Roman Reigns Accepts Challenge For WWE Royal Rumble

Roman Reigns will defend his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Kevin Owens at the upcoming Royal Rumble premium live event, WWE confirmed during the first "SmackDown" episode of 2023.

The show began with Reigns giving a dressing down to Sami Zayn for the latter suffering a pinfall in their loss to Owens & John Cena the previous week and seemed to be on the verge of dismissing The Honorary Uce from The Bloodline. Just then, Owens interrupted the segment and stated Reigns was "misdirecting his anger" towards the wrong person, and that he should be livid with Owens for ruining The Tribal Chief's winning streak. Owens would then challenge Reigns to a title match at the Rumble, which Reigns accepted immediately.

"Roman, I'll see you at the Royal Rumble," Owens said to end his promo. "And Sami, I'll see you whenever you manage to dig your balls out of Roman's pocket."

The match at the Rumble will incidentally mark the third time Reigns and Owens have battled for a championship at the first WWE premium live event of the year, following their clashes at Royal Rumble 2016 and Royal Rumble 2021. While Owens prevailed in 2016 to retain his Universal Championship, Reigns did the same in 2021 in a Last Man Standing Match. As such, they are 1-1 heading into this year's event.

Reigns, in the middle of a historic title reign as WWE's top champion, last defended his title against Logan Paul at the Crown Jewel premium live event on November 5.