Roman Reigns Becomes WWE's Longest-Reigning Universal Champion

Roman Reigns' current run as WWE Universal Champion officially hit 504 days on Sunday, giving him the longest single reign with the newer of WWE's two world championships. The previous record was held by Brock Lesnar, who won the title at WrestleMania 33 and held it all the way until SummerSlam 2018 before dropping it to Reigns. "The Beast" unofficially held the title for 504 days, but WWE didn't recognize that final day in their record books. 

One week after returning from hiatus in the summer of 2020, Reigns turned heel, unveiled his "Tribal Chief" persona and aligned himself with Paul Heyman en route to beating both "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman for his fifth world championship reign. From there he'd go on to defend the title 18 times, beating Jey Uso (twice), Strowman, Kevin Owens (three times), Daniel Bryan (four times), Edge (twice), Cesaro, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Finn Balor (both normal and as "The Demon"), Lesnar and Sami Zayn. He'll face Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble at the end of the month and is still rumored to have a WrestleMania 38 match with Lesnar lined up. 

"The live crowd has always enhanced my presentation," Reigns told CBS Sports last year, claiming his time carrying the WWE through the ThunderDome Era would be a crowning achievement of his career. "My reactions have always been, if not the very best, certainly up there with the very best. I've now showcased the layers as a performer to be able to do it without a live audience. I've had a strong hold on SmackDown and SmackDown being the very best portion of WWE. It's shown me as the number one guy.

"That's my legacy coming out of the ThunderDome," he continued. " Hands down, without question, it can be debated for great content on social media and to put these polls and try to make an argument. But there's no argument. There's been nobody to ever carry the WWE product like I have over the past year and I stand on that. You can throw anybody out. We can try and be nice and say, 'Oh, Bayley! She just got hurt. She was the best.' Come on, let's not lie to ourselves. The Tribal Chief has carried the WWE for well over a year now and there's no denying it."