final sequence was an amazing display, with Bryan desperately trying to lock in a submission while Roman hit a pair of powerbombs and mercilessly elbowed the former champ into submission. A guillotine choke forced the referee to end the match, and Bryan's "SmackDown" career.

At the time, rumors about Daniel Bryan's future in the WWE ran rampant. All Elite Wrestling was growing in popularity, but this was also in the middle of the pandemic, and WWE offered structure and stability that AEW couldn't match. After Bryan's loss, that chatter only grew louder and never really quieted down until his appearance at AEW's All Out. In hindsight, this was the perfect way to write Bryan out of the company while still giving him a fantastic sendoff and allowing him to retain his dignity and reputation in defeat.

1. SummerSlam 2022: Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar

Riddle's match with Reigns was the least predictable of the top five. Drew McIntyre's was the most likely to end with a title change. Daniel Bryan's was the most technically sound, and Kevin Owens' was the most brutal. But Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam 2022 match, the one that brought his seven-year rivalry with Roman Reigns to a close, was definitely the most fun. After Randy Orton was injured, a big-name opponent was needed for SummerSlam and there wasn't much time for a build. Fortunately, Brock Lesnar answered the call.

This was a match that began with Brock pausing his entrance to mount a tractor, and somehow things escalated from there. Brock flew from the tractor's loader onto Roman to start things off and would eventually use that tractor to raise a corner of the ring into the air. Interference from the Usos, Theory, and Paul Heyman added to the chaos. It took double superkicks from the Unified Tag Team Champions, a belt shot, and multiple hits from Theory's Money in the Bank briefcase to finally put the farm boy down. Even though it didn't end with a title change, it was undeniably fun, and the best Roman Reigns title match to date.