Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will clash in the main event of WrestleMania 38 on April 3 to unify the WWE and Universal Championships. This will mark the third time the pair have main evented WrestleMania and the 11th time they’ve shared the ring together for an official match since 2015. A look back at the history between the pair shows just how far Reigns has come as a top star for the WWE and how often fans pushed back against him during his babyface run as “The Big Dog.”
Here’s a look back at the previous 10 matches between Lesnar and Reigns. Do you think this match at WrestleMania 38 will be their last? And can it outdo every match that came before it? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!
Reigns vs. Lesnar (vs. Seth Rollins) — WrestleMania 31
Reigns’ initial push to WWE’s main event scene was, putting it mildly, tumultuous. WWE broke up The Shield early into the Summer of 2014, and while Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were repackaged and began feuding with each other Reigns was allowed to keep most of the Shield’s iconography and was instead slowly pushed up the card, only to appear in a small handful of pay-per-views throughout the rest of the year. His push was suddenly in full swing in early 2015 resulting in his infamous Royal Rumble victory that year, which many fans remember for the Philadelphia fans angrily rejecting (even when The Rock showed up).
In an attempt to save the main event of WrestleMania 31, WWE called a last-minute audible and booked Rollins to cash in his Money in the Bank late into the match, changing it into a triple threat where he quickly pinned Reigns. Many now look back on this match fondly, but that’s due in large part to Rollins’ involvement and the shock of his cash-in.
Royal Rumble 2016
By early 2016 WWE had renewed its effort in trying to position Reigns as the No. 1 star, this time by having him stand in direct opposition of Vince McMahon and The Authority. Reigns won the WWE Championship back from Sheamus in December 2015, then was hit with the news that he’d have to defend the title in the 2016 Royal Rumble as the No. 1 entrant. Lesnar entered the match at No. 23 and wound up getting dumped out by Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan, and Luke Harper in what looked like a setup for Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 32 (which did not happen, Lesnar wound up fighting Ambrose in a woefully underwhelming match). Meanwhile, Reigns made it all the way to the final three before getting thrown out by Triple H, his eventual WrestleMania 32 opponent.
Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Ambrose — Fastlane 2016
But before Reigns vs. Triple H could happen, WWE decided to spend the next couple of pay-per-views teasing the idea that Ambrose (who fans were fully behind) could insert himself into the WWE Championship match. The three took part in a triple threat at that year’s Fastlane with a WrestleMania match on the line. Reigns won in what wound up being a surprisingly forgettable match given the men involved.
Royal Rumble 2017
WWE loaded up the 2017 Royal Rumble with big part-time names like Lesnar, Goldberg, and The Undertaker while giving Reigns the surprise No. 30 entrance after having him lose to Kevin Owens earlier in the night. Lesnar was eliminated by Goldberg (before Reigns could even enter the match) to continue the storyline that “Da Man” kept getting the best of “The Beast,” while Reigns made it to the final two before getting eliminated by Randy Orton.
Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe
Lesnar won the Universal Championship from Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, kicking off what would become a 504-day reign with the gold. By the time SummerSlam 2017 rolled around the main event scene on Raw was starting to get crowded, so “The Beast” took on Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe in a four-way that can best be described as a 20-minute car crash. Brock retained, but the match was still pretty fun.
Lesnar vs. Reigns — WrestleMania 34
Rumors of WWE wanting to run Reigns vs. Lesnar as the main event of WrestleMania yet again first started popping up a year prior, with many fans scoffing at the idea given how poorly the build was to WrestleMania 31 was received. And even though this was the first time the pair had a singles match in three years, fans still wanted no part of it.
The match was a bloody affair with both men spamming their finishers (despite Lesnar’s F5 being positioned as a one-shot knockout for most of the previous year), but fans inside the New Orleans SuperDome loudly booed throughout. Lesnar won but was so frustrated by the booking he threw the Universal Championship belt at Vince McMahon when he walked back through gorilla position.
Brock Lesnar throws the Title belt at Vince pic.twitter.com/O3fW1sjIoc
— Wresting Video Account (@ScreenCritics) August 13, 2021
Lesnar vs. Reigns Inside a Steel Cage — Greatest Royal Rumble
WWE wasn’t going to let a little thing like overwhelming vitriol from fans get in the way of their plans for Lesnar and Reigns, booking them in a rematch inside a Steel Cage at WWE’s first Saudi Arabia pay-per-view, the Greatest Royal Rumble. Fans went into the show thinking WWE might have Reigns win the title here given that Saudi fans would be more receptive to the booking than back in the US, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the forgettable rematch ended with Reigns spearing Lesnar through the side of the Steel Cage and having his feet hit the ground first, but referees immediately declared Lesnar had retained.
Lesnar vs. Reigns — SummerSlam 2018
at the 2018 SummerSlam event, but the match wasn’t without its distractions. Braun Strowman, who had built up quite a bit of momentum in the past couple of years, was that year’s Money in the Bank winner and stomped his way to the ring at the start of the match to announce he’d be cashing in on the winner. Lesnar wound up nailing Strowman with an F5 and tossing the briefcase up the ramp to avoid the cash-in, setting up the finish where Reigns speared him to end his record-long reign. It made for quite a moment, but Strowman’s involvement wound up becoming a distraction.
Lesnar found himself as WWE Champion once again at the start of 2020 and opted to enter the Royal Rumble at No. 1 to assert his dominance over the rest of the WWE roster. He nearly succeeded, dumping out 13 competitors in a row before finally getting booted out of the ring by Drew McIntyre, his eventual WrestleMania 36 opponent. Reigns, months away from his hiatus and about eight months removed from his heel turn, entered at No. 26 and was once again the runner-up by getting tossed out by McIntyre.
Reigns vs. Lesnar — Crown Jewel 2021
Quite a bit happened between the 2020 Royal Rumble and the next time the two men would square off. Reigns turned heel upon his return at SummerSlam 2020 and immediately aligned himself with Paul Heyman, who had been left adrift following Lesnar leaving the WWE (his contract expired after that year’s WrestleMania) and him getting fired from his backstage creative role running Raw. Reigns then won the Universal Championship a week after his return and began mowing down his competition as the ruthless “Tribal Chief.” By the end of the following year’s SummerSlam, he had beaten Jey Uso (twice), Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens (three times), Daniel Bryan (three times), Edge (twice), Cesaro, Rey Mysterio, and John Cena before Lesnar’s music hit and he stood face-to-face with Reigns in the ring.
Following a feud with Finn Balor, Reigns finally turned his full attention to Lesnar at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view. The big question heading in was whose side Paul Heyman was truly on, as Lesnar kept insisting that Heyman was still operating as his advocate behind the scenes. Heyman eventually tossed the Universal title into the ring between the two men, which Lesnar eventually got his hands on but still lost when Jey Uso got involved.
All of this brings us to WrestleMania 38. Lesnar continued to antagonize Reigns after the Crown Jewel loss, making Reigns so paranoid that he fired Heyman as his special counsel at the end of 2021. The two were supposed to wrestle at the Day 1 pay-per-view to kick off 2022, but Reigns was pulled from the match due to COVID-19. Lesnar was then added to the WWE Championship match (now a five-way) and won after pinning then-champion Big E. He reunited with Heyman the following night and started daring Reigns to face him in a Champion vs. Champion match at WrestleMania.
Reigns turned down the idea, then cost Lesnar the title in his match against Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble (Heyman rejoined him in the process). But Lesnar wasn’t finished as he won the Men’s Royal Rumble later that night from the No. 30 spot, then won back the WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber a month later in Saudi Arabia. With no other options, Reigns agreed to a Winner Take All match to unify the two titles.
For those keeping score at home, the two men enter this upcoming match with a 2-2 record against each other in singles competition. But the real question remains — what can this match bring that the others did not? This isn’t the first time they’ve met at WrestleMania, nor is it the first time the “Tribal Chief” version of Reigns has clashed with the more jovial version of Lesnar (though he has further embraced that persona over the last month). How do you feel about the matchup? Let us know down in the comments!