WWE confirmed on last week's SmackDown that Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will clash once again for the WWE Universal Championship at the Day 1 pay-per-view on New Year's Day. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise, as WWE often has a big world championship match lined up for the Royal Rumble event later in the month. Dave Meltzer, having previously reported that WWE wants the Reigns/Lesnar feud to be a multi-show event, shed some light on the situation on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio.
"The deal is Day 1 is obviously a Nick Khan idea for the idea of January 1st and the idea is not just this year doing it," Meltzer said (h/t WrestlingNews.co). "The idea is that this will be a regular thing, a regular holiday tradition for WWE, January 1st pay-per-view. Historically, the December pay-per-view has never done well. It's always been one of the worst...when it comes to a holiday 1st or a January 1st show, a show like that historically either will do terrible because it's on a holiday if the lineup is not intriguing or it will do great because it's a holiday and holiday shows when you have a great lineup historically do very very well.
"So, to establish this as a traditional big show and the idea is to make this one of the biggest shows of the year, you need to establish it and Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns is the strongest match they got so that's the match that they chose to establish it," he added. "The feeling is that Royal Rumble didn't need it. They are trying to establish January 1st as one of the big shows of the year and so they are going to put their best match in there on the big show of the year."
Meltzer also noted that the plan is still for Reigns vs. Lesnar to headline WrestleMania 38 in Dallas in April. The two have already main evented two previously WrestleManias — 31 and 34. Check out the full lineup for Day 1 so far below:
- WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
- WWE Championship: Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. The New Day
- Edge vs. The Miz