Ranking Every Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Match Before WWE SummerSlam Finale

Erik BeastonJuly 11, 2022

Ranking Every Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Match Before WWE SummerSlam Finale

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    Set Number: X159445 TK1

    Every era of WWE has its defining rivalry.

    Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant captivated audiences during the Federation Years while Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels changed perceptions of just what a main event Superstar looked like during the New Generation.

    "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock battled for the top spot during the wildly popular Attitude Era, and John Cena and Randy Orton chased immortality as the face of the Ruthless Aggression period.

    Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar is the current era of WWE programming's answer to those iconic programs. Industry giants with copious amounts of championships, main events and iconic bouts on their resumes, they will headline SummerSlam on July 30 in a Last Man Standing Match for The Tribal Chief's Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

    Ahead of that blockbuster main event, relive the six previous times they have competed in premium live event action and find out which one ranks ahead of all of them.

Other Encounters

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    WWE Fastlane 2016: Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (No. 1 Contender's Match)

    With a shot at Triple H's WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 32 at stake, Reigns battled Lesnar and Dean Ambrose in a chaotic Triple Threat Match to cap off the Fastlane pay-per-view event.

    A solid three-way dance that momentarily reintroduced the Reigns-Lesnar feud to fans and sprinkled a little bit of Lunatic Fringe in for good measure, it was a reminder of the physicality that existed any time the rivals clashed and proof that Reigns vs. Lesnar was the biggest match the company had at its disposal.

    Even if Reigns winning this particular bout was a foregone conclusion.

    WWE SummerSlam 2017: Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman (Fatal 4-Way Universal Championship Match)

    Arguably the best match of any on the proceeding list, the main event of SummerSlam 2017 is just a fantastically wild, chaotic contest that saw the three challengers attempt to eliminate Lesnar from the equation, only for The Beast to explode back into later en route to a successful defense of his Universal Championship.

    Again, it was a tease of a much bigger, more significant match to be had between Reigns and Lesnar, a contest WWE had not promoted since WrestleMania 31 two years earlier.

    Unfortunately, when it did finally book the two to clash over the company's top prize a few months later, it was far from the classic rematch so many had envisioned, kicking off our countdown on the wrong end of the spectrum.

6. WrestleMania 34 for the Universal Championship (April 8, 2018)

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    Arguably the worst-booked main event in WrestleMania history took place in 2018 in just the second meeting of Reigns and Lesnar in a singles match. With the Universal Championship at stake, the contest was more of an extended squash than anything deserving of its spot on the card.

    Chants of "this is awful" and audible boos filled the Superdome in New Orleans as Lesnar manhandled Reigns for 15 minutes, thwarted a single move attempt at a comeback and put him away with a sixth F-5.

    Yes, six.

    A terrible wrestling match with no structure or flow, it would lead to a frustrated Lesnar returning backstage and throwing his title at Vince McMahon in a moment captured in the WWE Network documentary, WWE 24: WrestleMania 34.

    Unlike its predecessor, this never had the opportunity to build into a drama-filled contest because the layout of the contest called for Lesnar to gobble Reigns up and allow him to get nothing, besides five kick outs of his finisher.

    Whatever the company was going for, whatever story it was attempting to tell, failed miserably and the result is an anti-classic of epic proportions.

5. SummerSlam for the Universal Championship (August 19, 2018)

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    Another problematic match in their series took place at SummerSlam later in 2018. Lesnar had dominated back at WrestleMania but a controversial finish at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia set up another showdown between them in Brooklyn.

    A match the entire card was built around, it was a six-minute rush job that featured overused finishers, an appearance from Money in the Bank winner Braun Strowman and a crowd that wanted nothing to do with the encounter.

    Reigns finally conquered The Beast after four spears to pay off his journey back to the title but it was too little, too late for a WWE Universe burned out by that particular match and not at all interested in the one-dimensional Reigns carrying the Universal Championship.

4. Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship (April 27, 2018)

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    There was not a whole lot to like about the 2018 chapter of the Reigns-Lesnar feud but its best match occurred in Saudi Arabia at The Greatest Royal Rumble that April. Reigns was fresh off the ass-kicking of a lifetime at WrestleMania but had earned another opportunity to try and dethrone The Beast.

    Inside a steel cage, preventing any interference from Paul Heyman or any attempt by either man to flee, the contest saw the typical heavyweight boxer mentality that would pervade so many of their encounters utilized.

    Reigns rocked Lesnar with multiple spears, looking to down the champion with his haymaker. The champion countered with two F5s of his own. In the end, though, it would be Reigns sending Lesnar through the side of the cage, and The Beast's feet touching the floor, that brought about the finish.

    Lesnar picked up the win, but hardly earned it, and the result was just enough controversy to carry them over until the SummerSlam encounter.

    At just north of eight minutes, it is an easier watch than the sleepwalking SummerSlam match, with better timing and at least a little bit of switch-up in terms of content.

3. Crown Jewel for the Universal Championship (October 21, 2021)

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    Paul Heyman's crisis of consciousness helped elevated the Universal Championship match in October of 2021 at Crown Jewel past any of the 2018 offerings, and easily. Entering the match, the question was simple: Would Heyman side with new associate Reigns or his returning client Lesnar?

    As the action intensified and anxiety reached its height, Heyman slid the title into the ring and uttered the words, "you know what to do with it." Who he directed that statement was the question, though.

    The Usos would cut off Lesnar's attempt to wrest the physical title from Reigns with a superkick and The Tribal Chief would flatten The Beast with a shot from the gold, setting up the tainted pinfall victory.

    Unlike other matches that relied far too heavily on the big-fight feel, encompassing finisher after finisher in hopes of getting the crowd invested early in a short match, this was a story-heavy contest that worked far better and kept the fans in Saudi Arabia engrossed for the entirety of its 12 minutes.

    It was also the first time Lesnar had worked babyface in six years, a much-needed reversal of roles in this feud.

2. WrestleMania 38 for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship (April 3, 2022)

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    Months of storytelling culminated on April 3 in Dallas at WrestleMania 38 as Reigns and Lesnar battled to unify the WWE and Universal Championships in a clash billed as "The Biggest Match of All-Time."

    Again playing on previous encounters with the usage of finishers to create drama, this one had the added benefit of Paul Heyman at ringside. Frantic as he watched The Beast apply the kimura to Reigns late in the match, Heyman conveyed the idea that Reigns' historic run as Universal champion may be coming to an end.

    Until he helped The Head of the Table escape. It was really Lesnar's last shot at victory. Nursing a rib injury, he tried for an F-5 but Reigns escaped, delivered one final spear and pinned him clean in the center of the ring to really put over the idea of The Tribal Chief as the top star of this generation of competitors.

    It was a suitably epic encounter and, while some balked at the biggest match of the year running just over 12 minutes, it packed everything it intended to in that frame and provided Reigns with the defining victory over The Beast that he had sought since their first encounter seven years earlier.

1. WrestleMania 31 for the WWE Championship (March 29, 2015)

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    Everyone and their mothers knew Reigns was going to be coronated at WrestleMania 31.

    He had won the 2015 Royal Rumble match to the dismay of an arena full of fans who did not want to be dictated to that he was the future of the industry. The second-generation star entered Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California for his long-awaited shot at immortality to a chorus of boos, the backlash over his rushed push never more readily apparent than in that moment.

    Or those that immediately followed in which Lesnar brutalized, battered, suplexed and pummeled Reigns. He beat Reigns' ass, bloodying him in what appeared poised to be the most one-sided main event in WrestleMania history.

    Then came the comeback. Reigns, in a great moment of defiance, laughed off Lesnar's dominance and looked ready to ascend to the throne. That is, until both men went down and Seth Rollins rushed the ring, cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase and escaping like a thief in the night with the WWE Championship moments later.

    That there was no definite winner between Reigns and Lesnar was fine because it created interest in a future match between them. Everything that preceded it was fantastic, though, with Reigns essentially employing the rope-a-dope strategy on Lesnar, letting him box himself out before seizing an opening that, had Rollins not gotten involved, probably would have led to him securing the title everyone expected him to win in the first place.

    A great match with an even better story, this remains the definitive battle between the stars and proof that more time, less overutilization of finishers and a red-hot crowd are the recipe to the epic encounter they continually search for.

    Wild, crazy, chaotic fun in Nashville on July 30 at SummerSlam may prove to be, too.


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