Backstage News On Plans For The WWE Universal Championship At WrestleMania

As seen at The Royal Rumble last night, Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns to retain the WWE Universal Championship after outside interference from Braun Strowman.

We first reported last week that a Reigns vs. Braun Strowman program was in the works after The Royal Rumble, as the two are scheduled to face each other on RAW house shows heading into WrestleMania. Marc also noted later that week that Owens will be facing Sami Zayn at those shows.

The Owens vs. Zayn matches will be for the WWE Universal Championship, although Dave Meltzer noted on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that the Reigns vs. Strowman matches will be headlining those shows. While Reigns and Strowman will be wrestling each other at live events, the plan is for Reigns to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, which was teased during the Royal Rumble match last night.

We noted on last night's episode of the Wrestling Inc. podcast that it appears as if Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Champion will take place at the WWE Fastlane pay-per-view on March 5th, with Goldberg winning the title and then defending against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. Meltzer said that it is indeed the plan. Meltzer had first reported in last week's issue of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter that neither AJ Styles or Owens were scheduled to go into WrestleMania as champion.

Goldberg does not work WWE live events, so if he were to defeat Owens at Fastlane as scheduled, that would mean that the WWE Universal Championship would not be defended at live events between Fastlane and WrestleMania. That has been the case for the past two WrestleManias as well, as Triple H went into WrestleMania 32 as WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Lesnar did the same at WrestleMania 31, despite either man working a full time house show schedule.