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31 Days of Wrestling (12/2/18): Roman Reigns Finally Becomes Universal Champion


Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2018 produced for us.

The triumphant eventual conquest of Roman Reigns against his personal demon, his very own Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar, was supposed to be a glorious, drawn-out battle.

Keyword: supposed. One would think that the moment he had been chasing years for would be ceremonious and legendary. Instead, after so many battles in which the New Face of the Company Roman Reigns would try—and fail—to win the title, he would end up finally overcoming his monster in what amounted to mere formalities.


It was a sprint, and nothing more. Brock Lesnar would come in and try to take over the match with his usual attacks. Roman Reigns, who needed to learn how to withstand Lesnar's barrage, would endure and put Lesnar away with a timely distraction from the present Monster in the Bank Braun Strowman. The fight was just another way to connect to the chapter of Reigns winning his prize, instead of the final chapter it deserved to be.

Still, despite the underwhelming match, Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar was quite indicative of how WWE wanted the top scene on its top show to be. It was the final go-ahead for the main event they really wanted—or said they wanted this whole time, one with Roman finally reigning. It was another way of showing that Lesnar was but a mere tool to be used to try and make RAW relevant.

Of course, everyone already knows by now that the results of this main event would be undone—by Roman Reigns's unfortunate leukemia diagnosis and the choice to restore Brock Lesnar to his pre-SummerSlam status. For a couple of months, however, we got a glimpse of how the company planned to write its Universe for the rest of the year had disaster not struck.

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31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2018.

Read our previous entries:

1. Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, No DQ match for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship (Wrestle Kingdom 12)

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