New Details On WWE World Heavyweight Title Introduction, 2022 World Title Unification

With the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, assigned to "WWE SmackDown" following the WWE Draft, "WWE Raw" will officially become the home of the recently revived WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The process to get to this point, though, reportedly dates back more than 16 months. According to Fightful Select, WWE's decision to unify the Universal and WWE Championships last year was said to have been "hastily made" after Reigns contracted COVID-19 ahead of his scheduled appearance at Day 1. Heading into the January 2022 event, "The Tribal Chief" was slated to defend his Universal Championship against "The Beast Incarnate" Brock Lesnar. Due to his illness, Reigns was then removed from the card, and Lesnar was swiftly penciled in to win the WWE Championship instead as a last-minute entry into that title match.


It was at this time that WWE also cultivated the idea of merging their two world titles at WrestleMania 38. That unification match pitted Reigns against Lesnar, and it was Reigns who emerged victorious, making him the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. With Reigns now in possession of both top prizes, Fightful reports that WWE later began drafting a course to separate the two titles. Internal plans once pitched Drew McIntyre or Seth Rollins to challenge Cody Rhodes for the WWE Championship, but those ideas were never acted upon. The pitch to split the world titles was also dropped.

While it remains to be seen if WWE will ever separate or defuse one of Reign's titles, the new World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned at Night of Champions. That May 27 event was initially scheduled to host King and Queen of the Ring, but due to the re-introduction of the aforementioned title, WWE opted to rebrand the show.